Each day that passes I learn something new from Michael. Sometimes it is the same lesson, over and over, like how as Mom I tend to not see his independence as quickly as Dad or the teacher do. Two weeks ago I got a nice surprise. Michael was getting ready for shower, annoyed that it’s bedtime (shocker, right?), and I was too. I love reading him a story, talking, doing massage, but was wishing he could handle his own shower. So guess who turned to me and asked that I leave the room THAT MINUTE
“Mommy, I can do my own shower. You can leave.”
I stood there dumbfounded. I have been seeing all his advances in reading, writing. He has started preparing his own snack and lunch. But this I did not see coming.
“Are you sure you can do it?” I ask.
Eye rolling ensued, but then on a serious note.
“I need you to turn on taps Mommy. I can do the rest.”
And so that is what I did. I also poured some shower gel on his washcloth and in his hand for shampooing and left the room. He washed himself and asked to stay in a few minutes longer. He finds it relaxes him now for bed! I was so impressed. Now I sit nearby and read while he showers, then help him blow dry his hair. After that I leave the room so he can dress, have his water and brush his teeth. Then we do the rest of the sleep routine together. It’s great parents! A new freedom for me, a new freedom for Michael. And I see how proud he is of himself.
I also have been slowly introducing chores and it’s going well. In the past, I have called them chores, and it did not go well. So now I say I need my little “assistant” to help. He loves helping and feeling useful. That is how the teachers are working with him at school. He is messenger boy and loves to be the one delivering notes and verbal messages. He is proud to be trusted and will say,
“I want to do a good job Mommy. I want my teacher to be proud. I want you to be proud.”
I realized recently that some of my worrying had been keeping Michael back. Now, he is my grocery and laundry assistant. Last year he helped me cook and soon he is as excited as me to be my gardening assistant. And guess what? He wants to start his own indoor garden. Chores and responsibility go a long way for exceptional children, just as for neuro typical ones.
Exceptional Parents, how often have you thought my child is not ready? Don’t worry. We’ve all done it. I find Moms are more guilty than Dads of this. It’s not too late to change that way of thinking and try new things with them. Don’t be afraid that they can’t. Instead experiment. Start with simple chores, activities. You’ll see the pride they will feel in helping you as you help them. Until next time.