Today was a Tail Feather Shaker

Driving home from work this morning I received a call from Katherine.

“Mom, Wil is in the shower and he won’t get out. We have to leave in 15 minutes.”

“Ok, see if you can urge him out. If not, keep getting yourself ready and I’ll be home in 5 minutes. Has he eaten yet?”

“No.”

“Ok, what does he want for breakfast?”

“Sandwiches.”

“Ok, good, thanks. See you soon.” 

This is no new scenerio. Some mornings Wil hops out of bed ready to go, and other mornings take more time. We all have those kinds of mornings for whatever reason. The challenging part is, where we all understand the need for urgency, Wil could care less about urgency. Any rushing sets you 10 steps back. 

Not too long ago Wil would not get out of bed. Would not, no, no, no. Even with the most patience, he was stuck in a funk. He was moving so slow, that there was no way that he and his sisters wouldn’t be late for school. I convinced him to at least get in the car so I could take his sisters to school on time, it wasn’t fair for them to be late, and that the two of us would go back and finish getting ready. Even with that extra time, he still had a challenging day. Those funks can be hard to break for all of us. Consider having verbal delays where you are unable to express in words how you are feeling–this makes it all the more frustrating. 

When these halting mornings are happening, there are typically 3 key questions that need to be answered to anticipate the outcome in this situation: Is he staying in the shower out of independence? Or is it an act of defiance? Or is he simply enjoying the shower and not ready to get out?

If it’s the first one, he’s generally in good spirits and it’s simply that he wants to determine his shower time like most tweens and teens. With a little pleasant urging, he’s usually more than happy to get out and get ready for school. But if he’s rushed, this situation can easily move into key question #2. If it’s obstinance, its hands down being late to school. It means there is something bigger brewing under the surface and I need to find a way to help him get through it. This always takes time. Any amount of rushing and his heels will find a way to dig into that slippery shower floor and they won’t be coming out anytime soon. Giving him time and allowing him to regroup his emotions is the best way to get through this bump in the road. Question #3 is my favorite. Don’t we all like to linger in the shower a little longer? 

When I arrived home, sure enough, Wil was still in the shower. I pulled back the shower curtain. 

“Hi Mommy! Watch this.” He did a pantomime dive down the the base of the tub and started to pretend to swim. 

<Phew, no obstinance. Clearly he just wasn’t ready to get out of the shower>

“That’s really good you little fish! Hey, it’s time to get to school. If we move fast enough, you’ll still have time to eat one of your two sandwiches. You can take the other one with you(he loves to take his unfinished breakfast into school).” 

“Ok!” How do you spell relief? O-K! 

He stepped out of the shower, picking up his towel, held it in front of him, and shook his bare little tail feather in a dance. I wrapped the towel around him and he ran off still dripping water to his room. 

When I followed him into his room, I saw he had already picked out his clothes. His shirt, pants and underwear were all neatly stacked on his bed. Can you spell Independence with a Capital I?!!! 

We had five minutes left. I slapped together his sandwiches and he ate one while I put on and tied his shoes. I put the other in a tupperware dish to carry to school. 

“You’ll be able to eat one and take the other with you.”

“Ok!” Did I just hear the sound of music? So many ok’s at once, my heart overflows. Clearly this morning, he was ready to hustle and get off to school. 

We only left the house 3 minutes later than usual and the kids arrived to school on time. 

When halting mornings happen, I typically start them with questions. And when they don’t work out well, I ask more and more questions. When you are raising a child with communication barriers, the questions are necessary for everyone’s success. Some questions will never be answered, but many will–those answers help us take the next step forward. After many halting mornings where there were seemingly no answers, today was a resounding success. 

When I pulled back the shower curtain I did not know what I was going to get. To hear Wil’s uplifted voice say, “Hi Mommy!” was music to my ears. That swift 18 minutes this morning was a life-winning race. Today it feels like Katherine, Elizabeth, Wil and I are all wearing medals around our necks. 

Shake your tail feather to big, little victories! Onward!

 

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