Despite my talent for mobilizing doctors and specialists as quickly as schedules permit, we still end up waiting five weeks before receiving an official diagnosis. I register a formal complaint during silent prayer time at church, ending with, “…and don’t even start with ‘It’s all part of my plan’”. I use my best Manager Voice again, for what it’s worth.
Since waiting is for slackers, I spend these weeks rushing home after drop-off to devour any of the four, ADHD-related library books checked out and I’ve hidden under my bed. I print informational pages from the Web, highlighting relevant evidence and presenting my findings to David in neatly stapled packets before he can even set his work bag down. David agrees that Dora probably has ADHD, “But let’s get a few different opinions,” he says.
“Of course,” I say. But I am Right, I know.
I resume the mission late at night, after Dora finally succumbs to sleep, scanning the ADHD message boards like SETI for proof that we are not alone in this frightening universe of “different learners.” I fantasize about finding a like-minded parent, someone who’ll make clever jokes about living with a hyperactive kid, the kind of jokes that make others uncomfortable but that keep me from drowning in the knowledge that David and I pushed our daughter into the world with a yoke no one deserves. So far I am disheartened by the number of ADHD parents reminding other ADHD parents to “stop and breath (sic)!” because “its(sic) really hard”. As if this wasn’t already the last club I ever wanted to join.
It’s funny to reflect on that time now, and how earth-shaking it felt to consider (to know, really) that Dora might have ADHD. While it seemed to neatly explain the vague Mysteries Of Dora to date, the news still registered a 9.4 on the emotional richter scale. And the more I read, the less hopeful I felt for Dora’s future. One book in particular, focused solely on ADHD in girls, began with an entire chapter of dismal statistics; girls with ADHD are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, poor self-image, self harm, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and many go on to commit —
I snapped that book shut and tossed it in the garbage. Then I flipped it the bird.
Fuck you, book.
Another thing I do while we wait to have Dora formally assessed for ADHD is this: I stop facilitating Dora’s homework altogether. If phoning in her homework keeps her from crying and slapping herself in the head every other night when she forgets to carry the “1”, then toss me the phone. Slacking for a few weeks until we better understand what’s going on is not going to not kill her — yes, even in competitive, type-A Silicon Valley. If the school has a problem with this, too bad. She is a fourth grader, for God’s sake, not a cardiology resident, I tell David.
I plan to impart this same message to the school at the meeting I have arranged for the purpose of “keeping them in the loop on Dora.”
“Happy to attend, but did I miss something?”, one of the teachers responds.
Clearly, you did.