I am not, by nature, a patient person. But I've had a lot of practice recently.
And it takes a lot to think about it that way, to reframe. To not live in a state of "AUGH WHERE IS THE FAST-FORWARD BUTTON". I'm used to needing
to work fast, go fast, get things done now now now. But August was one long pause.
So I reframed. I slowed down. I have had a lot of impatience, still. But I made myself see this as a set of opportunities.
Elayna got a lot done this past week, especially, and that's partly because I was able to be patient and match her pace. When I'm cleaning, I tend to take multi-hour chunks and Do All The Things. She's easily overwhelmed, and needs to be able to pause and take breaks, sometimes needing a few days to do something that I'd do in a few hours. We have had, in the past, a pattern that helps no one: She lets things pile up into a towering insurmountable mess, I repeat "clean your room/desk" at her periodically for a few weeks, she can't do it because she's overwhelmed and can't figure out where to start, I end up snapping at her and Adam (who is very similar to her in this regard) and becoming Tyrant Mom because I cannot deal with the level of mess, and then everyone in the house is angry and miserable.
Part of the problem I've had with helping her is that she really needs someone in the room with her the entire time. Not to do things for
her, but to guide her. So this means days of me not getting any of my own stuff done, and days of standing in her doorway saying variants on "Okay, you spend a lot of time looking for $ITEM - where do you think would be a more intuitive place to keep it?" and "Do you still use $ITEM? Not since Georgia? Okay, let's donate that to charity." And every so often, she turns her pleading eyes up to me and, regarding some task, says "I just can't - can we do that part tomorrow?" and instead of saying "Dude, that will take 15 minutes, just do it
," I have to say "Okay."
And we made it work; I allowed her her own pace, and she did do the things she was putting off when she said she'd do them, which has classically not been the case for her. Her nightstand is clear and she can find things, everything is tidy, everything is in a sense-making place. Her desk is really clean and set up in a way that makes sense to her for the first time in maybe years, and she's working at it. We looked at a lot of options for managing her school stuff (her biggest problems: tons of messy notebooks, not writing down assignments, leaving projects til the last minute), and she settled on having a three-ring binder with a section for each subject, and using two of the homework/life organizing forms that grntserendipity
designed for her. (She's still carrying a spiral notebook as well, which I don't think is necessary, but it can be her security blanket. She's making a lot of changes. She's entitled.) We'll meet every Friday afternoon to go through her backpack and make sure her system is working for her. She decided that an hour of snack and decompression is sufficient, and thus she will start her homework by 4 every day. Also that she will begin big projects upon receipt, so she won't have that mounting dread as they come due.
This is my first downtime in over a month, this right now. It's the first time I'm not supervising Elayna or Adam. Lots of work is getting done around this house! Which is mostly because I have Been Sick for years, and only now am I well enough and have enough time to get things in order. Which is involving a lot of dismantling of layers of crud and bad habits. A lot. And doing so with a patience that does not come naturally.
I'm not starting my own new schedule today, because Adam's taking tomorrow off to help get Tor to the vet for her X-rays. (Which means tomorrow is a Get Stuff Done day like whoa; donating books to the library, calling local comic shops to see if anyone wants to buy a fuckload of comics, list stuff on Freecycle, et cetera
.) So today is an in-between day. I will do that hair treatment
thing, I will knit some hexipuffs, I will bake bread, I will answer a bunch of e-mails, I will write something non-novel-y, and I will take apart my closet (because I know
I have stuff lurking in there that I don't need).
Patience and slowness is hard. But I'm glad I was able to reframe this as an opportunity; it helped Elayna a lot, I think.