Child walks in the door from school. “Hey, Mom! Friend came home with me to hang out, ok?”
Mom: “Sure, fine. Hello, Friend! Today’s playdate will be a short get-together, Child, because we have to leave by 4:35 to get you to Tae Kwon Do and your sister to swim and pick your other sister up from her appointment. And I’m trying to get the dinner made in the next 20 minutes because we won’t get home until after 6 tonight.”
Child: “Ok, Mom. Got it!”
Child and Friend disappear happily upstairs. Child pops back down a minute later. “Hey, Mom, can we have some of my Halloween candy?”
Mom: “Since you asked this time instead of sneaking the bag upstairs and gorging yourselves, I am going to say ‘yes’ to you. However--
Child: “Great! Where’s the candy? Can we have it?”
Mom: “However, your teacher emailed today to remind us that your field trip form and the money are due tomorrow or else you can’t go on the field trip.”
Child: “Huh? What? Um, ok. Can we have the candy now?”
Mom: “So I need you to hand me the form and after I’ve signed it and you’ve put it back in your backpack, I will get some candy for you and Friend.”
Child: “Oh no! I left the form in my locker. So I can’t get it now. Can we have the candy?”
Mom: “Oh, that is a problem. I guess you will miss the field trip and you won’t be able to have the candy.” Mom returns to sprinkling chili powder and cumin and spices into the ground turkey.
Child: “You’re kidding, right? I won’t go on the field trip??”
Mom: “Well, I suppose it would be possible to email the teacher and see if she can send a form to you tonight to bring in tomorrow.”
Child: “Yes! Will you email her? Hey, can Friend and I have some of my Halloween candy?”
Mom: “I won’t email her. I didn't leave the form in my locker. YOU can email her.”
Child: “I can’t get into Dad’s computer because of Net Nanny. Can I use yours? Will you get the candy while I do that?”
Mom: “You can use my computer. When you’re done, I can get the candy.”
Several minutes pass. Silence. Mom walks over to see Child is playing a video game on Mom’s computer. Mom: “Child!!”
Child: “What? Oh, hey Mom. Can I have a piece of candy?”
Mom: “Remember, you need to email your teacher to get the field trip form. And Friend is waiting in your room for you.”
Child gasps. “Friend! I forgot!”
Child calls up the stairs. “Friend, I’ll be up in a minute. Thank you sooooo much for waiting and being patient! I love you!!!”
Child reappears. “Mom, did you get the candy yet?”
Mom points to the computer. “Please send that email because you and Friend only have a short time before we need to leave at 4:35 for Tae Kwon Do.”
Child sends email. Mom hands Child candy. “Remember, I need you down here by 4:35 so we can leave for Tae Kwon Do.”
Child: “Thanks, Mom! I love you soooooo much. I’m sorry that I have trouble paying attention, and I know it is really frustrating for you. I’m trying to work on my executive functioning. I’ll do better; I promise.”
Mom: "I love you too. More than you will ever know. Do you remember what time you need to be downstairs?"
Child: "Yes! 4:35. It's in exactly 13 minutes. 780 seconds. That's nine cubed plus fifty-one." Child races upstairs to share candy with Friend.
Mom chops garlic for the guacamole and moves the turkey into the oven. 4:35. 4:36. 4:37. 4:38. 4:39. 4:40. Mom goes upstairs.
Mom: “Child, I needed you down here by 4:35. It’s now 4:40.”
Child: “Why? Are we going somewhere?”
Mom: “I can’t even.”
Child: “Hey, Mom. What’s for dessert tonight?”
Photo by Susan Ryan Kalina
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Carrie Goldman is the author of Portrait of an Adoption. She is an award-winning author, speaker, and bullying prevention educator. Follow Carrie's blog Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook and Twitter
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