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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?

Talking About a Revolution

18 Nov

Hi Everyone!

I’m guest posting over at Diary of a Mad Woman today.

I’m talking about money and blogging and working for free. Stop by and give me a holler!

How Santa Almost Screwed Me

29 Oct

This post comes from one of my favorite writers, Lori Dyan. Please visit her blog and read some of her stuff. Not one piece is bad. I am honored to have her guest post for me today. Thanks Lori!

How Santa Almost Screwed Me

While driving home from school recently, my seven-year-old son asked the question I’d been dreading for three years; not about sex – he’s an expert on that subject, thankyouverymuch. No, the question he asked me in a tentative, quavering voice was this: “Mommy, is Santa Claus real?”

I still remember asking my mom that question when I was his age. She asked if I believed in Santa and I decided to call her bluff and answered with a firm, “Nope.” Big mistake – she confirmed my suspicions and I burst into tears, utterly devastated.

Call me old-fashioned, but for my kids (I also have a three-year-old daughter), I was determined to keep up the pretence that we knowingly invite an obese senior with an elf fetish into our home while we sleep.

Until lately, it’s been surprisingly easy: for six years we’ve visited Christmas Town, Santa’s temporary north pole in the woods. It’s a local attraction complete with horse-drawn sleigh rides and cookie decorating, where each family has a personal visit with Santa (no fake beard here) and Mrs. Claus in their cottage. He’s never even seen a mall Santa.

My son didn’t think to question Santa’s legitimacy until last week when he overheard some kids at his hippie school talking about dads pretending to be Santa. I assured him that our Santa was obviously real because who would go to the trouble of setting up a fake Christmas Town?

The only problem was, Christmas Town had become more popular every year and although park pass holders used to be offered tickets in advance (online or by phone), this year it was going to be online only and every mom for herself. My kid’s faith in the magic of Christmas was riding on my ability to get tickets to see the ‘real’ Santa. Mommy needed to bring her A Game.

Tickets went on sale at 12:01 p.m. By 11:58 a.m., the server was down and the park phone lines were all busy. By 12:02 p.m., I’d sweat through my t-shirt and eaten half a bag of Oreos. My pal Sara was also desperate for tickets and having similar issues, minus the Oreos. We commiserated over our plight, comparing it to the anxiety we used to feel when trying to procure U2 tickets. I wondered if we could score Santa through a scalper. We resolved to keep trying and whoever got through first would get tickets for the other.

Finally, at 1:30 p.m., covered in Oreo dust, I was inspired to call the administration office, but rather than trying to reach customer service I entered a random first name in the company directory. Bingo. The random person picked up the line and in the spirit of Christmas (or just to get the crazy lady off her phone), she gave me a special URL that bypassed the server issues. Although I was practically left in a diabetic coma, the tickets were purchased, Christmas was saved and it was totally worth it.

Now I just have to worry about my daughter stripping naked and telling Santa to smell her fuzzy little butt.




Lori is currently querying  first novel and writing freelance gigs while simultaneously raising two young children and working full-time hours at a part-time job. She’s also likely snoozing under the kitchen table as you read this. You can read more of her here.

The Benefits of the Conventional Family

28 Oct

This guest post is from a new blog I started following- Blah Ya Ya. Alisha has the most amazing life story. Stop by and check her out when you get a chance. She is so real and honest. I am thrilled to have her guest posting for me. Thanks Alisha!

hello lovelies!  it’s alisha from blahyaya and i am so honored to provide a little fill-in for morgan while she’s out and about.  i struggled a little in deciding what i wanted to write about here.  this is my first guest blog, and of course i wanted to make a good impression and do good for you and by her.  so, without further adieu…here is a slice of my life.  i hope you enjoy!

i haven’t written about this on my own blog.  both of my parents read blahyaya.  they even have a little theme song that signifies one to the other that their combined dna can, at 31 years, not only walk and talk and pay her own mortgage, but is a creative little rascal, too!

my parents at this very moment are across town in the bedroom my momma grew up in snuggled up in their queen size, visions of god only knows what dancing in their heads.  my dads oxygen concentrator is pumping white noise into the room.  my momma dearly loves white noise.  they probably fell asleep laughing together.  they’ve loved each other since they were 18 and 21 respectively.  they have each always said that they “have the same kind of crazy”.  my dad calls each of his four daughters angel baby.  my momma tells me she’s proud of me every single day.

