This post comprises five promises from a dad to his son on five separate pages. At the bottom of each promise is a link to the next promise, or you can jump directly to a page within this post. Comments left will be visible on any of the five promise pages.
6) “I promise to let you dress yourself for school. My hurried schedule should not interfere with your personal development.”
Here’s a typical morning routine at the bungalow:
6:45:00-6:49:59 a.m. – Snooze
6:50:00-6:54:59 a.m. – Snooze
6:55:00-6:59:59 a.m. – Snooze
7:00:00-7:32:59 a.m. – Jump out of bed, frantically grab work clothes, turn on lights to wake up wife, go downstairs and wake up The Little Professor, set out TLP’s clothes, get screamed at, resist urge to dress TLP, leave to use bathroom, get dressed, return and re-dress TLP because 85% of his clothes are on backwards, leave again to brush teeth, fix hair, nuke a breakfast sandwich while he eats his applesauce with supplements and vitamins prepared by wife, kiss family goodbye, forget wallet and get in car while TLP puts shoes on wrong feet, return to get wallet, fix shoes, try to leave but bus arrives, walk TLP to bus, race to work.
Not a good start to my day. But there’s a key component to the mad rush: he dresses himself. For a long time, I was in too much of a hurry to wait for him to fumble around at putting on his own clothes because he couldn’t miss the bus. I started getting up 5-10 minutes earlier so he’d have some time to try. The amount of help I offer wanes over time, and he’s gotten much better at it. You’d think putting his clothes on the right way would be a 50/50 shot, but he somehow consistently puts most things on backwards. Motor skills are tricky. When you struggle and struggle and you’ve got a foot in a hole, you go with it! Pants on backwards? Oh well. I’m dressed. It took me a while to learn that I need to give him space to grow,
even especially when it comes to activities of daily living (ADLs to the IEP-savvy folks). Now if only I’d give myself more time.
Think about ways in which you might be enabling, coddling, or otherwise stifling your child. For me, it comes from both a place of wanting to take care of my baby boy and a place of wanting to move the frak along with our day. Whatever the intent, he needs that opportunity to learn. Give him that assist when he needs it, but make him feel like it was his victory.