“Michael, is everything ok? It’s time for your shower?” I was calling to him from the living room couch to his bedroom. He had gone in to get his pajamas and shower stuff in order to start his bedtime routine.
“Michael, are you feeling alright”
I had learned that if he was upset with me he would usually answer right away in a negative way, and I was worried that maybe he wasn’t feeling well. He could have had a low blood sugar due to his diabetes. He would not have a lot of energy.
“I’m fine Mommy. I’m cleaning my room.”
I almost fell off the couch! My son, who was one of the messiest kids I knew, was cleaning up his room. I was both amazed, excited and annoyed. He chose to do this at his bedtime. Sigh.
“Michael honey, that’s great. But you can continue tomorrow. It’s bedtime soon.”
“But I want to be able to find things. I know it’s getting late. I’m almost done.”
He cleaned one section of his room, and then did go to do his shower. Still, one of the things I worry the most about Michael, after how he controls his anxiety and anger, are his organizing skills. Yet, here he was showing me how capable he was of handling things on his own, trying to manage something very hard for him-executive function skills. I was embarrassed that though I truly believed in my child’s potential, there are times I underestimate him. I always try and encourage him, remind him of his strengths, and believe in him. He is so strong, can handle so much. Much more than me for sure. Yet, I still make this mistake sometimes. Parenting is hard work and when your child has challenges, it is easy to get caught up in a lot of stress and turmoil.
I’ve had other moments in my life when Michael has surprised me happily. Each time I say I will keep an open mind and do for a few weeks, but then the stress of life happens and I forget to honor my promise to remind myself that my son is doing the best he can all the time, even when he is having a hard time. This is when he needs me to be at my strongest. And if I’m not, that’s ok. It just means I have to learn from the experience, be gentler with myself so I could be gentler with him too.
Exceptional Parents, when has your Exceptional Child surprised you? In most cases it was probably when you least expected it. Always keep an open mind. Don’t listen to what categories other people may put your child in. You know their uniqueness and quirks. Go with that, and always believe in them so they can continue to believe in themselves. Until next time.