Dr. Mom Mondays: Is ADD “Real?”

20 Mar

Welcome to the second installment of “Dr. Mom Mondays” at The Little Hen House! Thank you to everyone for the fabulous support you showed my new weekly series. It was hard to pick just one question, but my heart really feels for this mom. The reader asked to remain anonymous, and I’m sure we can all relate to her desire to protect her son’s identity. If any of you would like to be featured on the next Dr. Mom Mondays you can email me your parenting or relationship question to morgan(at)thelittlehenhouse(dot)com.

Question: My pediatrician just suggested that I have my 7-year-old assessed for A.D.D.  I am wary of what I think is an “ADD frenzy” and dislike the idea of kids having such labels.  What do you think?

Dr. Mom says: I understand your dislike of labels and your wariness about the recent increase in the ADD diagnosis.  However, I offer you another view of this issue.  I would suggest that you go ahead and get the assessment that your pediatrician has advised. Here is why:

First, the assessment process is very educational in itself.  Even if you don’t buy into the ADD label, or even its existence, you will learn some very important things about your child’s learning style, coping mechanisms, and brain habits, so to speak.  Pick up a book (ask the assessor’s for a reference) and see what you learn about children and brain/behavior/learning differences.  It is fascinating stuff. To be smart, we must all increase our understanding of our own brain’s “operating style” – nothing is more important in the quest for better and better self-management.

So learning about our child’s is the most helpful thing we can do as we teach him how to manage himself as well.  Having the assessment your pediatrician suggests will be a wonderful opportunity for you to learn some things about your child that you probably don’t yet know.  You can ignore the fact that this is all done in the vein of ADD assessment.  Think of it as “learning style assessment and learning management assessment.”

Another reframe is this: If indeed your child “qualifies” for the ADD diagnosis, consider accepting it and getting it on his record at school.  It could give him some considerable benefits– the diagnosis may be to his advantage in many ways.  He can receive extra help as needed in school, like tutoring, note-taking, special study guides, organizational aids, language therapy, and such (all mandated by state laws, and free of charge).  He might receive extra time on tests (including the SAT!!), private space for test-taking, accommodations for where he sits in the classroom, use of calculators, and much more.  Kids with the ADD diagnosis often quality for special scholarships to college, can even receive consideration for college acceptance with somewhat easier requirements, and so forth.  In these days of stiff competition, some edge can make a difference.

Perhaps the most important consideration for you is this: watch carefully your child’s succeeds or struggles with peer relationships.  Kids with “different” learning and behavior styles, whether you call it ADD or just a difference, often have struggles socially.  Kids can overcome educational weaknesses with time, but social weaknesses can dramatically affect their self-esteem, affecting success in school and in life.  The resulting poor self-image and possible “social labeling” by peers (the “weird kid” or “dumb kid” or “disruptive kid” and so forth) can stay with them for years, making a painful, life-changing situation.  In that case, it is better to accept the ADD label, treat the symptoms, and give a child a chance at more acceptable peer and school experiences.

We all want to help our kids make the most of what they have and overcome obstacles.  Following your pediatrician’s advice about getting this assessment might be your best bet in that honorable quest.

Mary Quinn has a Ph.D. in Therapeutic Psychology and is Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in San Diego. She is also a wife of 31 years, a mother of three, a step-mother of two, a grandmother of seven, a passionate gardener, and a writer. She survived a childhood as the only girl with five brothers, and always wears red toenail polish.

Thanks Dr. Mom! What about you guys? Do you have any words of wisdom for our friend?

Top Ten Things in My Life That Are Giving Me Anxiety

17 Mar

1. The unfinished photo project in my hallway.

2. The unfinished baby clothing organization project.

3. The unfinished plant potting project on my doorstep (do you notice a trend here?).

4. This mysterious worm I found in my bathroom last night. I also found one in Emma’s room. We’ve had enough worms thankyouverymuch.

