A smoking gun

Keeping Ben still

When Mike read the paper this morning, he expressed relief that I’m a non-smoker.

“Just imagine what he’d have been like if you’d smoked,” he said.

He’s referring to our son. Ben has much better self-control these days, and can happily sit still in class for long enough not to annoy his teacher.

But there was a time when…

- he threw a pot of paint onto the floor, the lid came off, and dark red paint splattered all over the carpet in my father’s new house

- on that same visit, he threw a breakfast bowl onto the tiled kitchen floor. It shattered, and on ordering a replacement I discovered that my father buys breakfast bowls that cost more than our entire crockery set.

Now when we visit he gets plastic plates.

- every tea-time was a cue for a fifteen minute tantrum, generally involving the throwing of furniture into the middle of the kitchen – and not by me, although I often felt like it.

- in the early days after his sister’s arrival he once made eight attempts on her life in one day.

These included:-

1) throwing a wooden train at her head from the other side of the sitting room (he’s since received a certificate from school for “good catching” so his ball skills are still accurate)

2) slapping her across the head as I was feeding her, knowing I couldn’t easily discipline him with a baby clamped to my breast

3) aiming a quick kick at her side while I was changing her nappy (on the floor, as advised in all the manuals) then following that up with a karate leap onto her stomach

4) eating fish fingers with one hand and casually slapping her across the face with the other as I was (again) feeding her

5) stroking her gently on the arm, and quickly, before I could react, changing the stroking into vicous scratching. He then greeted her howls with a triumphant “Baby crying Mummy!”

The two of them are now great friends and love to be reminded just how cross Ben was when Hannah came into his life.

This morning though, they were both slow and uncooperative about getting ready for school, and as the shouting and the chaos permeated Mike’s intimate and exclusive relationship with the newspaper, he happened upon the relevant article and mused about how things might have been worse.

But that’s only if the research proves to be accurate.
It may not stand up to all the other research that’s bound to follow, and subsequent research may prove the exact opposite, leading to a mass take-up of smoking among expectant mothers with a slightly energetic family member.

On just a short flick through Google I came up with a few more smoking/ADHD related theories.

For instance –

Children with ADHD may take up smoking to self-medicate. Apparently nicotine can act a little like Ritalin, in that it’s a stimulant and helps people to concentrate for longer.
No, it makes no sense to me either.

Or, exposure to passive smoking can lead to ADHD symptoms. This, apparently, is because passive smoking can make kids snore, which reduces the quality of their sleep, which causes ADHD-type symptoms which may actually be due to chronic tiredness rather than ADHD.

So – smoking can cause ADHD and ADHD can lead to smoking.

Are there no two random words that scientists can’t link together to come up with a finding that has us all panicking and wishing we could turn back time?

There is one thing I can be thankful for though,

The researchers found no relationships between alcohol during pregnancy and ADHD

Thank the Lord.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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4 Responses to A smoking gun

  1. Omega Mummy says:

    I’m beginning to like the Desperate Housewives approach – where you take the Ritalin yourself. Interesting post. A lot of it sounded very familiar.

  2. lady macleod says:

    So we should encourage smoking by children in order to avoid unsocial behavior? I love research. You know what causes cancer in lab rats? Research.

  3. The mind boggles. Watching the news tonight regarding pregant mothers being told not to drink at all … I mean, I expect we’re going to be advised to buy or own tanks of air next …

  4. debio says:

    Latest research I heard yesterday is that we all need cholesterol as it wards off Parkinson’s disease.
    Poor man from Carolina suffered heart disease few years back, gave up smoking, fatty foods etc – he now has early Parkinson’s.
    Has not lost his ironic sense of humour – no doubt, he’ll be told to lose that soon…

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