Monday, October 31, 2016

Pick up your sneakers, I asked

There's a pair of sneakers lying in the front hallway. There's always something lying in the front hallway, smack where someone can trip over it or Ben can grab it and start nibbling on it.

Often, the item lying in the hallway belongs to Sabrina. She leaves stuff everywhere: her backpack by the front door (for the entire weekend), her discarded shirt on the couch, her half-eaten yogurt on the kitchen counter, her hairbrush on my bed, as I discovered when I lay down on it the other night.

Max, he doesn't leave things around the house (other than the occasional toy fire truck) because we take care of him. We carry his wheeled backpack up the stairs—it's too heavy for him—and put it away. One of us helps him get dressed and undressed, brushes his hair, serves him food.

Max pitches in here and there, sorting laundry and setting the table. He gets a kick out of helping me find my phone, which I'm forever misplacing. "Max, do you know where my phone is?" I'll ask, and inevitably he does. "Yes, Mommy!" he'll announce, gleefully, and he'll go off and find it for me.

It remains to be seen whether Ben has inherited Dave's leave-it-lying-on-the-floor gene. Sabrina didn't get that from me. (She did, however, inherit my carb gene.)

"Sabrina, could you put your sneakers away?" I ask.

"They're Max's," she points out. Oh, they are. Dave left them there when he took them off him.

I'm on the verge of asking Sabrina to put them away when I catch myself. This isn't her responsibility. Too often, used to doing things for Max and caught up in the whirlwind of the day, I neglect to ask him to help around the house.

"Max," I say, "can you come here?" And he appears, and I point to the sneakers and ask him to put them away.

"OK!" he says. And he bends down. He drops one a couple of times. Then he clutches them tight and walks off. I'm glad, and not just because he's picking up after himself. Although Max usually forgets to use his right hand, the weaker one, he's holding a shoe in each hand.

It's the little-but-big things.


  1. Great job Max for using both hands!

    As much as I try to not make my other kids do too much for my "special" one, I have to admit that I fall into the trap of having them do more of the household chores than he does (including the stuff he could probably learn to do), because it's easier to have them do it than to walk through the step-by-step process of having him do it. Sigh...file it under "work in progress"... - Alyssa

  2. Guilty as charged! Except my son (14) tends to make messes when not actively engaged. A behavior specialist and I have come up with a list of things that Luke will need to be able to do in order to live independently. Though I'm not sure he will ever be completely independent, we are aiming high and taking small steps. Putting his own things away is one of his jobs. One of the big concerns is doing things that could be unsafe. With Max this might be taking his backpack upstairs. With Luke it is add macaroni to boiling water and draining it when he is done. He knows how to fill the pan, put it correctly on the stove and turn the burner on. He can also set the microwave timer when I put the noodles in.

    As always, with Luke (and Max) it is one step at a time.

  3. We've been working on clean up with our two year old special needs daughter. We usually try and get her to crawl around the room and toss toys in bins, but I do find myself holding her far less accountable for clean up than her older brother.


  4. I'm the messiest person in the world. Do not room with me unless you don't mind mess. If you try to clean my things up, I will get mad.

  5. Taking care of yourself and independence is always a work in progress.


Thanks for sharing!

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