With back-to-school time just around the corner, I want to tell you the difference between my two children and their abilities to get themselves dressed. When I say, "Get dressed," to my seven-year-old, he puts on his shirt, pants, shoes, and socks very quickly and with limited reminders.
When I say, "Get dressed," to my nine-year-old, she sees the cat. She immediately forgets that she is supposed to be getting dressed. Instead, she finds Princess Zoom Zoom and scoops her up. She takes her to her room where she is then distracted by a speck on the floor. I look at her and say, "It is time to get dressed."
Her response is usually, "Okay. I am getting dressed."
I give her some more space while I go put my contacts in and return to see that she is still wrapped in her towel on the floor. "You need to find your shirt, pants, underwear, socks, and shoes," I say more specifically this time.
"I can't find my undies," is a normal reply.
"Have you looked in your drawer?"
"Oh," she says while opening the drawer and seeing a marker on top of her dresser. She picks up the marker and says, "Do we have any paper to color on?"
"Your job is to put on your undies," I say. I am starting to get frustrated, but have kept my voice calm to this point.
Finally, she grabs her underwear and slides them on. Before she can close the drawer she now sees her favorite book, Amelia Bedelia, and shoves it in my face with a plea of, "Please read to me, mom."
"It's time to put the rest of your clothes on," I snap, thinking why can't she just get the darn clothes on?
Through distractions of cats, books, toys (that are almost never played with aside from when she's supposed to be getting dressed), and random specks she may be dressed thirty to forty minutes after she's out of the shower.
I share this because one of my children has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), while the other doesn't. She can literally forget something within nanoseconds of me telling her to do it - and if something more interesting than getting dressed piques her attention - she will sway to it faster than a fly swarms to honey.
As we begin our morning routines of getting dressed for school, I have to remember that each step has to be broken down into the smallest, most microscopic steps for her. When I remember this, our morning routine of getting dressed is much, much easier.
Next goal: Getting from the house to the van without being interrupted by the cat, the dog, the speck, the random toy (that is only important when we need to head out the door), and the note that's been dropped on the floor.
Brandi Parsons is a freelance writer, book blogger, mom, educator, and authorpreneur. Her first book, Kidnapped Asylum, is now available. She is currently working on her first nonfiction book with a working title of Your Inbox is Full. If you're interested in Brandi's freelance services or to receive exclusive updates about her upcoming books, contact her here.