I am still living in the Matrix and refuse to venture out.
Our Christmas was subdued, quiet, elegant... The only noise was Emily, my 4 year old who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. Life with ADHD is well...interesting, frustrating, maddening and in some ways the biggest challenge of my existence that dwarfs even the current condition. Provided every child throws a tantrum and acts up in public at one point in their young lives. ADHD children know when parents are in a vulnerable position and can't do anything without the many judgmental eyes of other parents who don't have a clue what it is like to have to deal with a child who has absolutely zero impulse control and is absolutely unfazed by consequences. Then take that child and add CHRISTMAS!! CHRISTMAS! The grand daddy of all kid holidays which per Jean Shepard of a "A Christmas Story" fame, the whole kid year revolves. Emily has been unruly since Thanksgiving, since the Christmas tree came out of the box with all the ornaments. Our beautifully decorated tree has been violated countless times by one pain in the neck 8 month old kitten and one vivacious, overly excited 4 year old who has decided that all the ornaments are the same as little glass barbie dolls. The breakage this year has reached its highest level. Parents of non-ADHD children simply put the glass ornaments up high and ground their kids from ice cream. Parents with ADHD children need to make sure that there is nothing around that the child can climb on to reach the glass ornaments, put extra security at the bottom of the tree so that when the determined child falls into it reaching for the forbidden fruit, it doesn't fall over and uses only the B-list ornaments so that the A-list ornaments don't wind up in pieces on the floor, in the toybox, in the childs shoes, in the childs jacket pockets, in the childs purse, on the floor of the car, in the catbox in the fridge and all the other places Emily has hidden them. They say "STAY OUT OF THE TREE!" 100,000 times, ground their kids from ice cream, TV, dessert, slap them in time out, yell, scream, threaten, and 5 minutes after the punishment ends, find their little darling climbing on an end table trying to reach the glass snowman ornament which ultimately will meet its demise anyway. Right now, there are big gaping bald spots on the tree where ornaments have mysteriously disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle of Emily's little world. Fast forward to Dec 23. It snowed. It snowed A LOT. It snowed all morning, all afternoon and allll night. Being that I'm last minute charlie this year, I had countless errands to run the day before the Eve. For those that don't know, my family is of European descent and we do our celebrating on Christmas Eve. That is when we have the nice dinner and open presents. So my plan was to hit the health food store, Target and then get my groceries. By my calculations, on a non snowy day, these errands should have taken 4 hours. In reality, that day, they took 7 as I hauled groceries through slushy slippery parking lots, drove 15 miles an hour in between stores, skidded and slipped and true to form, forgot where I parked the car and wandered through the parking lots like an idiot. But we at least got that white Christmas we've all been dreaming of. I hauled three stores worth of things into the house, unpacked it all, fed the kids pizza, washed floors, and hoped and prayed that Em would go to sleep SOON so that I could wrap presents. This was the only day this year when I wished I wasn't a single parent. I hate wrapping!!! I just wanted to get it over with but no...not in ADHD world. The best laid plans fall by the wayside. The child would not go to sleep. She did jump on the bed, ask about when Santa was going to come 100 times, fought with Cassie, had a meltdown or two or three, kept checking underneath the tree, and finally at midnight, fell asleep. I wrapped until 3am and dragged my tired self to bed only be awoken at 7 am by a wound up child upset that Santa hadn't come yet. All day, she pushed me to hurry and pestered and whined and jumped and ran and screamed and melted down and fought with Kris and Cass who forget sometimes that Em is 4 and they are teenagers. I yelled at her several times for bumping into the table as I was trying to set it, at one point, pulling the table cloth and the dishes right off. When's Santa coming? Can we eat now? When's Santa coming? After one of her meltdowns, she fell asleep and I was able to get things done. Being that I am on my nutrional kick and Joe is on a vitamin K-less diet, I was very mindful of the ingredients I used for appetizers. I made a Vidalia onion dip without mayo, coconut shrimp which I baked instead of fried and used organic coconut, organic spelt flour and egg white. We had veggies and fruit. Crackers that were baked and made out of rice or wheat flour and cheese and various dips. Dinner was salad, asparagus, carrots, Balsamic Shrimp on a skewer over a bed of organic wild rice. Dessert was cookies that the kids made. We listened to Christmas music and when it was time to look for Santa, Emily was the first with her coat and shoes on and in the car. My sister and I stayed behind and put everything under the tree then left the house so it looked like we were not home when Santa came. Em was happy with EVERYTHING she got. The biggest mistake I made was buying her a little drum set that came with maracas and a tambourine. She has played with that toy the most. Now the challenge will be teaching her that playing the drum at 5am is not appropriate. So thus ends another Christmas Eve. Christmas Day, Em went to her dads. The rest of us went and saw a movie, then came home and watched "Dark Knight". Today, I am cleaning up the cat yak as all the ribbon they have ingested keeps coming back up, ground up cookie, smushed chocolate, spilled soda, spilled powdered sugar, boxes, tags, wrappings, stale beer, and melted puddles of snow. Can't wait to do it all again New Years Eve.