Specifics

I had an English teacher who would say “Write as if you were describing something to someone who didn’t know anything about your subject”. I always thought that was great advice but I didn’t realize that I would be using it the most when it comes to having a 6 year-old.

Of course I don’t expect her to know the basics and it’s not like she read a life manual in the womb, although that would be nice. But, I never realized just how much I wish I could record my voice with instructions on how to do things because I always sound like a broken record, saying things over and over and over and over again.

I never realized just how specific you have to be with kids.

Wash your hands….. with soap! – I’m always calling this out to her when I ask her to wash her hands and she’ll say “I know!” in response but if I don’t say it and she comes back from the bathroom after she washed her hands, I’ll ask if she washed with soap. That’s when I get her doing the crumpled shoulders, the sigh, and her walking back to the sink to use soap.

The hummingbird still doesn’t understand the importance of washing her hands. She’ll come home from school and crawl around on her hands and knees acting like one of the pups from Paw Patrol while I make her a snack in the kitchen. I’ll say go wash your hands…. with soap and she’ll let me know she already washed her hands. When?, I’ll ask. After lunch, she responds.

Well, you need to wash your hands. Okaaaaay she’ll say. The bird will come back and I’ll ask her if she washed her hands. She says yes but I’ll quickly say “With soap?” Shoulders slumped, she walks back to wash her hands… with soap. Omg, can I start drinking at 3:30 in the afternoon? Are kids allergic to soap? Will I still be telling her this in 10 years?

The soap is right there by the handle of the faucet, yet kids seem to have selective hearing AND selective sight.

It’s right there! – It seems so simple. I’ll have my daughter picking up a mess she made and there will be something right by her foot or behind her, it’s always something close by. Enter selective sight. I’ll tell the hummingbird that the book she’s looking for is behind her on the floor near her left foot.

I’ll be in the kitchen cooking dinner and peek my head into the living room to tell her again. She’ll turn around and ask where. I respond with “On the floor, behind you, by your left foot. No, your other left foot.”

Where?, she says.

By your left foot.

I don’t see it.

Look down by your left foot. Now, look behind your left foot. Do you see it?

No.

It’s by your left foot…

That’s when I point to it.

Where?, she says.

It’s behind you, by your left foot. Right there.

There’ll be a confused look on her face.

I finally walk out of the kitchen, pick up the book, and hand it to her.

OH! There it is, she says.

*Facepalm*

You need to put the tissue over your nose when you blow. – My 6 year-old is getting much better about this now but in the beginning there was this whole thing about her trying to learn how to blow her know which I found hard as hell to explain at first. It seemed like something simple to teach. Just blow out of your nose.

She would be holding the tissue in her hand on her lap while trying to blow and I’d be like whoa, whoa, whoa! Sweetie, you need to put the tissue over your nose so you don’t blow snot everywhere.

Ick.

Bathroom manners and hygiene. – There have been museums I’ve gone to where an automated voice will activate as you’re walking into a room. And, that’s exactly what I need for our bathroom. A child cannot simply use the bathroom and boom, easy peasy. They have to make it a test of your patience and sanity.

Wipe, flush, wash hands… with soap! I say this countless times a day and feel pretty twitchy by the time she’s doing her bedtime routine at night. I’ll sometimes get ready for bed with her and guiding the bird.

Did you flush?

Yes!

She didn’t.

You did?, said with a questioning voice.

Oh, I forgot.

Can you flush, please.

And did you wash your hands?

Yes!

Really?, in my best suspicious mom voice.

Oh, no… I forgot.

Well, wash your hands….

With soap!

*Sara Bareilles

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3 Responses to Specifics

  1. Leesepea December 10, 2015 at 21:02 #

    Yes. Exactly. Every single day.

    Now multiply this by 24 and you have an idea of what it means to be a first grade teacher. 😆

    • Elle December 11, 2015 at 09:48 #

      I bow down to you for not losing your mind and hiding in a closet with a bottle of vodka every day. xo 🙂

  2. Jennifer December 14, 2015 at 09:01 #

    Oh thank God it’s not just my kids. I often find myself wondering if I’ve failed them early on somehow that I need to explain in great detail every step of their day.
    Jennifer recently posted..Serial Season 2 Episode 1 – DiscussionMy Profile

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