The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Need some help here

on December 19, 2013

My daughters are opposites of each other in a lot of ways, but one way in particular has been the source of a lot of angst around our house lately.

Pick a time – as we’re leaving the house, as we’re coming home, as they’re getting ready for bed – there are things that need to be done. I rattle them off, I make sure they know what is expected of them. Please hang your coats on the hooks, set your lunch box in the kitchen, and hang up your backpack. Caden is like clockwork. Coat hung, lunch on the counter, backpack in her room. Done. She does it immediately, then races off to play.

Delaney gets distracted. Inevitably I end up telling her each step 15 times, by the end I’m yelling and beyond frustrated. I have tried being patient, I have tried gentle reminders, I have tried one step at a time. But Delaney moves at the pace of her very own drummer and cannot be rushed, nor focused. Last night she accused me of being the meanest mom ever, told me I need to give her a second chance, and that I just need to be patient.

I’ll give her this, I could probably be more patient. However, dragging these activities out just isn’t an option over and over.

And honestly, I get where she’s coming from. I keep detailed to do lists because as soon as I walk away from something, I forget what I was going to do. But knowing that, doesn’t help me deal with Delaney.

And so dear internets, how do I handle this? I would very much like fewer tears and fewer arguments.

4 responses to “Need some help here

  1. Bobbi says:

    Erin how about a simple checklist for her so that the verbalization is out of the picture and she is able to see what she needs to do…or put the steps on recipe cards?

  2. Sarah Mae says:

    I was also going to suggest checklists–picture ones if she isn’t able to read the words. Clear step by step pictures of what she needs to do, for example, when she walks in the door after school. It helps if the last step is some kind of motivation–like if she has to put her backpack, coat, and shoes away and get out any paperwork/homework from school and THEN and only then she can have a snack–or whatever. She may still do things slowly, but she will learn that she is responsible for getting them done and the sooner, the better.

    I am not a mom, but I do have a degree in elementary education. I’ve been reading a blog for a while that has a lot of wonderful posts about things like this. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. The main URL for the blog is: and the post that reminds me of your post is:

    Obviously there are times that letting a child go at his or her own pace such as when they need to get to school, but I love the way that mom explains what prompted her to stop hurrying her child along–when appropriate.

  3. We have a checklist on the fridge… obviously we have it bc of Alex’s ADHD. But the reason they do it with ADHD kids is because it helps them create structure when they are unable to create it themselves.

  4. Stacy says:

    When ours were yours age, they had a visual (picture) chore chart. Their chores included things like “Brush your teeth”, “Get dressed”, etc. Very, very basic stuff, but they only got to check them off if they did the item without being asked or told. The checks were tied into their allowances. So many check marks were required as part of their contribution to the family, so many additional gave them $1, then $2, etc. They could earn up to $3/week – which was huge to them. It was designed that they would get $2 most weeks – $3 required exceptional behaviour.

    I also gave discretionary checks for excellent behaviour or going above and beyond.

    There are apps that can help track this, too!

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