When Asher's preschool evaluation was sent home a couple of months ago, there was only one area where he wasn't absolutely age-appropriately perfect. Please don't take this as my way of sneaking in another round of bragging about my kid; you must remember here that he is repeating the four-year-old class, and everything from the craft projects to the daily routines to working on what is expected of four-year-olds is pretty much old hat to him. He's got it DOWN. Anyway, the one thing isn't too great at is following directions with three steps. I assume this is along the lines of, “Asher, clean up the books, then find your place at the table and start cutting out circles.” Which is not such a big deal, I mean, the kid is FIVE and I don't think I hit my multitasking/keeping things straight in my head peak until last year. (I'm plateauing, if you're wondering. I'm not getting any better at multitasking, but I'm not doing any worse, either.)
What I AM concerned about (and this is a personal concern, not anything I care about developmentally wise) is that I am dying to get to a point with these children where they can ANTICIPATE what I might perhaps will need them to do before we do something we do EVERY SINGLE DAY. Are you following me? By this I simply mean, when will there actually come a day when my child will put on his shoes in anticipation of the fact that we will be leaving for preschool at exactly 9:11? And YES, he has the exact time MEMORIZED, but apparently zero clue that leaving at 9:11 means we have to start doing things to get ready to leave WAY BEFORE THAT. And I know, that knowing it is 9:11 doesn't indicate at all that he has any real idea how time works or how long a minute really is or anything like that, but EVERY DAY we leave the house with shoes on and socks on and jackets on and backpacks packed, and yet, ALSO EVERY DAY, I am having to COACH these children through the routine. I pretty much have to stand over them and BARK ORDERS at them, and they STILL just run around playing Lion King until the absolute last minute, and trust me, they only know it's the last minute because I turn into... well, let's just say I get angry and I raise my voice. But I HAVE to, after speaking them in calm yet firm tones for the last 4,839 times.
Then when we finally get the front door open and walk across the parking lot to the car, I have to continue to remind them what to do. This is the really infuriating part, you guys. They don't even LOOK for where the car is parked. They just... WANDER OFF. They wander all the way down to the end of the parking lot, absorbed in conversation, just the two of them, which would be super cute, if it weren't so FRUSTRATING. And I'm all waving my arms around going, YOU GUYS, the car is ALL THE WAY OVER HERE! and they act surprised, like, OH! We didn't SEE it sitting RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE when we came out the door! This morning, in fact, they wandered out to the car (under my close supervision and direction), and then I had to run back into the house to grab my jacket, and so they just CIRCLED IT, in a single-file line, talking. I had to be like, DUDES, you can open the door and climb into your seats even if I'm not there to tell you to do it! But they don't hear me, because they're chatting; they wait until I am right next to them, OPENING THE DOOR FOR THEM, and even THEN, they don't climb in until I say Let's go! Or we'll be late! OH THIS DRIVES ME ABSOLUTELY BONKERS.
Honestly, I think this can be blamed solely on Lucy. I think if Lucy wasn't around to influence Asher, he'd be putting on his shoes and getting dressed by himself, without too much input from me. Throw Lucy into the mix, and Asher is just so happy to be with her that he cannot focus on anything other than continuing whatever game they're playing. And Lucy is my MAJOR wanderer - at three, I STILL carry her from the car into stores or school or church or wherever, unless I want a 25-yard walk to take approximately sixty-seven YEARS while she scans the ground excitedly for pennies (sometimes with a very professional-looking pair of binoculars) or exlaims over every weed ("tree") appearing in a crack in the asphalt. Not to mention that she is constantly - and I mean CONSTANTLY - carrying on long-winded conversations with herself, and I can't get a word in edgewise that we might need to hurry it up a bit or the people trying to park their cars are going to start HONKING VIOLENTLY AT US. She can't even HEAR me over the sound of her own voice!
Please also note that encouraging this child to hurry can result in her face meeting up with the curb.
I hear stories of other five- and six-year-olds who can be instructed to “get ready for bed” and who will walk upstairs, put on their pjs and brush their teeth before Mom and Dad come up to tuck them in. IS THIS TRUE? This cannot be true. I have to shadow my children while they walk up the stairs, while they choose their pajamas. I have to hassle them to remember to put both legs through their overnight pull-ups, to put BOTH PIECES of their pajamas on before they start running through the house and choosing before-bed books. Are my children the norm? Or are the MORE INDEPENDENT children the norm? I have no idea. I just know that I am doing whatever my children are doing, at any moment in time, and if I NEED them to do something, I have to manage the process myself until it gets done.
ON THE OTHER HAND, children who need to be shadowed and encouraged to do the next natural thing are NOT the kind of children who tend to sneak off and play with my makeup, or empty the trash all over the kitchen, or make giant messes in rooms I am not currently inhabiting, SO THERE IS THAT.