The last few weeks we have had major battles to get all three boys out the door, fully clothed and happy to go to school. There’s always been at least one throwing a fit and being tossed into his car seat without shoes on or just plain ticked off that he didn’t get to put his backpack on just-so, or he didn’t get to open the garage door, or any other number of terrible things. It has been a maddening experience!
This morning, it appeared Chase was going to be our grouchy one. He was starting to get whiny with me because I was refusing to get him dressed. I told him he was a big boy and could do it by himself. He continued to whine and complain and cry that he wanted my help. Suddenly, I had an idea.
“Chase, you can’t put your clothes on yet. That’s step 3! You have to do steps 1 and 2 first.”
He looked at me like I was crazy, but it got the whining to stop. Then he asked me what step 1 was.
“You have to take off your slippers first. That’s step 1.”
Chase: “What’s step 2?”
“I’ll tell you when you finish step 1.”
So off came the slippers and he excitedly asked what step 2 was.
“Taking your jammies off is step 2.”
Jammies flew off and he laughed and asked what step 3 was!
I bet you can see where this is going… Tyler and Jackson were suddenly intrigued with this “game” Chase and I were playing and they started asking me what step they were on and what their next step was.
When we hit step 6 Nick said “Did you just come up with this step thing all on your own?”. Obviously he was impressed with my moment of genius! He then requested that using the bathroom be a step because lately they’ve had to go the minute they get to school and it was annoying him. No problem! The beauty of the steps is that I don’t tell the boys what the next step is until they’ve finished the step they’re on.
Before I knew it we had finished 11 steps. All three boys were dressed, wearing shoes, had used the bathroom, had washed their faces, had their coats ready and were happy…. and they didn’t need to leave for another 10 minutes!
Yep. Moment of parenting genius. Too bad I don’t have those more often. I’m wondering now how long I can milk the steps thing for and what other tough tasks I could use it on…