The older Faith gets, the more she wants to ‘help’. One of my primary goals in raising Faith is to make her more and more self-sufficient. She is learning something new all the time. And it’s clear that she, like the rest of us, want to feel accomplished.
The problem is when she is mommy’s assistant, it usually means more work for mommy. And that’s ok (kinda). How else is she to learn, if not through messes and mistakes? Isn’t that how we all learn?
Pictured here, she is watering the little garden we recently planted. I used it as a home-schooling Science lesson that day. (Most of us are homeschooling these days, so try this with your kiddos.) We talked about plants needing sunlight and water to grow. She listened intently and was totally into it. She helped put the potting soil in our planter, insert the mini plants and seeds. She really showed an interest and as we go about our day to day I’ve learned that she thoroughly enjoys ‘doing’. She likes anything hands on.
The potting soil was ALL over. I think more was on the porch and the ground than actually in the planter. Some plants got a gallon of water while others just a few drops… lol. It’s hard for her little hands to control pouring (maybe because of low muscle tone or just a learning curve). I just said, “Oopps. That’s ok.”. Faith gets very upset when there is a spill. To this day, I don’t know why and wonder if anyone ever ‘yelled’ at her for making a mess. I subscribe to the theory of “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
There are countless stories of similar chores. I’ll only share a couple more to give you the big picture.
Faith LOVES housework. Woo-hoo! Thank You, God! 😉 Her teachers have always said she thoroughly enjoys her Life Skills class. I’m so grateful for classes like that in school. As a teacher and a mom, I believe all kids, whether with special needs or typical children should have a Life Skills, Home Ec. type of class. All children need to develop skills to function and take care of themselves every day, now and in their future as adults.
So every time I clean, Faith ‘helps’. If I get the vacuum, she shuts her kindle fire and comes over to push and pull. If I’m dusting she wants her own rag to wipe surfaces clean. Emptying and loading the dishes? She is there! I’m glad there are such activities to get her to ‘unplug’ so to speak and give her device a break. I admire her enthusiasm. It reminds me of when I was young, helping my mother dust or set the table. She always played music, usually Billy Joel, Donna Summer or Hall and Oats (yes, I know, I just dated myself… lol). We always sang and danced around like fools, but we got the chores done and it always had fun. So as a mommy myself, I often blast music and Faith and I sing and dance around while cleaning. No, she doesn’t vacuum correctly, but I teach and explain without saying it’s ‘wrong’. Yes, I worry that she’ll break things when she dusts, but they are however just things. I remind her she must be careful and praise her for trying. And she may not reach the cabinets to put the dishes away but I have her pass them to me, which saves my back, so it works!
Yes, chores take twice as long this way. Yes, it’s more work for me. No, it’s not easy. But let’s face it, not much in life is… especially for Faith. My goal is to help her learn from her mistakes, to never be afraid of trying something new, and to stick with a task, even when it’s difficult, no matter how many mess ups you make. Isn’t that our intention raising our special babies? I believe so.
So to all the other ‘Special Needs Moms’ out there, you are doing a terrific job! Keep the ‘Faith’ 🙂