picture perfect, right?  all of the above is sober as a judge true, but there’s a bit more to it.

until may of this year, my parents had not spoken to each other except for very tiny quick exchanges in 29 years.  they had not been in the same room in almost that long.  they had both married other people, a couple of other people for my momma.  my sisters are not my mothers’, they are my half-sisters.  my parents divorced when i was 2 years old.  bitterly.  irreparably.  or so we thought.

turns out, they both continued to carry one another in the secrets of their hearts.  they didn’t speak not because of the bitterness, but because sometimes short-term bitterness becomes a long-term awkwardness.  people move on, the sun continues to come up, and before you know it you’re life is full underway and takes on a direction all its own.  don’t we all know how that feels?

through a crazy turn of events including a facebook profile and a rousing game of “name that tune” nearly 30 years of all the stuff that keeps people apart melted away in this summers’ heat and my parents fell back in love.  and have moved in together.  2 miles from my house.  wow.

is it terrible that i have a little awkwardness of my own when telling people “yeah…um…my parents are reuniting”?  i mean really, does this happen outside of hallmark movies?  apparantly so.

i love both my parents so much i can’t hardly stand it.  they are amazing people, each in their own rights.  i would be lying if i told you it wasn’t nearly every child of divorce’s dream to see their parents back together, loving and laughing, happily ever after.  but, yeah…it’s a little weird!!!

bottom line:  i have my own crazy to live with.  for now, i’m taking only the good and squashing that little “seriously???” voice in my head. i may go over in the early morning and jump in bed between them.  because the little girl inside me never got to do that.

sounds like a plan.


alisha is a 30-something mom of 2 *cats*. she and her partner, mandy, live in rural alabama *by choice*.  she is an emergency medicine nurse by night and sleepy blogger by day.  you can read more of her at Blah Ya Ya.

Sex Anxiety

26 Oct

Today’s guest post comes from A Diary of a Mad Woman. She was one of my first bloggy friends and I am so happy she is guest posting today. Thanks Lady!


Sex Anxiety


You know that’s an old trick, don’t ya? Using sex in the title. Just to lure you in, because that’s how I roll.

Morgan was so kind to let me post this to her blog today. I needed a place to talk about this.

For years, when thinking of having children, I only thought of boys. It’s natural, really. I have three older brothers. Always followed them everywhere they went. Wanted to be a boy scout.

When Adonis and I bought our first house we moved in next door to a couple of boys. Loud, boisterous, athletic boys.

Adonis played sports. I wanted to have a son for him.

I also had my reasons for not wanting a girl.

My girlhood was not a happy time. I didn’t have girlfriends or understand the things that girls did. Talking behind the backs of girls they had once called friends? What was that?

I was awkward, not socially adept, had a poor sense of self and certainly of fashion. I didn’t do well at sports when it was the popular thing to do. I didn’t know how to develop relationships with women until I was well into my thirties. This is painful stuff.

How could I desire to bring a girl child into this world with this baggage?

Let’s not forget the anxiety of being the mother of a girl. It’s a funny line but it is so true: when you’re the mother of a boy, your concern is ONE penis, when you’re the mother of a girl, your concern is ALL penises.

Add to that the fear that my child might inherit my social awkwardness and the fear that she might also learn my flirty ways and my hunger for the attention of men.

So yes, when that 20 week ultrasound identified us a girl baby, I cried. I was filled with anxiety and fear. It was difficult sharing the news with family who were only happy for us.

As the pregnancy continued, and well past her birth, I was still neurotic and apprehensive.

My daughter has been a joy, a delight, quite the entertaining little character, and yet I see things in her that are distinctly FEMININE.

As I’m writing this, it has occurred to me that perhaps she is nothing like me at all.

A Midwest transplant to California, Mad Woman has been blogging just over a year.  She is an adminstrative assistant and is the proud mother of a toddler and 3 cats.  When not serving up meals that barely pass as healthy or holding the hand of her work spouse, she is zealously searching to find humor in every passing day.  If she isn’t laughing, it just means she hasn’t had her coffee yet.

Can I Sit Here Too?

25 Oct

Happy Monday! Today’s guest post comes from Jessica of Mommyhood: Next Right. She’s a newer blogger who is navigating the world of motherhood. I love her perspective on motherhood and her sense of balance. I’m so happy she is guest posting for me today. Happy reading!

