The race to re-solidify our routines, social, and self care skills is on as school starts up in a few weeks. It has been a baptism by fire of underwear untwisting, shoe putting on, button snapping, pre-k curriculum, and brushing up on our manners. This year's campaign shall be built on the platform "you're four years old now". I plan on milking that phrase from now until next August. It under-girds every task we're working on with Isaac. As in, "You're four years old. You can untwist your own underwear and put on your pants." Or "Four year olds use their words." Or "Four year olds put on their shoes or they don't get to go to the park." It's not that I haven't been working on these things with him all summer, but the urgency for consistency on my part has officially set in. We have just under three weeks to take as much time as needed during the day to get him to get his shoes on by himself. Preparing to leave for the library today meant three shoe tries before he got it right- only because he thought putting them on opposite feet was funny. Twice.
At some moments, I think the words "I can't" might send me to my mosquito infested back yard to voluntarily sign up for the West Nile Virus. But then the humbling words of my dad come back to me. Those words are "shoe team". I was a developmentally typical child and yet I had a "shoe team" every morning well into high school. The shoe team was made up of my parents tying my shoes while I sat on the stairs lethargically brushing my teeth. I knew how to tie my shoes, but I was ALWAYS a sprint away from missing the bus in the morning. The shoe team let me multi-task...or...be really spoiled. Either way, memories of shoe team make me simultaneously less worried and more consistent in honing Isaac's self-care habits.
For the sake of consistency, the egg timer is back in our routine. The egg timer has an authority that I somehow lack with my son. I can tell him literally 12 times to do something and he'll still be dancing in his own little world- pretending lego men are bumble bees. But if the EGG TIMER OF DOOM is set along with a not-empty threat about the consequences (no TV) of not being dressed by time it rings, he focuses as if he's dismantling a bomb. Every tick-tock makes him less likely to say "I can't" and more likely to try to squeeze on his almost too small socks. Which reminds me... OK socks are now on my shopping list.
Social and pre-school prep are also on the menu over the next few weeks. We are hitting up play group like it's our job, cruising the train table at the library for peer conversation, and flexing our educational muscles. I know I've mentioned it before, but I LOVE the pre-school prep games on www.nickjr.com . Among our favorites are:
I have to admit that these are a lot more fun and somewhat more effective than sitting down with a pre-school workbook for Isaac. I secretly hope you all are scurrying to get ready for school, too. I just don't want to show up with a lack of a sippy cup as our only summer accomplishment. It might be pride, but even members of the shoe team can have a little pride, can't they? Happy end of summer.