Get Out of the Way

As The Boy gets older, I fret about what he should be able to do, what he should learn so he can live as independently as possible. The Man and I know that he will be living with us for quite awhile (and to be truthful, I haven’t even considered him moving out to another, more independent situation yet), but we do a lot for him, and we need to stop.

When The Boy was little, he went to a lady’s house for daycare, and she was amazing. She was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and the lessons she taught him as a toddler still stick today. I will often find his socks in his shoes, as he was taught to do there at her house.I forget, sometimes, that I can teach those lessons that need to be taught, and they will stick because he is more of a sponge than I give him credit for.

It's not just laundryA couple of years ago, in an attempt to get him to do some chores, I tried to teach him how to fold and put away laundry. I still have him put it away for me (sometimes), but I do most of the folding. The other day, he happened to come into the living room the evening I was folding, and for some reason, The Man had turned Spongebob on – a rare occurrence. The Boy plopped on the couch, and I started handing him socks to match up. He not only matched them up, but balled them up the way I had taught him to do it. No prompting, nothing. He just did it, and with no complaint.

I must, must, must remember to get out of my own way, and provide him with these opportunities to practice and learn, and even allow him to help me a little. He just keeps getting older, darn him, and if I just let go a little, he will surprise me. I just know it.

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The Worst

Being a single mom and being ill has to be one of the worst things to experience on the planet.  Feeling like crap?  Well too darn bad because your child needs to you to take of him like usual, and a child with autism doesn’t have a whole lot of empathy for your situation.  As The Boy told me a few years ago, “You can’t always get what you want, Mom.  Just like the Rolling Stones said.”

One of the other worst feelings in the world has got to be the panicky feeling you get when you can’t find daycare for your child.  Or in my case, evening care.  When you’ve exhausted your lineup of babysitters, and you don’t have a choice to miss whatever it is that necessitates a babysitter.

Yeah, I’m feeling both of those right now.  It’s pretty far from my happy place.  But I’m hoping to spend the weekend recuperating from this cold, and coming up with some magic solution to my evening-care problem.

Calgon, take me away!

Mom!! Where is my _____??

The Boy is a slob.  You would think for a kid that couldn’t resist lining up Pringles and m&ms as a toddler, his room would have some semblance of order, but not so much.  This misplacing of things has been the reason for many, many a morning meltdown.  I have found that even when I try to predict every possible little thing he may need for school, something else will come up in the last two minutes before we need to be out the door (in order to get to school first, lest that spark a meltdown).  Whew.

Bins and organizers are not the answer.  I have a sneaking suspicion that The Container Store and IKEA do a great deal of their yearly business in January, when people decide that the only reason they are disorganized is because they don’t have enough BINS!

So, little miss Has-All-The-Answers, what is the answer??

Training.  Here’s how I know.  The Boy went to daycare as a wee one at a lady’s house, and loved her.  She taught him to put his shoes just inside the door, and pop his socks right inside, so they would be there when he wanted to put them back on to go outside.  He was there from the age of about 6 months to 3 years, and you know what?  To this day, he still does this with his shoes.  Ergo, finding a particular space for all of his things, and then using those spaces with lots and lots of repetition is the plan.

lined-up shoes

Of course, the purging of unnecessary and duplicate items comes first.  But then, it’s time for mise-en-place and repetition.  The other part of the game plan?  Buying multiples of the things he wears and uses most.  This means less laundry and hunting for me.

Any other tips for getting your child to be somewhat organized?  Share them in the comments.