Thursday, October 20, 2011

ROL: The Other Child.

ROL (Return on Life) is derived from the metric ROI (Return on Investment). Just as changes (hopefully small) to investment increase profitability (hopefully disproportionately larger than the increase in investment), small incremental changes in behavior can greatly increase QOL (Quality of Life). This week's ROL is about recognizing the other child.
Family Hand-Me-Downs And More.
I have ADHD. So do both my children. There should be some award given annually named for my wife. My daughter, Little Suzy has classic ADHD and the inattentiveness, impulsiveness and clumsiness that helps define the diagnosis. My son, Mario has Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD and some other organic stuff. Suggestions are now being taken for my wife's award.
Equity Requires A Fluid Definition.
When it comes to sucking oxygen from the room, Mario wins hands down. That's not a critique, that's a fact. Kids compete for attention and use of familial resources (TV in family room, for example). Mario being older and more volatile tends to win more than his fair share. On top of that, Mario absorbs more than his share of family finances. I'm not complaining. Aspergers is neither fatal nor rare. No critical surgeries (we know of that 1st hand; another post for another day), no weekly blood draws. Still, during the third meltdown on Saturday morning perspective disappears. Often, it's just not fair to Little Suzy. So...
Different But Equal.
Little Suzy is not yet 8 years old. She has a loft bed (Grandma and Grandpa bought her a good mattress for her 1st bed so mattress got recycled) with a recycled family futon click-clack on the ground level. Pink and zebra decorating thanks to Mom. A wall mounted (thanks to a neighbor, I'm not handy) TV (thanks again Grandma and Grandpa) with a DVD player (again household recycled).  Little Suzy does live in the lap of luxury, but...

Suzy's 1st bed was falling apart. My wife suggested (and I agreed) to do it once and do it right. Wife further suggested that Little Suzy's room be set up as an oasis. A place where Suzy can bring a friend to play, chat or sleep over. A place where Suzy can go hide when Mario can't be settled. A place where Suzy can be reminded that she isn't 2nd class to her brother the oxygen sucker.

3 months in and it seems to be working. Suzy spends equal amounts of time in the family room and in her special place. More importantly, Suzy know she has a place to go.
We Aren't The Only.
Everyone has Marios and Little Suzys. There are friends, co-workers, supervisors and committee members that drain a disproportionate amount of time and attention. It's vital to put the Little Suzys of the world on equal footing. Little Suzys deserve equal standing. It's good for Suzy, Mario and "parents" that Suzy gets her share. 

I've told you how Little Suzy gets her due in my world. Who are the Suzys in your world and how do you compensate? How does Suzy feel about your choices? How does that make Mario feel? How does that make you feel? What would you do differently?

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