Silly Grins

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From Morning Till Now

The Moment Before
And a moment after...flat as.  For some insane reason, the morning had started early, again.
Just had to check the blog dashboard to see if I had just really been up that early. 

Okay, now I think I am starting to crash. But before I do, I've got to share this experience. And this isn't because I'm going for brownie-points either (refer to third definition). 
 Waking up before the crack of dawn can be rewarding. This morning was no exception. Except I had no idea what the reward was supposed to be, other than being able to see the sunrise. I've decided that I like sunrises. Sunrises are peaceful.

(The late sunrise pictures were taken after the morning's unexpected post. We're afternoon now.)

After coming home and discovering a stirring house, I tried to do a little magic to keep moods from colliding like they usually do. What that means is keeping the morning-haters at bay from each other. That means raising the voice when they  start to shriek at each other, before their octaves go too high, while I can still match their wavelengths and then bring them down to a normal tone. At least that was the method that seemed to work until everyone was at the table. 

I wanted to know what ADHD was suddenly excited about. He'd been a grumpy mess only until moments before being called to the table. Then I could almost hear the approaching bullet-train sound with nowhere to go but up; it's like he was powering on. Not again. The morning...the sunrise...

Never know when hell is going to break loose.

Out of the blue (kind of like in the pictures), my son started asking what something was. Wife wasn't listening and was about to return to the previous rage-mode most housewives seem to prefer to default to in order to perpetuate the domestic myth that every morning is a war; she wasn't listening to the kid. (Gotta giver her a break though, she is his mom.)

As it turns out, the little guy was trying to say クエン酸 (what the f...?) the word in his mother-tongue for citric acid; it's gotta be the "why" chromosome. Now way else to explain. 

Number 8 (the parental unit formerly referred to as Mom), was not in the mood to be listening to anyone until she was two cups deep into the black of her pot of coffee. "What are you trying to, don't scream...I don't understand, just try to tell a calm voice," while motioning with hands. I somehow understood and corrected his pronunciation to "queen-san" -which wasn't quite right either, but I didn't care. Close enough.

Explosive situation defused (either definition works in this case).

Nowhere to run.

"He wants to know I'll cut him a deal," I thought.  But I knew I'd have to be quick and throw in everything and see where to and how far we could take this. 

I started asking about where he'd heard about citric acid

He answered,"The TV." 

Okay. Progress... but I wasn't about to ask when, because he seemed to be on a trajectory. Besides, he starts screaming when people can't figure out what he's trying to say. No, he didn't get his merciless impatience from me. And no, again, it isn't a language issue; I rarely, if ever, use Japanese...for his sake. 

I flipped on the iPad, googled for "citric acid" photos, and then turned the screen around to show him what there was. In a flash, he appeared to see it all; lemons, bags, powder, molecular models (well, he did see them...up to him to figure it all out later...cause that stuff if beyond me). 

Dad even learned a new thing or two, which he has promptly forgotten. 
But "Properties" is my favorite part. 
Enjoyed Reading the bit under "Measurement"

Okay, next set of questions. 
(He seemed to be cooperating....good.)
Where does citric acid come from? He guessed right, lemons. 
Dad repeated, "Yes, lemons. A citrus fruit." 
Then I read the Wikipedia entry for citric acid, summarizing the over-technical bits, and keying on vocabulary down to the "History" section. I told him that I did not expect him to remember any of this stuff, but that I was just putting it out there for him to absorb into his subconscious files for a later date (I didn't say exactly that, but that is more or less the point I tried to get across). 

We'd made a deal that he keep eating while all of this was going on. He stops eating, I stop reading. 
Another potential disaster diverted.

But life is merciless and has a wicked sense of humor, especially for parents.

"Time to go brush your teeth. And if you are good, we'll do an experiment when you get back to the table."

Wife said, "We don't have any lemons or lemon juice. You don't need to do this."
Excuse me?
I'm stubborn in some ways. My wife thinks I'm stubborn like an ass, while I believe it's symptomatic of being a dude, a guy, that biological thing. She can have her moods and I can make, break, and rebuild. They don't call it the "Y" chromosome for nothing. So many questions to ask. That's why we do projects, right fellas?  Other than for the fact that we are foolishly curious and make big messes. It's also how we tend to communicate, through doing stuff. 

