Whoever came up with the saying “as straight as the crow flies” never met my children. My kids have not caught on that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When it comes to getting from point A to point B, my kids will start at A, get distracted by a floating dust speck and veer off towards C, get captivated by a rainbow at point Q, follow the rainbow to point Z, forget what letter they were going towards in the first place and go back to A to start again, only to see that flipping dust speck again.
This is life in an ADHD household. Sadly, I am in charge of keeping them on that straight line and I often get distracted by that floating dust speck myself so sometimes staying on track is challenging.
One of the things I have tried to streamline (and have been somewhat successful with) is our morning routine. You would think if one gets up at 5am and does not have to leave the house until 8am, one would have plenty of time to complete all tasks and get out on time. Not in our house, which is why I’ve tried so hard to come up with a system that works. The amount of charts, lists, flip charts, and other systems that have failed are long and could probably be a post on its own. But through failure comes success and I am generally pleased with how our mornings go – except the getting dressed part. Most days go smoothly, but every once in a while, the kids still throw me a curve ball.
My kids have an aversion to getting dressed. I am not really sure why. It seems like a simple enough task – put on 4 items of clothing. Should take about 5 minutes. In my house, it can take up to 20….or longer.
Yaya (as my son calls his sister) is a Distracted Dresser. She cannot get on a piece of clothing without something distracting her. A mouse could fart in the next room and it would distract her from putting on her underwear.
This particular morning goes as follows:
Me: Are you dressed yet?
YaYa: Almost! (as she dances by me with just her pj bottoms on)
Me: Stop dancing and finish getting dressed or you are going to school just like that.
YaYa: NO! (and runs off to get dressed)
Second check in:
Me: Are you dressed yet?
YaYa: Almost! (as she runs by in just her underwear, wearing a power ranger mask and the boy right behind her with the hulk mask on)
Me: Get dressed now or you lose electronics for the day.
YaYa: No, mom! Please! I’m getting dressed!
Now I stand and watch her as she puts on her shirt. Then she slooowwlllyyy slides off the couch like Wild E Coyote after he got hit in the head with an Acme anvil. She attempts to put on her pants while she lays on her back between the coffee table and the couch. If a turtle was flipped on its back, trying desperately to put a pair of blue jeans on over his stubby legs, then you know what my daughter looks like.
Yaya: Can you put my socks on?
Me: No, you can do it.
Yaya: (starts to cry) I can’t get the bumps out!
Me: You put them on and I will help get the bumps out. (Thank you sensory processing disorder.)
After retifying the issue that she had on TWO pair of underwear, Yaya is finally dressed and its time to move on to the boy. The boy is a recent graduate of his sister’s School of Dramatic Arts, magna cum laude, so he takes an entirely different approach. That of the Dramatic Dresser.
Me: Dude, it’s time to get dressed
The Boy: (throwing himself on the ground, crying) This is the worse day ever!
(Apparently every day is the worse day ever since he does this EVERY DAY. And strangely, I somewhat proud of him since this is the only time he uses the helping verb “is” in a sentence. His speech therapist would be ecstatic.)
Me: get undressed now, please.
The boy: I don’t know howwwww!
Me: Start with taking your pjs and your pull up off.
The Boy: I can’t do it by myself!
(This coming from a boy who routinely strips naked and dances around in front of any reflective surface, yet every morning he is rendered helpless.)
Me: You can do it by yourself. If you don’t, you will go to school in your pjs.
The Boy: I SO ANGRY! (throwing his clothes to the ground and stomping off)
New tactic comes out: the timer. I set it for 10 minutes and inform him if he is not dressed by the time the buzzer sounds, he will not only go to school in his pjs and smelly pull-up, but he will also lose electronics for the day.
This news is usually followed by about 15 minutes of high pitched squealing like lambs being slaughtered, followed by a bout of uncontrollable crying, which I am then informed that he cannot calm himself down and he needs me to hold his hand to help him stop. This is also about the time that his sister feels the impulse to stoke the fire.
Yaya: Dude, stop freaking out. its so easy to get dressed. Just do it. (Why hello, Kettle. I’m Pot. You are looking mighty black today.)
The boy: Yaya! Stop talking to me! Mom, Yaya teasing me!
Me: Leave the room or you lose your iTouch.
Now that Yaya has made her departure and we’ve done the calming ritual, the boy has decided he will get dressed. Unfortunately, he has decided to do it in very SLOW motion. It takes all my strength not to pin him down and get him dressed myself, but I hold strong. I will not be beaten by a 4 year old……today anyways.
Dressing is complete – except Mom. Time to throw on my clothes from yesterday, slap on a baseball cap and get ready to head to the bus stop. On the days I do get to take a shower, I am often not recognized by people. Sad, I know.
7:45am – bus alarms sounds. I’ve built in an extra 15 minutes because when ever Yaya hears the alarm, she is thrown into a panic that we will be miss the bus. We’ve never missed it yet, but that does not quell the panic each morning.
Shoes on, coats on, panic subsided – we just have to grab our backpacks and walk up the street. Oh look, a floating dust speck……Damn!