The girls have a lot of activities. A lot of bags that need to be packed very specifically. And a lot to remember.
This, most of the time, feels like I need to have multiple bags packed and ready to go at any given time. It gets overwhelming. Dance bag, backpack, purse, car bag...it's a lot.
There were a few days last year when it hit me that Madison needed to start taking responsibility. Madison danced 3-4 days a week last year. Some days she needed her prop for her solo, some days she needed all her shoes, some days she needed a snack. She has a dance bag that can easily hold everything and it hangs on our hooks by the garage entrance.
Because the prop was on the bigger side, I took responsibility for that one. I also packed her snack.
Yet there were two days when she showed up completely unprepared. Once, I had decided to be on top of things, and I packed her snack early. She went into her bag, assumed it was from the previous class, and ate it. During break, she didn't have anything and it made her crabby. One day, she hadn't looked in the bag. She had taken out all her shoes to practice, and never put them back. When we got to the studio, twenty five minutes away, and she realized her mistake, she was incredibly upset. Understandably so. She may be young, but she's passionate about dance, takes it very seriously, and hates when anything makes her look like she doesn't.
But what did she do both times? Lashed out at me.
"You didn't tell me to put my shoes in my bag!"
"Why didn't you check to see if the snack was still there?"
Oh no. Oh, no, no, no, my dear. We are NOT starting this at five. Mommy may still need to help you, but she is NOT your personal assistant. I make sure your clothes are clean and in your drawer. I make sure your hair is done. I make sure you arrive on time. But there is a line, and boy oh boy did she cross it. Everyone, including me, forgets things from time to time and needs some help. But I don't want to start down the slippery slope of having her expect me to be in charge of her things when she's thirteen. I've seen in with kids I used to teach, and it's not a great picture. By that point, it's a hard habit to break.
Reagan still does need some help, but Madison is getting to the point where she needs to start taking responsibility for making sure that she has the correct bag, packed with the correct stuff, at the correct time. Like everything, we scaffold.
In the morning, we talk through the day. Is it a co-op day or a day when we're homeschooling out of the house? She'll need her backpack. We talk through what she needs, I help her write a list, and she gets it ready. Is it a dance day? Check the bag - make sure all the shoes, extra tights, water bottles and snacks are ready.
Are we going on a car trip? Will she have her car bag? I'll help her pack it initially, but both within the car and on our way home, it's her responsibility.
Right now, her purse is more of a fashion choice than a necessity, but I'd like to think that I'm helping her down the path to becoming a responsible young woman.