Post by LeMira
This morning was another reminder of how out of tune I am sometimes with my son. This morning we had to go back to the school (he's been out for a week) for post-assessment with his Kindergarten teacher, his special ed. teachers, and the school counselor. After breakfast he went to his room for a few minutes, and then emerged and announced to me, "Mom, I can't get dressed."
I looked at him and told him, "You can do this. Go pick out some clothes."
A few minutes later the same thing happened, but this time, he was more frustrated. "Mom, I can't get dressed! I need you to do it for me. I opened the dresser."
At this point, I was confused, but also frustrated. I tried to be in tune to him, and I started asking him what to do first, second, etc. He responded, "Mom, I know that, but I can't do it. You need to come to my room."
I responded, "Yes you can; you're seven. Just go get dressed. Tell yourself, 'I can do it.'" Ten more minutes passed, and he came and sat next to me on the couch in his underwear. This time he was sobbing, "Mom, I can't get dressed."
I exhaled and followed him to his room. "I can't understand what's going on this morning." When I got to his room, the bells finally went off in my head. There it was. He had found a red polo shirt -- a school uniform shirt -- but couldn't find any school uniform pants. I had taken the pants and turned them in for the uniform exchange since he'll outgrow them by the end of the summer. He knew he had to go to school, but he didn't understand that he didn't need his uniform. He was confused at what to do. I was upset with myself for not catching on earlier and for dismissing his frustration. This entire episode took 40 minutes. I should have gone in earlier.
This dilemma reminded me that I have a good kid. If he says he "can't" do something, sometimes it's because he doesn't understand or something's confusing, and he doesn't have the words to tell me. Once in a while it's that he won't do something, or that the task is overwhelming, but a lot of times it's that he doesn't understand. Today was a reminder that I need to check out a situation before I just push him.