Guest Blogs

“The Soup Routine”

My kid’s routine for eating soup is elaborate and ridiculous, and also comforting and important to her. Maybe this is tied to her ADHD, or maybe we all benefit psychologically from knowing what to expect in an unpredictable world once in a while.

The kids have reached an age where Laurie and I can finally leave them home alone. And tonight is the first night we are letting them make their own dinner. They can handle microwaving a can of soup, we think.

So I go to the gym, and Laurie meets a friend for coffee. I arrive home first, and I am greeted at the door by Jasmine, who has run from her room sobbing. “Isaac [cough] put my [sniff] soupinabble!!!” I ask her to take a deep breath, calm down, and try again. “Isaac [cough] put my [hack] SOUPINABBLE!!!”

“Isaac put her soup in a bowl,” says Vivi, who is Jasmine’s typical Panic Translator.

“So?” I say.

“I want my soup in a mug!” Jasmine cries and stomps her foot. “You know that, Daddy!”

“Sure, of course I know that,” I say. This was a big deal for Jasmine. Soup is one of her favorite meals, and she loves to have it in one of my big mugs. In fact, there are three specific mugs she prefers. There is also a specific type of spoon she requires – not the big spoons or the long tea spoons. There is also… well, there are a lot of specifics to Jasmine’s soup routine and if you get them right she thinks you walk on water. I had learned all of these a while ago, and I’d also learned how to calm her down when she got flustered if I forgot something.

[Get This Free Download: Sample Schedules for Reliable Family Routines]

“Daddy!” she’d say, stomping her foot. “There’s not enough broth in the mug!”

“Girl, you better rephrase that in a nicer voice,” I’d say.

“Sorry, Daddy.”

So she and I had our soup routine down. She and Isaac did not. He put her soup in a bowl, and she stomped her foot at him. Apparently, he didn’t cotton to that. Words were said, and she got sent to her room. Then I got home and it all came to a head.

“Dad!” Isaac says. “She threw the big spoon at me and said she didn’t like me anymore and wouldn’t eat my nasty soup.”

I look at Jasmine. “Well?”

“He said, ‘You can’t sass me!’ and that I had to eat it the way he said,” Jasmine starts to cry again.

“Apologize to your brother right now!” I say.

[Read: Parenting the Child Whose Sibling Has ADHD]

“But he put my soup in a bowl!”

“Go brush your teeth right now, and then go to your room and put your pajamas on, and then you can apologize to your brother.”

She crosses her arms and says, “Humph. Yes, Daddy.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Isaac says.

“Son, you know you can’t bulldoze her like that. You know she loses her cool, so you have to find a way to help her through it. She wasn’t sassing you; she was just frustrated.”

“Ok, I get it,” he says.

“And by the way, I’m her father. Not you. She can’t sass me, but she can sass you.”

He smiles at me, “Yeah OK.”

Just then, Jasmine emerges from her bathroom, her fresh clean pajamas covered in toothpaste. “Baby Doll, I told you to brush your teeth first and then put on your pajamas. I said do it in that order, so you don’t get toothpaste all over your jammies.”

She laughs and slaps her knee. “Oh yeah,” she says. “That makes sense.”

“C’mon, Girl, you know the routine.”

Kids’ Routines with ADHD: Next Steps

Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.