messy. crazy. amazing. joyful.

We're not all officially ADHD. Dad's unofficial. Our ten-year-old twins have ADHD. Our seven-year old wants to have it because everyone is always talking about it. Our three year old has ADHD--just because she's three. And me, Mom, I think it's contagious. Who can remain untouched in a house where shoes seem to be lost every morning, instructions are routinely thrown aside, and fights erupt over which continent capybaras come from?

Monday, April 19, 2010


We had a great day skiing as a family this weekend. We took all the kids—even Annie in the backpack—and we all had a wonderful time. Instead of moments like this,

we had moments like this.

Despite Luke’s face, he had a great time. He was “whoo-hoo”-ing as he raced down the hill. Last season, our family ski trips were generally more boo hoo than woo hoo.

My husband and I both love skiing and skied with our families growing up. So we always figured skiing would be a great activity for our family. We started the kids out when they were tiny, three years old. At that age they loved it. They skied between our legs or with us holding them on a leash. They had no worries and just whooshed down the hill. When they fell down, we picked them up. But as Luke and Isabelle got older, we tried to teach them to ski on their own, get up on their own after a wipe out, and to turn rather than go straight down the hill. This was met with not your garden-variety kid resistance but with screaming, whining, crying, and all sorts of that kind of fun. Our little family activity became a nightmare.

We didn’t want to stop because the kids had enjoyed it before, and we were hoping we could get through the learning curve. Last year we vowed to take it easy, focus on the hot-cocoa-in-the-lodge fun, and go home when the kids got tired. We did, but it was still a painful season with lots of whining, crying, and begging for hot cocoa after just one run.

This year I took a look at the situation and decided I was going to eliminate my teaching agenda. After all, I remembered my dad commenting on every run about how to improve my skiing and it got pretty old. Plus, since moving, we ski at a small resort, and on the bunny hill, you can see all the runs and the lift at a glance. So I decided to let the twins just do what they wanted and enjoy.

They loved it. They sped straight down the hill and rode back again a million times. They taught themselves to turn since they had to avoid other skiers and make it to the lift line. They rode the lift without me, and we waved as we passed each other. We did have a few meltdowns. Once Izzy fell and her ski came off. I heard the wailing for miles away and got to her as fast as I could. And there was a lot of whining when one wanted to stop and the other go on. But all in all, we are back to enjoying skiing.

A few lessons learned in the ADHD family:

ADHD can make kids less emotionally mature than their actual age. Grin and wave at onlookers when your child is screaming bloody murder on a bunny hill.

If your child doesn’t take kindly to a lot of coaching, back off. Just let them do their thing, and you’ll all enjoy yourselves more.

Growing up will ease a multitude of pains. The meltdowns decrease and the rational thinking increases just because they are growing up. Many behaviors that threaten to send me over the edge and have me wondering how I (and they) can survive motherhood have simply diminished enough to make life more bearable. Glory be, this season felt like such a breakthrough on the slopes!


  1. We took Sadie skiing for the first time this year. She loved it and due to her adventuraous nature had no problems!
    It is so good to hear from some one who is a couple years ahead of me in parenting their ADHD children. I have just notices in the last month that Sadie is having fewer meltdowns-HALLUHA!
    6 1/2 is so much better then 4 was and I can imagine that 8 will be even better. It was very comforting when our DR told me that ADHD children are about 1/3 behind their peer counter parts in emotional maturity but equal if not more advanced intelligently. This of course confirmed my reality.


  2. Good for you to know when to let go! I would have been a nervous wreck with my impulsive child on a ski lift alone. Oh, what am I saying? My overprotective nature wouldn't have allowed it. I will remember your story and relax a bit in the future. My son also is at least a year behind your twins so it is nice for me too to hear that things improve with maturity.

    Letting the kids do their own thing always seems to work out best, when it's appropriate. I think that's why beach vacations bring on the best behavior for my ADHDer.