So I decided to make a change in the way I squeeze the toothpaste tube.

For several reasons.

One, being that by the time the tube is halfway done, it looks mangled and is very difficult to get the toothpaste from the bottom half of the tube through the crushed middle of the tube onto my brush. Two, in addition to the above. I also seem to forget to put the lid on the toothpaste. So I thought I would remember that better if I did the first thing

Yes, it is true, I am a one of those people.

So with great resolve I opened a new tube. Put it on the bathroom shelf and the proceeded with my day. I then went to brush my teeth, grabbed the tube and completely forgot my new plan and squeezed THE NICE NEW TUBE right in the middle.

As I sat and looked at what I had done, I started to think about habits, routines and just how hard they are to adjust or break them.

I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to change a habit. I can say, in my opinion, it can be even longer. Looking at my new crushed tube of toothpaste makes me think this because after all didn’t I JUST put it there and resolve to change my bad toothpaste crushing ways?

I tell that whole story to you because it makes me think about habits and my daughter, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, for those who don’t know, has global dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder (SPD). She has worked so hard in the life each day because her disorders affect each day and all she does. Her global dyspraxia is a motor planning disorder that makes it hard work to learn a new skill and sometimes complete a skill that is already known. It also makes it so easy to form habits but so very, very difficult to change them.

So the one thing we have learned is to make sure that the information on how to do something gets in and processed correctly the first time because once the habit is formed…well…good luck to all as we attempt to change them.

So if it 21 days for those who are neurotypical, I would be hard pressed to say how many days it is for Elizabeth and others who have special needs.

This is for habits. But what about just some slight changes that we all adjust to after a few days. Like a new place that you decided to put your purse or say a reorganized closet that leaves you headed to the place you USED to get your socks from for, say a day or two, until you remember you moved them to the OTHER drawer. Then you remember and don’t go to the old place.

But for our children, those little changes can still be challenging. I share this because sometimes I forget that and forget to take some time to go over them with Elizabeth to make sure they get in right the first time. Remember that whole habit thing?

Well guess who didn’t? Yep this girl right here.

I watched a Youtube video on how to clean and organize your pantry. Well I did. And since I love to organize things ( Like REALLY love to organize!) This spread to every cabinet, closet and nook in our home.

It was fun and everything looks so nice ( for a while)

But then I noticed that the plastic containers are laying on top of the pans.

Why because I moved the container cabinet.

And only quickly showed her the great new clean kitchen areas.

Not really working with her to process the changes.

So day 2- plastic on pans again

Same with day 3, 4 and 5 and this is after I showed her.

HABITS!

Made and hard to unmake for Elizabeth.

So now I told her to put the plastic on the counter and we would put them away together.

This is to help her process it better.

Oh and for the record the plastic was not the only thing that was put in its old place.

So I think the take away from this story is that the little things can be big things for our kids and that remembering that ( this is to me too!) as well as what we need to do to help them adjust is the best way for success.

Will I straighten and clean again? That is big YES! But when it has a lot of change in it, I will remember what Elizabeth needs.

Not a bad thing to remember as life changes in both little and big ways.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes In Herself