My ADHD Daughter’s Artistic Occasion Planning
Yes, you read the headline correctly: This blog post is about our puppy’s first birthday party. Apparently we are these dog owners. Our Pomeranian Juliette has just turned a year old and the party planning started weeks earlier when Jasmine spent an entire Saturday afternoon creating a handwritten invitation. From then on, it quickly became one of my wife’s trademarks.
Laurie has always been hospitable. She loves planning parties and has lost countless nights preparing for them. More than once she woke me up in the middle of the night to ask me which ribbon I would like to tie around the candles. I’ve been married to her long enough to know the correct answer.
“Which do you like the most?” I ask, half dazed.
I’m trying to show her the enthusiasm she craves, but she knows better. Luckily we have Jasmine to fill my void. Jasmine loves parties, party planning and delves into all the details. “Mom! Where did you get this tape from ?!” she asks as she runs through the house with a spool of pink ribbon with brown puppy paw prints. “You should tie them around all the candles in the house!”
[Could Your Child Have Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD? Take This Test]
I recently learned the term “complexize,” which is used to describe how hyperactive minds build complexity to avoid boredom. I thought of Jasmine when she was four. She wouldn’t just take an ordinary shoebox and turn it into a rocket ship. She had to paint it, make pilots out of PlayDoh, turn our kitchen table into a launch pad, make seat belts out of duct tape – you got the idea.
Now that she is 10, Jasmine is Laurie’s greatest event planning resource. In the days leading up to Juliette’s party, Jasmine and Laurie worked day and night on the details. I overheard long conversations about whether Juliette should open her presents before or after she posed in the photo box with her dog friends.
On the day of the party, Jasmine is on her feet all day, scurrying back and forth in the backyard, where she hangs banners and inflates balloons adorned with paw prints. From there, she rushes to the kitchen, where she cooks Juliette’s cake from scratch using a recipe she found online, including dog-friendly yogurt frosting. While that is baking, she prepares the human cupcakes from scratch, including with icing. What shakes us all is that she used her pocket money to buy the dog-bone shape she uses to make little white chocolate toppings for her cupcakes.
“Dad!” She screams. “I have little white chocolate chips!”
“Okay,” I tell her. “I’m running to the store.”
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“Can you take heavy whipped cream with you in case I want to use my ice cream maker to make ice cream with a birthday cake?”
“Is that for the dogs? Or the people? ”I’m half joking.
She crosses her arms and gives me an intense look. “Maybe both of them!”
“Which 10 year old does this ?!” I ask Laurie.
“I have no idea!” says Laurie.
At 9 p.m. the party is over; all guests and their people have left. Jasmine collapses on our couch. “I can’t get over what a good job you did,” I tell her. “You deserve to rest.”
“Thank you, papa,” she says. Then she takes a deep breath and takes a long breath. “I just want to see a show.”
When she reaches for the remote control, Laurie calls from the next room. “Jasmine, I just posted all the pictures from the party on Facebook.”
Jasmine gets her second wind. “I have to see that!” and she runs to the bedroom in a dead sprint. Now I take a deep breath because I have no idea how many puppy parties it will take to tire this girl out.
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