Ask. Rinse. Repeat.
My daughter, you just have to know that before having a child with ADHD I always said I was the type of person who hated to repeat themselves. But now, we have a process. Repetition is a daily nuisance that should be low on our list of concerns in the grand scheme of things but it’s not. Not to me. I can’t change that fact about me just because it’s something I have to do now.
I try to be the fun mom. I try to do crafts and play. I try to tell jokes and laugh at yours even when quite frankly, I just don’t get the punchline. I try to say yes as much as I possibly can. But I can’t always do it.
I know that it will take us three times as long to get small things accomplished. I know that using a soft voice and resisting the urge to yell when I become frustrated at the lack of progress we’ve made to get out the door will be more effective. I know that you can’t help it. I know it’s not your fault and the best thing for both of us is for me to reach down and meditate on my inner patience. However, I can’t always do it.
I can’t always repeat myself over and over again without the irritation starting to become apparent, and you hear it. Even at only five, you can hear it. You asked me the other day “why did you say that in a mean voice?” Did I? I didn’t intend to. I honestly didn’t intend to. I was answering another barrage of questions that I was only half listening to and you caught me. I’m so sorry that you caught me.
I ask something simple, something all parents ask on a daily basis such as “go put on your shoes.” I wait patiently. I’m supposed to be letting you do it yourself now. Deep breaths as the urge to ask why you’re not back yet with your shoes on comes over me after almost five minutes passes.
Then we get to the ten-minute mark. “Do you have your shoes on.”
No, you don’t. I hear you run towards your room again. Maybe this time we’ll get it. Five more minutes go by. Deep breaths in and out. I want to yell at this point but I’m not supposed to, right? I’m supposed to guide, to lead by example. That P word again, patience. Find my patience. I get up to check on the progress. No shoes, but there is a new tower of books being created at the foot of your bed that wasn’t there before. I will be impressed later but right now I’m irritated. Right now I have to keep repeating myself. Right now I’m struggling to not raise my voice but I can’t always do it.
“Put your shoes on.”
Shoes finally go on one at a time, on the wrong feet.