… from the bungalow

Promises Guide: 6-10 (2 of 20) – The Little Professor


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.

le sigh

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.

Do This

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.

Take me back to the list!
Continue to the next promise–>


Author: Chris

Introspection to a fault. College administrator, parent, soapmaker.

12 thoughts on “Promises Guide: 6-10 (2 of 20) – The Little Professor

  1. Chris,

    Thanks for this post. I totally related as a dad with two little ones. I’m in charge of the morning routine, and I’ve got to say that it’s taken me a couple years to get to a place where it is starting to feel relaxed. I sometimes have to remind myself that it needs to be me gently guiding and conforming to their needs, rather than the other way around. And I often forget that. I do, however, feel validated on those rare mornings when the wife is in charge of getting them up and off to school. I don’t say it, but I find myself thinking “yeah!see! It ain’t easy, is it?”. Anyway, new reader of your blog and I’m enjoying it. Thanks!

    • Welcome, Jody! Glad to have another dad blogger here. A couple of years seems about right! To be fair, my wife and I share morning duties. She’s getting his breakfast and lunch ready while I run around like a goober because I didn’t leave enough time to get ready for work. Thanks for reading!

  2. Such simple things, yet so easy to forget in the mad rush of life.
    Thank you for the reminders 🙂

    • Exactly! These things tend to slide as life happens. Honestly, this is intended as a reminder to myself as much as it is to others. Maybe more. 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Pingback: 100th Blog Post: 100 promises to my family | ... from the bungalow

  4. Pingback: Promises Guide: 1-5 (1/20) | ... from the bungalow

  5. Chris, I am so impressed with what you are doing with your 100 Promises (which were powerful in and of themselves) — but to see them put into action with refreshing honesty is so enlightening and helpful! This is good, good stuff. What a gift you have to share. Thank you for your openness and willingness to share your promises with the world.

  6. I am not sure how young or old TLP is, but I can tell you that I have the same problem. However, my “LP” is actually 18 years old. For the longest time, I would have him change or fix his clothing, until one day when I was truly so frustrated I didn’t know what to do, I just said, “well he’s dressed.” I let him go to school with clothes that didn’t match. As luck would have it, he came home and said nothing about anyone teasing him, but the next morning he dressed himself again. Ever since then, I let him handle it. Life is so short for children with special needs. For him, it is simply a life skill that he will have to manage. For us, it is embarrassing but not the end of the world. I used to let other moms dictate my parenting skills, but now, I say, “Whatever! I am a darn good mom who got their special needs high school kid to dress himself”! 🙂

    • Yes! I have let him go to school with pants on backwards before. He’s 9. Fortunately, I think his school does a great job of fostering understanding. It’s more important that he learn to do these things by himself to the extent that’s possible than to worry about how he looks. Thanks for your comments!

  7. Thank you for sharing the experience,truly beautifully written,inspiring and surely made me smile.God bless you and your family.

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