One of the neat things about meeting people is that there are some lessons best learned by modeling behavior from another human being. No matter how many times I read about a certain activity, it sometimes just won’t come together for me until I see it done.
This is especially true when the activity is a ritual or a habit, which for my ADHD brain can be problematic. My brain is good at spotting new and unique situations and reacting to them. Whenever I need to say “every time a certain condition exists, such-and-so action will happen”, my brain is not exactly wired for maximum cooperation. This is where observation and behavior modeling come in. If I can spot some special or unusual aspect to the ritual, the wiring in my brain that’s always on the lookout for novelty gets roped into cooperating.
We recently got to meet toraprincess and her husband in person and spend a week hanging out with them. We had an absolute blast. Princess and her husband were delightful hosts who went out of their way to help us get out and see the big landmark attractions as well as the less-famous “secret delights” of their city. Beth particularly liked the zoo, but for me drinking a soda pop while sitting next to the machine that bottled it was my favorite memory from the trip.
One of the things I knew from Beth’s chats over the years with Princess is that her husband buckles her into her seatbelt every time they get into the car. I remember thinking it was a cute way to show some chivalry, but that it seemed like kind of a hassle and I knew I’d never remember to do it, so I filed the idea under “neat things our friends do, but that are not for us” and that was that.
Until we got out to visit them, that is. Beth and I piled into the back of the car while Princess and her spouse got in front. Then Princess a stuck both of her hands straight up in the air like she was getting on a roller coaster. Her husband reached over and clicked her seatbelt into place and she put her arms down. It was quick and quiet but some part of my brain imagine Princess going “WHEEEE!” when it happened, and that made me chuckle.
And that was the bit of novelty I needed to see in action.
I’m happy to report that since getting back, we’re slowly getting in the habit of me buckling her seat belt. Beth has to grab the buckle and bring it across to hand to me, but now when we get in the car I remind her to do it by pointing my finger at her and saying “Stick ’em up, little girl!” and she giggles and raises her arms and I click her in.
I knew it was cute, but I had no idea it was adorable.
Thank you, Princess! You’ve helped us start a silly fun new habit that makes us giggle and be sappy at the same time.