My son drives me crazy, insane, completely over the edge. He seems completely incapable of focusing on any task for any amount of time, no matter how small. I don't know if he has this issue because he's four, because he's a boy, because of something I did to him, because of something I didn't do to him or for some other reason I can't think of.
This morning it took him 20 mins to eat one container of yogurt. One of those little single serving cups. Yeah, 20 mins. He talked and talked and talked and would only take a bite when I directed him to do so. Then we moved upstairs, where I asked him to get dressed. After 10 mins I went into the room, only to discover that he had not yet even removed one piece of his pajamas and was standing there talking to Talia. After I lost my patience and told him that I was picking his clothing for the day since he didn't seem to be able to, he got dressed. I asked him to go downstairs, get his shoes and bring them back up to put them on. So he went downstairs and got his shoes. He then proceeded to untie them, hold the ends of the laces together and perform some sort of physics experiment involving dangling the shoes and swinging them!!!! So I reminded him of what he was supposed to be doing....and he got one shoe on before he was distracted by what Talia was playing with and took it from her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOLY GODDESS OF MOTHERHOOD PLEASE GIVE ME PATIENCE! What the hell am I supposed to do?!?!?! That wasn't even it for the day. This evening I went downstairs to feed the cats. I asked him to take off his day clothes, put them in the laundry basket, get dressed for bed and begin to brush his teeth. (Adam is gone so I'm EveryParent.) When I got upstairs he had his pajama pants on and was hitting Talia with the top, his dirty laundry was in the middle of the floor and he hadn't even gotten started brushing his teeth.
I am completely tired of reminding him once, twice, ten times to do something or finish a task. I honestly do not know what to do. The other day, Adam was taking him to a birthday party and came in half an hour before they were supposed to leave. I said, "Why are you in so early? You don't have to leave for another 20 mins." He said "Who am I taking? Isaac. He won't be ready until the last moment." And it's true. It took him 20 mins to get his clothes changed, shoes on and out the door. BLARGHGHGH.
So here are the options I've come up with:
Setting a timer - This seems arbitrary and difficult for a child who doesn't understand what five minutes is. Though he might get a quick idea of what five minutes means. But what happens when the timer goes off and the task isn't accomplished? Beatings? Push-ups?
One reminder, then consequence - You get one reminder, if the task isn't done there's a consequence. So if he doesn't get ready in the morning, we leave the house w/out him. If he won't eat breakfast, the kitchen closes and he goes hungry. He doesn't get ready for bed in a timely manner, no story.
Sitting with him and harping on him - This totally sucks. I don't have time/energy/volition to do this. And I can't put him in a white room, with no distractions and no noise. And truth is he'd probably just distract himself with a good imaginary story and singing to himself.
I don't know if this really covers it. I've racked my brain about what to do. I know for sure that I am absolutely tired of harping and harping and harping. I give him plenty of time to do what he needs to do and he just will. not. do. it.
Writing this was supposed to give me more ideas. Or at least help me process. But I'm just as befuddled as before. Oh well. We can just hope the Godess of Motherhood blesses me with lots and lots of patience while I'm sleeping tonight, otherwise I may loose my mind tomorrow!