Sunday, January 5, 2014

Help Yourself

The other day, in the midst of holiday chaos, Kingsley dripped something on his shirt. This upset him. He wanted a new shirt. I was busy. 

Before that moment, the ridiculousness of such a scenario had never occurred to me. I (we all) had just fallen into that dreaded trap I swore I would never let happen: we were babying Kingsley. At that moment of frustration and annoyance, I looked at my nearly-four-year-old boy and said the most obvious thing...

"Go get it yourself." 

Despite the fact that we had built a completely accessible home, with an accessible bedroom, with an accessible closet that had low shelves and racks that he could access, I had just never before let him get his own shirt. How silly of me. 

That day, I showed him how to open his closet, pick a shirt, and take it off the hanger. Something my girls could do by the time they were two years old. 

Then came the next conundrum: he couldn't take off his shirt. Or put on the new one. I've been talking about teaching him how to do this, but always said I didn't know HOW. How do I teach a kid to put on a shirt while he's sitting on a chair? Enough wondering, we started working on it, figuring it out together. 

Today, Kingsley took off his PJ top and his undershirt all by himself. He was proud. I was proud. Another random milestone. 

My kid took off his own shirt. 

Who would've thought something so simple would give me so much joy? 

Next on our list is brushing his teeth. More excuses from me: he can't reach the sink. We brush his teeth while he's having other things done. It's another thing I have to stop and do everyday, but it will be worth it. And, really, it's past time for this stuff. 

So, I put him in his wheelchair, put a cup of water and his brush and paste on the counter and let him go. He dips his brush, opens the (Thomas, fluoride-free) toothpaste, puts some on the brush, then closes it. We each take a turn brushing, then he rinses the brush in the cup, lines everything up and carries on with whatever we're doing. He loves it. 

He's also able to be more independent in the bath, now that they aren't power-baths, trying to get him clean in the 30 seconds before he poops ;) We have time to let him wash his own body, help wash his hair... Basic stuff. Important stuff. 

Kingsley is turning four soon. Very soon. Time to let him grow up. 


  1. sometimes I wish there was a like button for blog posts!!

  2. Ya know Caleb is 8 and I am constantly seeing things that I do for him when he could very well do it himself! Really I do things for Benjamin too but there are things that I expect of Benjamin but don't of Caleb. We really started buckling down about a year ago with expecting Caleb to do more and it has gotten better but I still see things that he could be doing so I make a mental note to work on one thing at a time.

  3. Wow, such big milestones! Way to go Kingsley! No doubt you (and your momma) should be proud! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I worry a lot that I'm babying Simeon. It's difficult since he's my first child I have no frame of reference and no idea what other kids his age are doing for themselves around the house. This was a great reminder that I need to encourage him to "get it himself" a little more often!

    Also, I would LOVE to see a picture of his closet if you ever have time. I'm curious what an accessible closet looks like. Maybe you could post about it-- ya know, in all your spare time! :)


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