If you tell Edgar he cannot have my cellphone to play Minecraft, he will take three sheets of paper and create a paper cellphone with multiple Minecraft screens.
If you tell Edgar he cannot play with the fragile robot his older brother built in science camp, he will fashion one out of magnets.
If you tell Edgar he cannot go to a dinosaur workshop, he will gather up every plastic dinosaur in the house, draw a bubbling volcano, and conduct his own workshop.
Resourceful, yes, but also incredibly frustrating.
From the moment Edgar was placed in my arms, I dedicated my life to this boy. As he grew into the whimsical, magical-thinking human he is and, I suspect, forever will be, I stood in awe. As his mother, who has to at times come up with consequences for his transgressions, I find myself regularly shaking my head.
Losing my phone has zero impact when he is equally happy with the paper version he’s created. Not being able to attend a workshop on dinosaurs loses its punch when he can star in his own one-man show. Sending him to his room, where the books and Lego that feed his abundantly fertile imagination reside, is more a privilege than anything else. He sees the world in a grain of sand and could feasibly amuse himself with said grain for hours.
Edgar has ADHD; and while the medicine he takes does help to curb his impulsivity, it does not eliminate it. And though he is a child with ADHD, he is still a child—and children, with or without ADHD, do things on their path to knowledge that earn them the occasional timeout or loss of privilege.
But when your child has ADHD and the remarkable gift of hyperfocus, things become challenging. Edgar has the ability to effortlessly, indeed instinctively, shift his focus from the consequence he’s receiving to something else that pleases him—creating a work of art, getting lost in the world of Tinker Toys, reclining on his bed and reenacting a scene from Harry Potter. He refuses to dwell in negativity and loss; he removes himself from misery.
This is, of course, more a skill than anything else. The ability to entertain oneself, to recover quickly from a setback, and to move on with your day is going to serve him infinitely well in the years to come.
As his parent, however, I often find myself at a loss and wishing I had half the skills he so clearly does.