5. This pile of unread mail (aka: unopened bills).

6. This pile of laundry. At least it’s clean?

7. This pile of things I need to sell on Craigslist (notice another trend here?).

8. Voicemails, emails, my google reader, Facebook, Twitter, etc, etc, etc…

9. Emma’s impending summer vacation (aka: both kids at home with me 24/7).

10. That little “radioactive plume” that’s floating around in the atmosphere right now. Oh, and the thousands and thousands of people who were affected by the tsunami, and the nuclear power plants that are (possibly) melting down. Just stuff like that.

Tell me: What’s giving you anxiety these days?

Did you catch my announcement about Dr. Mom Mondays? Don’t forget to email your Dr. Mom question to morgan(at)thelittlehenhouse(dot)com.

Wordless Wednesday: Baby, Meet Chicken

16 Mar

Baby no likey the chicken.

Dear Starbucks, Are We Still Friends?

15 Mar

Starbucks has unveiled its latest petite sugar bomb: The Cake Pop. Be still my beating heart.

Dear Starbucks,

A little birdie told me something: You are offering a new epicurean delight to your customers. It’s called a cake pop, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

I made a special trip to your fancy, recently remodeled location on Orange Avenue for a taste of this delicious goodness, and what did I find? Nothing. There was not a cake pop in sight.

Did you really think you could get away with this? Did you think I wouldn’t notice the considerable lack of cake pops in your shiny display case? Do you not know me at all?

I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and forgive the oversight. Maybe there was some sort of disaster in your cake pop factory, which resulted in a cake pop shortage. It’s also possible that the cake pop truck overturned on the highway during its scheduled cake pop delivery. Or maybe, just maybe, a band of cake pop thieves intercepted the cake pop drop-off and they are being sold on the black market. Anything is possible when it comes to cake pops.

I don’t want this little incident to come between us, but just so you know: I’ll be back. You better not let this happen again. Or else.

Lots of Love,


This post can also be seen at my weekly lifestyle column, “Following the Yellow Brick Road” at Coronado Patch.

Dr. Mom Mondays: When Playdates Go Bad

14 Mar

I have an exciting announcement!

Mondays at The Little Hen House are now “Dr. Mom Mondays.”

Some of you may have heard me mention that my mother is a psychotherapist. Well, I’ve convinced her to host a weekly series here on The Little Hen House, in which she answers all your tough parenting/relationship questions. She’s pretty awesome at her job and I seem to have turned out relatively healthy and normal, at least that’s what my therapist tells me. So umm… yeah.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, my mom is going to be here every Monday for “Dr. Mom Mondays.” Now, the only way this will work if is if you all participate in my brilliant plan. I encourage you to email me with any parenting or relationship questions you have. I’ll be picking one of your questions to feature every week with a link back to your blog, or I can keep your identity a secret if that works better for you. Everyone needs a little confidentiality from time to time too.

My mom will personally respond to the weekly question here on my blog and then we can all chime in on the comments below. The idea behind Dr. Mom Mondays is to create a community for all of us to share our experiences and support each other during our adventures in motherhood. We will have our own Dr. Mom as the licensed therapist/voice of reason and the rest of us to lend a girlfriend’s point of view.

Are you ready for the first installment of Dr. Mom Mondays? Me too! Today’s question comes from yours truly, as this is what sparked the whole “Dr. Mom Mondays” idea. It’s a real-life problem that I am struggling with, and I know that many other mothers have the same issue.

Please email your Dr. Mom Mondays question to morgan(at)thelittlehenhouse(dot)com. Thanks guys!


My 4-year-old daughter has a good friend who can be aggressive at times, hitting and pushing and slapping my child when they have conflicts during play dates.  How should I handle this with my child, the little friend, and the other mom?


Let’s start with making the best assumption — that the “aggressive” child needs a better way to handle her frustrations. The next time the girls are together, start out the play date with a practice session BEFORE ANY PROBLEM HAS COME UP.  Stay cheerful and positive, like a good coach – make this a bit of fun!

