Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Power of Underestimation

What, underestmation has a power now? Well, not in and of itself, but in the effects it has on those around it.

I have for a long time just 'done' the things that need to get done around the house... socks on the floor? I'll pick them up. School lunches need making? Puts one hand in the air, while grabbing lunchboxes with the other. Floor needs sweeping? I'll grab a broom, then the dustpan, and then the mop; and so on... oh, yes, you're a Mother too and you've also been there. So you know what I'm talking about.

Around a year-2 years ago we started giving the kids more chores, and just asking them to help out in general... except for Jono. I was happy if Jono was dressed for the day, had shoes on, had clean-ish fingernails, and got into the car happily for school. Because I was more concerned about just 'managing' to get to school and work on time, he got let off the hook a lot with chores and getting ready type stuff. What I didn't realise was how much of an impact this was having on all 3 kids.

It wasn't uncommon to hear Daniel say "how come Jono isn't/doesn't/wasn't". Daniel was seeing it as unfair that he had to do 'stuff' and help out, for a time we told him he was the oldest and just 'has' to do it... then Sarah got older and started helping too. Sarah wasn't too concerned as she has helpfulness built in to her genetic coding somewhere along the line, and for me I just wanted to 'get it done', especially when I went back to work and had to leave the house on time or risk my job, occasionally late - well that's ok, perpetually late... even if due to an Autistic boy having a meltdown, and my boss worked in the education system and involved in special needs children and having all the compassion in the world... it just didn't sit right with me, I had a time I needed to arrive and I wanted to make it happen... ahhhh commitments.

This week, the amazing happened.

Get ready.

You won't believe it.

Are you sitting down?

Jono packed the lunchboxes!!!

Are you amazed?

If you have a child with special needs I am sure you are dancing with me... I see you, doing twirls in your kitchen and a boogie step. If you don't then I guess you've stopped reading.

I couldn't believe it, he was around me in the kitchen, I had the lunchboxes on the bench getting them ready as I have every day for the past 'x' years, with absolutely no prompting, asking, or direction from anyone he wanders to the plastics cupboard and found for himself a water bottle, and a lid, filled it up, put the lid on tight and put it into his lunchbox. *close jaw now*

Then Sarah said, "get one for Sarah, Water bottle for Sarah", I told her don't worry, it's ok, he did a good job. Next thing, not only has he understood his sisters directions, but he knew what she wanted, and wanted to help out - back to the cupboard, grabs another bottle, and fixes it for her.

Then he stood beside me and waited. I had the next items ready to go into the lunchboxes, so I handed him 3 and he put one in each box. I get the next items and he does it again. He helped me get the rest of them ready.

Even as I write this I'm teary. He can understand things that need to happen to get ready for a day, he is capable of doing them himself, and it makes sense to him. He can help for other people and not just for himself, and he can do it without being asked. Wow!

So Daniel can not ask the 'why isn't Jono' anymore, and feel that he is being treated quite so unfairly with chores, Jono has just won himself a new job and Sarah, I'm sure will oversee Jono to make sure it's done right. All is well, all is very well!


  1. I almost cried at this post. This reminds me of my son, now 16, and the first time he began to "do" something. It is a magical moment when you don't realize you stopped breathing until you start again.

    Yes, I, too, did a dance for you and Juno. I don't know how old he is, but this explodes the world for you and him. So much more can be accomplished.

  2. Thankyou for your kind comments Judi, Jono is 8 and a half and the things they do matter so so much. It's hard to explain to my other kids why it matters so much to Mummy that Jono filled a water bottle... when they've been doing it for years. It's not just the action, it's the possibilities from the action, the understanding behind the action, and the future. But my kids rejoice too, they have a look in their eyes that shows pride and respect for their brother, and it's wonderful.