Trigger: Lack of Punctuality/ Time sense
For as long as I can remember, I have had this issue about time and punctuality. Annoying and to the minute, is how I was described by friends and family. You couldn't promise to meet me at 6:00 p.m and then show up five minutes late. It would really drive me nuts.
As a teacher, I felt this the worst. I used to see red when students of mine would saunter in ten or fifteen minutes late and cite traffic and laziness as reasons for delay.
Cut to a few years after marriage and picture me, the parent. The early stages of Gy's childhood were no problem. I couldn't care less about time and schedules, except when we had to leave for the doctor's clinic. Once she started school and other classes, that time-demon in me crept back in. Each day, I would watch the clock anxiously, foot tapping impatiently while she stirred her milk slowly with a spoon. I would snap irritably as she lounged over a meal, cutting it close to the minute when it came to leave for an event.
Once I realised that the trigger was not helping in any way and even impeding her speed, I tried to do things differently.
What do I do now?
- I befriend Time. If I know that she needs 9 hours of solid sleep to feel refreshed, I ensure she goes to bed by 9 pm the previous night.
- I plan for contingencies. It's likely that there will be a last-minute rush on some days, so I prepare some things the night before- Water bottle at the ready, school bag packed and set, clothes laid out.
- I delegate. Of late, Gy takes to the idea of doing things on her own, so I encouraged her by giving her small chores she could do such as checking her bag, counting the uniform items she needs for the day after, washing her own plate/ cup and so on.
- I set a timer. For some tasks, I make a game out of speed. I set a timer and ask her to finish the task within the timed setting. As of now, she is thrilled to wind it up and receive a smiley face and a star drawn on her arm.
- I wake up earlier than she does. Waking up early makes sure that I am in a good mood and ready to cajole her without frustration when it's time for her to wake. A good half- hour prior, I finish mundane tasks and sip on my morning cuppa so that I am ready to go!
In spite of all this, if Time works against us, I brush it off and tell myself that it isn't the end of the world. It's just the end of that hour.
And it works, for the most part. For the other days, well, there's always tomorrow.