Saturday, April 22, 2006
This week, my 13 year-old daughter had more than the usual number of "I forgot" responses. I think she really intends to do certain tasks, but if she doesn't do them at the moment she is thinking about them she forgets until they are brought to her attention again. Often, this occurs when we need to be heading out the door and she doesn't have the material she needs or the pets still haven't been fed or she didn't return a phone call and now there's not really time to do it. Earlier this week I was surprised to discover one of my daughter's friends in my living room. It's not unusual to have extra kids around the house, but this particular friend lives 4 hours away! My daughter had made arrangements through an email correspondence to have this girl come to our house for the day. Not only did my daughter forget to tell me about her plans, she herself forgot that her friend was coming that day. She basically lives forgetfullness as a lifestyle. When things like having a friend show up from out of town happen, it is a nice surprise for her. When she finds an overdue library book (and there are more of those than I want to think about) she thinks it's serendipitous because she can read it again. When the cat poops on the floor because the litter box hasn't been changed, she gets mad at the cat, even though she's been reminded to take care of the litter box repeatedly. I'll concede that there are definite advantages to living in the moment, but this frequent forgetting is happening at a time in my daughter's life when the stakes are still low. I worry about how she will do when she has more responsibilities. We've tried written schedules, visual charts, planners, verbal reminders, but she "forgets" to use them. I've thought about making it so that she has to take action as soon as something is brought up, because if there is a time delay she will forget. Somehow that seems a little disrespectful to expect her to drop whatever she's doing to do something else that needs done. Yet if I let her wait until she's finished with her activities, she's often moved on and become involved in something else and all other things have completely slipped her mind.