Tell the girls that you are going to teach them something that many kids don’t know — what to do and say if they get frustrated with one another.   First, have them practice saying out loud, “I am frustrated!” while they sit down at the same time.  It is very important that they sit down as soon as they say the sentence “I am frustrated!”  Be sure you join along in the practicing, getting up in between and sitting down again with the sentence.

Then have them practice saying, “How can I help you?” When they can say both sentences clearly, set up a practice session with you having a toy that they want.  They will sit down and say, “I am frustrated!” and you will say, “How can I help you?”  When they say, “Give me the toy,” you can model some negotiating (“Let’s set a timer and when it dings, it is your turn” or “Let’s dance to music instead of playing with toys” or “Let’s each get a toy we both like and trade every 5 minutes” and so on).

The day of the playdate have them tell you every time they make this work, and reward them!  If this doesn’t help, let me know and we will take the solution a step further.

Mary Quinn is a Marriage, Child, and Family Therapist with a private practice in San Diego. She is also a wife of 31 years, a mother of three, a step-mother of two, a grandmother of seven, a passionate gardener, and a writer. She has a Ph.D., survived a childhood with five brothers, and always wears red toenail polish.

Thanks Dr. Mom! Readers: what do you do when a playdate goes bad?

When Disaster Strikes

11 Mar

The post that I had scheduled will have to wait. I can’t imagine trying to make light of anything so soon after the tragedy that struck Japan late last night. My thoughts go out to everyone affected by this terrible disaster.



Wordless Wednesday: Just Call Me The Chicken Whisperer

9 Mar

You can read more about the story behind this photo at my urban farming blog: Ruling the Roost.

PS: I’m hosting a giveaway! Leave a comment on this post and consider yourself in the running for some free Pull-Ups gear. Do it!

So, You Think You Can Potty Dance?

8 Mar

There’s nothing like potty training to motivate you to totally geek out for your kid. Case in point- The Potty Dance. In my house, The Potty Dance goes like this: Pick any children’s song, change the words to pertain to anything potty, and dance around like you’ve had 15 cups of coffee and 4 Diet Cokes. Doesn’t my life sound glamorous?

Before I go any further, I have to be 100% honest here: Pull Ups contacted me and asked if I wanted to write about their Potty Dance Party. Wait! You guys should know by now that I’m naturally wary of PR related blogs and I wouldn’t write about something unless I totally thought it was worth your while, so bear with me here. Plus, there’s some free stuff in it for you guys. See? Sometimes reading my blog really does pay off!

Well, I checked out the Potty Dance Party info at The Pull Ups website and there was some really great info on there. There are tons of free resources to help parents get their kids interested in using the potty. There is a free dowloadable potty progress chart, an iGo Potty app, and you can even request a free Big Kid potty training DVD. If there’s one thing I know: mom’s like free stuff- especially if it motivates our little guys to get that poo poo in the potty, and NOT on the floor like someone’s little girl did once. *cough*

You know what else I learned at the Pull Ups website? There is an official Potty Dance. Apparently, I have been doing it all wrong. They have a pretty sweet video of Ralph’s World performing the official Potty Dance, and while I’d like to think MY potty dance is in the spirit of “interpretive” dance, the Pull Ups Potty Dance has way more mainstream appeal. I mean, the kids on the video are crazy for it-even the parents are getting into it.

This is the best part:

I have to tell you about something else super cool. Pull Ups has a Facebook page, and you guys can go on there and ask for potty training tips. Dr. Gwenn, a pediatrician, mom, and Pull-Ups Potty training parter, is available to answer all your tough potty training questions. I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call where she answered a bunch of real-life potty training questions and she was amazing! I learned a ton of really interesting information like: constipation can lead to potty training issues because a backed up colon puts pressure on the bladder. Totally gross but equally fascinating, right? She’s very real and honest and she doesn’t shove a bunch of Pull Ups jargon down your throat. She actually answers questions with real responses. How refreshing!

