Mrs. O’Donnell: Do you want some tea?
Me: No thanks.
Mrs. O’Donnell: Do you want some coffee?
Me: No thanks.
Mrs. O’Donnell: What do you drink in the morning?
This conversation took place in a small English town – Elsemere Port circa 1993. My friend’s mother was doing her best to be a hostess – doesn’t everybody want caffeine? Well, I was just a confusing American who was content with some juice.
Odd me, I am one of those people who does not enjoy caffeine in the morning. However, we all know people who need caffeine in the morning. My wife springs to mind. You don’t want to get in her way before she gets her caffeine buzz. This reasonable decent woman is replaced by a cranky snippy thing who must be tiptoed around. Enough about this alternative personality, I don’t want to think about it.
BR, my older son, is very bright. He is sensitive. He is caring. He is silly. Now, most of the time my boys are friends with the same odd sense of humor. Yes, of course they get into fights like brothers do – take it from someone who has three older brothers. The mornings, in particular, are difficult as the boys seem to be unable to coexist during this time of the day. In fact, my wife typically keeps the children in separate rooms so some form of tranquility can exist. While SY can be content to completely zone out watching whatever – really whatever is on television, BR is off the wall.
You may be wondering why BR is so challenging in the morning. No, my 8 year-old does not have a caffeine addiction. He has ADHD (emphasis on the H in his case) which affects people in different ways and often works in tandem with other issues. In the morning before his medicine kicks in, I imagine his brain as being incapable of handling all the stimuli. Therefore, his morning actions which are often unreasonable are practically out of his control. He hears my wife and I and even his little brother attempting to disciple, calm, and placate him but does not seem capable of acting upon those requests.
Once the medicine kicks in, BR’s positive traits noted above are more readily apparent. He can still be challenging, as boys his age can be, and has his challenges. So, my wife and I strive to recognize his needs and what will work to enable him to utilize his positive traits and fulfill his tremendous potential. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as caffeine.