My Darling Dawdler

imageThe child who turned me into a mom, the one who is teaching me more and more about myself and what I never knew I was capable of, my darling firstborn, is a dawdler. I find myself repeating over and over and OVER how slow she is. Yes, in frustration and to her slow-moving back or the top of her equally slow-moving head as she SLOWLY puts on her shoes, socks, or tiara.

My mom and friends say it’s karma because I too move slowly or at least used to. And of course this frustrates me because it’s not like I did it on purpose back then, it was just how I was. But what drives me even crazier is that now I have to rush her because:

1. She needs to sleep early to get to school on time. If she’s late for school or any other class/event/whatever, she’s upset.

2. She won’t grow if she doesn’t get enough sleep! She may even get sick. I want her to get enough hours of sleep and this means sleeping early – so this means rushing her to finish whatever she’s doing to do just that! But how do I do this if everything is done in slow motion or with unending distraction?

3. She doesn’t have her own sense of time. I don’t know if this is because I’m always trying to stay on top of her or because she’s six or because she’s just that way. I gave her a watch to wear but she kept taking it off and now it’s lost among her stuff.

So I’m eternally frustrated.

I read the Hands Free Mama post on never saying “hurry up” again, and I tried it, but how do I do that with school, with appointments (she has more than I do!), and with Tammy who also needs my attention so I can’t always be on top of Addie’s schedule?


Then while cleaning out her bookshelf, I found an Arthur book. And it was about Arthur being so slow. So slow that everyone fondly made fun of him, so slow that everyone had already found all the jellybeans and he was still hunting. But in the end, because he was so slow, he still won the trophy because while everyone was waiting for him, they ate their jellybeans so Arthur ended up with the most jellybeans.

This story did not sit well with me. Why celebrate slowness? Why make it okay? It’s not!


But that’s not the only story that does that. So does the one about that rabbit and tortoise. You know the one.

So maybe there’s something wrong with me. Maybe the problem is our frenzied world. Maybe slowness isn’t so bad. There might be a reason why she’s this way and I just don’t see it now. The most I can do is give her a schedule, try not to say “hurry up” so much, but get her started earlier than usual. It just means more vigilance from me. Less distraction. I just have to be on the ball more.

If this is karma, then I’m truly paying for my past sins. And Addie will eventually pay for hers. But right now, I don’t want her to feel bad about herself. I want her to learn earlier than I ever did that you can live in this fast-paced, frenzied world and still be slow. You just need to start earlier than everyone else.

I’m already tired just thinking about what lies ahead of me. If you have better ideas, please let me know. But as of this moment, this exhausted, sleep-deprived mother cannot think of anything else. It’s a wonder I’m still thinking at all! And I actually feel a sense of hope. Who knows? It might work.

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