I’m sitting here at the computer and keep hearing an alarm going off. I can’t figure out what that beeping noise is. Lily opens the bathroom door, damp, wrapped in a towel, carrying her alarm clock. She turns it off. I ask her why the alarm was beeping. She tells me breezily that she set an alarm for herself, so she’d know to get out of the shower in 20 minutes. She skips her naked, skinny self out of the room. It takes me a second to absorb what she just said. I replay it a couple of times in my head.
Only certain people will know why that little scene is completely amazing. I didn’t have to remind my twice exceptional ADHD daughter that it was time to get in the shower–7 times. I didn’t have to make my voice sound sharp the 7th time in order to spur her into action. I didn’t have to poke my head in the bathroom door and tell her that it was time to get out–3 times and 45 minutes later. I didn’t have to finally go in the bathroom, push the shower curtain aside and find her squatting on the shower floor, captivated by how the water runs down the drain. I didn’t have to remind her again that she needs to get out, so she’s startled out of her zen world of water rivulets and insists that she WAS getting out.
No, she brought her alarm clock down to the bathroom, set her alarm, got in the shower, washed herself, got out of the shower and dried off, before her alarm went off—all on her own.
How did that just happen? Did her frontal lobe just suddenly have a growth spurt. I have this strange feeling, like this weird recognition of a foreign world.
When you live with a kid like this, sometimes you don’t realize how much different daily life is. You just know that it’s hard. What? You mean, other parents don’t have to tell their kids the exact steps required for a task 20 times and then follow up to make sure that they’re actually starting the steps, continuing the steps and completing the steps?
As far as the magical shower alarm incident goes, my mind wonders if that’s how ‘normal’ kids act. Is that how much easier things are for the parents of ‘normal’ kids? Wow, it feels so light and airy and effortless. She has the idea that she should take a shower, she plans the steps and completes the steps, ALL BY HERSELF? I want some more of that. I’m still replaying it in my mind and I’m amazed by the ease of it. I don’t want to let it go, I guess because I know that moments like that are, right now at least, a special treat.