Ready for more free stuff?

For all my Southern California friends: Pull Ups is having a Potty Dance Party at the San Diego Zoo on Wednesday, March 23rd from 10-11:30am. The event is totally free with San Diego Zoo admission. There will be a performance from Ralph’s World (awesome!) and more  The tent has a 500 person capacity; first come, first admitted. You know I’ll be there, so come hang out with me!

Once last chance for free stuff!

I’m giving away one Pull-Ups Potty Dance Party Pack. It’s full of fun potty training gear for your Big Kid plus coupons for Pull-Ups. Leave a comment below and consider yourself entered. The giveaway will end on Friday, March 11th 2011, so get those comments in!

“Pull-Ups® training pants provided product, incentives and a reader giveaway for me to attend the Potty Dance Party. However, my opinions on the product and The Potty Dance experience are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards Pull-Ups® or their products.”

Disney Princess Characters Revealed!

7 Mar

Disney Princess fever has hit our house full-force. It’s all Princess all the time around here. Poor Hello Kitty has been cast aside for Emma’s new besties: Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, and Cinderella. The Disney Princess movies are on heavy rotation here at The Little Hen House and it’s Princess dress-up central 24/7.

We’ve  ditched the “Toddler Songs” CD in favor for “Disney Princesses: The Ultimate Song Collection.” I act like this is some huge aggravation, but internally? I am thrilled. I love singing along to all my childhood Disney favorites (I’m partial to Belle and Ariel), and it’s so cute to hear Emma singing along with me.

The Disney Princess revival happening in my life has got me wondering, “Who are the actors behind these animated characters?” Well my friends, I am about to reveal to you the faces behind some of the most famous Disney Princess characters of all time:

Cinderella played by Ilene Woods:

Aladdin played by Scott Weinger:

(Fun Fact: That’s DJ Tanner’s boyfriend from Full House!)

Belle played by Paige O’Hara:

Ariel played by Jodi Benson:

Aurora (aka: Sleeping Beauty) played by Mary Costa:

Gaston played by Richard White:

Jasmine sung by Lea Salonga :

Snow White played by Adriana Caselotti:

Tiana played by Anika Noni Rose:

Ursula the Sea Witch Pat Carroll:

Elmo played by Kevin Clash:

(Ok- I know that Elmo isn’t a Disney character, but OMG! That’s Elmo!)

Tell me: Were you surprised by any of these faces?

This post can also be seen here at Rated by Mom.

¿Cómo Se Dice “Rooster Sperm” en Español?

4 Mar

I had a- I don’t know- um…. interesting conversation with my neighbor Maria yesterday. She’s a lovely woman who is very vibrant and I always enjoy speaking with her. I use the term “speaking” loosely, as she speaks only Spanish and I probably have the vocabulary of a two year old Hispanic toddler. This is how the conversation went:

Maria: Oh, I see you have some chickens.

Me: Yes.

Maria: How many?

Me: Four.

Maria: Any roosters?

Me: No.

Maria: You don’t need a rooster anyway. Let the hens sit on the eggs so you can have babies. Don’t take the eggs out of the coop and eat them. The hens need to sit on them.

Me: No, no babies. Need rooster daddy for to make the babies.

Maria: No you don’t. You just have to let the hens sit on the eggs for a long time. The warmth from their bodies will make the babies come.

Me: No. The Rooster is the “papa”. You need the “papa” for to make the babies. “Mama” is of the lady chicken and “Papa” is of the rooster chicken.

Maria: I think you are wrong. My mother has chickens, tons of them actually, and they have babies.

Me: Is her chicken house one of the rooster?

Maria: Yes, but only because he is beautiful. He doesn’t make the babies.

Me: Oh, ok. It’s possible.

It’s times like these I wish my tenth grade Spanish teacher Mr. Merril had covered terms such as, “immaculate conception”, “fertilization”, and “chicken sex.” I so would have aced that class.

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