Can I sit here, too? (Pretty please with a cherry on top)

By Jessica of Mommyhood: Next Right

I am often told that I am  “oblivious” to the grittier truth of certain matters because I have a hard time digesting the grit.

This much is true…well, at least, in part.

Part of this “truth” may explain why I have long avoided certain department stores’ (namely the cheaper variety) dressing rooms like a plague.

It’s not that I don’t want to know what I look like in clothes before making a purchase.

This would, after all, be the most sensible and practical means for me to avoid spending money on items that will, inevitably, end up being returned some days/hours/minutes later.

It’s the lights and mirrors, I think.

The mirrors, it seems (and, as I would like to believe) are always titled and stretched at an unflattering angle that makes my legs look shorter than usual, torso look absurdly long, and, butt look squashed.

The lights, it seems, are also a bit of a problem. They are always absurdly bright, revealing “seeming” oddities about my knee fat, blemishes on my thighs, and other strange imperfections that my “normal” vision misses (or chooses to miss) on a day-to-day basis.

Rather than subjecting myself to this mental torture, I avoid such dressing rooms altogether.

If what I am seeing (and have seen) in those dressing rooms is the “truth,” then, and as I often tell myself,  “I don’t want to know that truth.”

That truth, after all, is not very productive. It ruins my day, and makes every other more flattering mirror or, even, storefront glass window appear to be dishonest.

In thinking about this “truth” about myself, or my unwillingness to see (and accept) the truth of all things, I have come to think of other areas that I choose blindness over sight.

One such area, I think, is in blogging.

As a newbie blogger, I am still holding out on the beliefs that real, heterogeneous communities, or the kind that are built for all, with open memberships, and designed without expectation among its newer members of “something in return” or ulterior motives, are always possible in the blogosphere.

I should say here that I had long wanted to believe that real communities open to all members are always possible but then, I started hearing things.

First, I heard that the blogosphere is like high school, that there are cliques that disallow open friendships/connections between some and everyone else.

I really hope, as one who was categorically a loner in High school, that this is not true.

Then, I heard about the phenomenon of bloggers collectively choosing to unfollow any blogs or twitter users who are not following them back or who do not “agree” with them on x-y-z.

I tried to do this, or to join in the grand trend of unfollowing people on someone else’s “whim,” but always got stuck on the “unfollow” button and the thought that every one is worthy and has something, even if they do not follow me back or if I don’t agree with everything they said in a blog post or tweet, worth me sticking around as a follower. I’m a softie, I guess.


And, I should say now that I am not questioning whether any communities are possible in the blogosphere. The key word in my questioning is “always.” Furthermore, are these (particularly the more “established and admired variety”) communities open to all wannabe members?

My original question, again, if you missed it is: Are real communities always possible in the blogosphere? Or, are exclusivity and self-interest (perhaps for good reason?) too rampant in the blogosphere?

I am inclined to say that real communities are not always possible when exclusivity and self-interest reign, but I would like to believe (and see) otherwise.

I hope I am not coming across as being sad about this possible truth. I’m not (now, at least).

I wasn’t, however, when I first started blogging, or when my real, impaired  “vision,” or my vision which always saw the “sunnier,” utopian side, the 11-year old side of me that wanted to “fit” in with everyone I thought was doing and saying things similar to me, was interpreting things.


And, I am ok with this (really, I am).

So, I will ask the question again, are real communities always possible in the blogosphere? If you do not think real communities are always possible, then I am curious to hear about what things you think stand in the way of real communities forming. The 11-year old side of me/twenty something newbie blogger really wants to know. Really.

Jessica is a twenty-something mom and wife living in D.C. Before becoming a mom in January 2010, she worked as a writer while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in English. You can visit her at Mommyhood: Next Right.


22 Oct

Today’s guest post comes from The Animated Woman. Thank you so much for your contribution- I am so honored!


One day, when I was a kid, I told my mom I wanted to be a Ballerina. She did not send me to ballet school. Instead, she found a 2nd hand tutu at the Salvation Army and told me I could do anything I wanted.

When Morgan invited me to guest blog for her, she told me I could do anything I wanted. Alluva sudden I remembered that long ago, I had wanted to be a Ballerina! So here I am, as a Ballerina, doing the Swan Lake thing just for you.

What did you want to be when you were little?

JC Little is The Animated Woman, a mompreneur who engages with animation. She’s the creator/director of a tween TV comedy My Life ME, the earth friendly and a cartoon humour blog.

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