My 4 year old son never stops moving. Ever. I’m not exaggerating. He is physically incapable of sitting still.
He’s always jumping, climbing, somersault-ing, skipping, leaping, running, and dancing his way through life. Even when he’s sitting, eating, reading, or doing a puzzle.
Like I said, physically incapable of being still. Unless he’s completely asleep – even then it’s iffy.
Which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Add in absolutely no fear… let’s just say I’m surprised I don’t have any grey hair yet.
He’s been able to climb any play structure at any park since the age of 1. He’s been able to go down fireman poles at said playgrounds since the age of 18 months. He’s been riding a bike and pedalling on his own since he was 2.
Now, at almost 5, he climbs on top of swing sets, does back flips off of swings, hangs upside down on monkey bars, and quite literally, climbs my walls.
He’s a smart kid. Too smart.
At 18 months old he managed to climb over a baby gate, unlock a deadboldt, get on an elevator and take it to the main entrance and was half way out the front door by the time I caught up to him.
At age 3, at 5 o’clock in the morning, he turned off his baby monitor, unlocked the gates at the top of the stairs and the bottom of the stairs, bypassed a child proof cover on the doorknob, unplugged the base to the door alarm, unlocked a child lock on the door, unlocked both the deadboldt and the lock on the screen door, put his boots and jacket on, crossed the street and entered our neighbors house.
Thankfully, I heard that door slam shut.
We now have a battery operated alarm on the door that, quite simply, screeches like a dying owl when the pin is pulled out – which occurs when the door is opened.
As a mother, it’s incredibly frustrating. Part of my job as a parent is to ensure the safety of my children. And he makes that nearly impossible.
Almost 5, he’s gotten better. Now he can understand consequences and the reasoning behind ‘always tell mommy and daddy what you are doing and where you are’. A 2 year old can’t comprehend that. At all.
Last Thursday, after almost a year of waiting, multiple meetings with behaviouralists, after two days of intense testing, it has been concluded that L is combined ADD and ADHD.
Most parents, I assume, feel some sort of sadness when it comes to an actual diagnoses. You go into these testings sessions hoping that your instinct is wrong, and that you have simply have a very curious child.
Me? I’m relieved. With an official diagnoses, we can learn to work with him better. We can learn to understand how he sees the world, and in turn, have a better understanding of how we, as parents, can ensure that he’s the best version of himself that he can be.
We’re not a family of secrets. So when L asked us why the doctors were asking him so many questions, and playing so many games, we didn’t lie. We didn’t use ‘correct’ terminology, but we explained to him in a way that he can understand.
My husband came up with the idea. He told L that the doctors said that his brain has ‘turbo speed’ and that sometimes, he has to learn how to slow the turbo speed down.
It’s worked beautifully. When it comes to bedtime, we simply tell him that it’s time to slow down the turbo speed and recharge his batteries by sleeping. That way, his turbo speed will be ready to work on full power in the morning.
It’s a very simple metaphor for something very complicated.
He’s exhausting. By the end of the day I am counting down the minutes until bedtime, if only for a few brief hours of silence. But I know in the morning, he’s going to come running in to our room, to tell me in full detail the dreams he had the night before.
There is no reason he needs to change. I only wish he could share some of that turbo speed with me so I can keep up to him!