I knew we had milk in the fridge and knew that we actually had a bottle of concentrated lemon juice kept near an industrial portion of baking soda. 

By the time ADHD had successfully completed his first task in the usual overkill fashion (anyone starting to see a pattern here?) he sat down at the table without really being able to actually sit nor remain still. Just before he went into shriek-mode (which sometime means "Hurry up!" and other times just means that he's happy - as he told me), I launched in with the questions. 

Deliberately pacing things, hoping he would follow the rhythm, trying to slow   things  down, I continued...
"What do you think will happen when we put this lemon juice into the milk?" 
He seemed to recall what he'd seen on the idiot box (definition #1 is how I use it, but he may be living definition #2 in terms of sensory perception overload... no comment on the other definitions... I gotta finish this post, gotta get it done). 

He made a fist sign. 
Me, in teach mode,"Yeah, it clumps up. It comes together. It curdles. Just like you showed me."

Okay, so he's seen them make cheese. Fair enough (somebody appears to be actually earning their keep at NHK). And now he knows that there are ways of determining the amount of citric acid in fruits and vegetables, and he can correctly rank a banana, apple, and lemon in terms from most to the least, and versa-visa (that was an intentional attempt at dyslexia).

But my head was starting to spin; it had been an early morning. 

I then put in a dribble at a time as we watched the milk reacting with the lemon concentrate. The pupils of his eyes (as I think I remember) contracted. Aren't they supposed to dilate? I do clearly recall seeing it before, when he was in hyper-mode just a few weeks ago. 

(Checking as I write this, I see Wikipedia has an entry here that is unnerving me at the moment...#3 lists Psychological Effects... something is definitely askew. Must pay closer attention to what he's focused on when he's starting to blast into orbit.)

Eventually we mixed the two together... but it didn't stop there. 
I asked him how he feels when he starts to run around the house (like he does almost every night before wearing himself out so he can sleep...has done since before he could walk, crawling in circles as a baby before seeming to just pass out...). 

"When I run around I feel hot." 
He may or may not have put together the idea of movement and heat, but he appears to know about melting, he somehow also knows about steam. Slow is cool and fast is hot. He smiled. We'll see how much he retains.

I tried to quickly explain that, for making cheese, we help the process along by heating the mixture up. Over a flame..."No, we don't have time this morning. We can try that experiment later, but just cottage cheese," glances at scowling wife,"we don't have the setup for it." Yet. We aren't set up yet, but must do everything we can to keep the kid from getting bored. Get him distracted by learning or something.

He then finished excitedly telling whoever would listen about the rest of the process as he's remembered from the TV. 

All of this to keep a hyper-active kid occupied until time to go to school. 
I realize that I'm going to have to develop a solid routine if I'm going to want peace at home and keep Number 8 from trying to match ADHD's altitude with blasts of rage; I don't want to live in a war-zone. Already enough imbalance in this world as it is. 

Had thrown a hail mary this morning and it somehow worked.


Okay, I'm starting to crash. 

Round it off and tie it up with a quote from a friend. 

"It is ironic that the qualities we praise in adults are the one's we punish our children for," or something like that. 


  1. my lord (the lower case was a deliberate attempt too), I have stumbled upon the Diary of a Madman (no link required).

    This is going to be an interesting trip.

  2. "We're all as mad as hatters here..."so the line goes.

    Loco and Chris' interaction is something I followed quite closely for what must have been almost two years. If a person is patient enough, patters emerge. Frankly, I'm blown away.

    "The large print giveth..." - that was the background music in part of my head when I wrote that.

    Yes, quite intentional.
    Glad you caught that. Shows we are making contact. I've got a heavy to drop, but need time to compose for those who wish to open that door, 'break on through to the other side' so to speak.

    Enjoyed seeing and reading about when you drank with all the Chinamen.

    Tom waits, life doesn't. Don't want to be late for that date.

    Thank you for your time.

  3. My friend works at a Montessori elementary school and one of the girls there has ADHD. You know what they do? She has a special hall pass and when she has a need she asks the teacher to leave the class. She walks down the hall and bounces on a trampoline for however long she needs. When she gets back to class she is focused. This to me is a form of perfection.

  4. ADHD is a gift...that my little one is using to teach me about life. He uses it to see, everything, all at once, withe equal attention...
    Here, I see that ADHD is kind of tolerated until junior high school, until the system starts the three-year sorting process, which is not always pretty.