God had such a great sense of humor. He gave me a child that did absolutley nothing like the brother that came before him 19 months earlier.
They didn’t eat, sleep or play the same way. Nothing.
My favorite Paul trait is his beautiful distractability. Yes, I said favorite. We share it, so I understand completely.
He was in Kindergarten. Max was in First Grade. My daughter Grace was 1. My school mornings were slightly on the crazy side, but Paul always seemed to throw me for a loop all the time.
They were attending a Catholic school with a strict uniform policy. Pre-K uniforms were simple. Kindergarten proved to be a mothering challenge for Paul and me. Max was in Kindergarten the previous year. Why I thought that Paul would respond to the same “getting dressed” in the morning routine, I don’t know.
Kindergarten had three different uniforms. Three in five days. The trick was to always remember which uniform for which day—for both mommy and kid. Another kid trick is to, in Paul’s case, was to get dressed at all……
“Paul, now that you are done with your breakfast, go get dressed,” I would say lovingly with a whispery, soft tone (not).
Paul’s translated that statement into….
“Paul, now that you are done with your breakfast, please wander around your room and the house, doing whatever crosses your mind until I start yelling at you 5 minutes before it’s time to leave and wonder what on earth happened.
Oh yeah, go put on a cape. Fly around the house in your underwear. Wait, Legos sound fun.”
Then, he would think, “Whoa! Why is she yelling at me? Shoot. I’m in trouble.”
Max? Oh, he’d just show up at the door ready with teeth brushed, hair combed and dressed in the correct uniform. Hence, the complete frustration with Paul. Paul made him look good—-with no effort on his part whatsoever.
He would say…
“I don’t know what to wear!”
A small picture book with the days of the week, in order, with adorable pictures taken of Paul in each get-up helped me say….”go look at your uniform book!” It helped him. It helped me. Those pictures make me smile so much now.
“I can’t find my clothes!”
Well, that was a mommy department. I had to make sure that clothes were in a predictable place (rather than wrinkled and cold in the dryer). That took me a ridiculous amount of time for me to learn.
I settled on a COMPLETELY separate place for school uniforms—from where they were put when they were dirty deemed the laundry basket, to yet the other basket, the clean laundry basket. This included socks, shoes, ties and belts. If it was navy and white, it belonged in one of these baskets. Their dressers and closets were for everything else.
I also put the child within my range of sight. If I couldn’t see them getting dressed, then they probably weren’t. It’s a basic principle of children getting dressed that doesn’t change until they start getting modest.
“I didn’t know what time it was!”
Clocks are in the most bizarre places in my house, but one of the most important is in the bathroom. Time seems to get flushed down the toilet in the bathroom. One that is visible from the shower, on the counter and near the toilet area. There is no excuse for not knowing what time it is in my house.
Oh, and please don’t worry about Paul. He’s a senior in high school. He rises to his own alarm, showers, eats breakfast and gets to school on time 99.99999% of the time. Max would later struggle getting out of bed as a teenager. Funny how that worked out.
I use everything I learned with Paul on his little sister, Grace and brother, Luke. That’s the glory of having this many children.
I quit trying to fit my kids into places that they simply won’t fit. Rather, I try to fit the environment around the kid. They have less stress and I know that even though capes and Legos are somehow fascinating at 7:00 A.M. in the morning, we will make it.
Round or square? I just don’t care anymore. For that, I am most thankful.