Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On the Job Training - Motherhood: The Results Episode

I'm excited these days with my 1st grader. I can't believe what a difference it is between 5 and 6. I think at 5, kids look at the world with magical goggles. At 6, they're taking off these goggles on their face and questioning them. They'll put them back on for fun, but it seems more fun to look at the world without them. I see more logic and analysis happening, as well as more eavesdropping!

One exciting event for us is her enthusiasm for reading. I remember trying to teach her to read last year and all she did was improvise or memorize the books. I knew that was ok, but I was worried because it felt like we were inching on a long road. Now, I can see persistence paid off.

I remember when she was 3, she didn't ride her tricycle well - I had to really show her how to pedal. At 4, we're still working on the "remember to pedal!" while my friend's son the same age was whizzing around on his bike. I was quite anxious at the time wondering if she'll ever ride a bike. I remember complaining to a parent of older kids, and he waved off my fears by saying once kids see other kids do it, they learn. Now, she's still on training wheels, but she enjoys riding. Again, this is the importance of patience and persistence.

I watched her tie her shoes the other day and I was amazed! We started last year by practicing on her bathrobe. The belt was thick and I could show her how to make bows. It's not easy, but it helped illustrate the process. She wanted to tie her shoes by herself, but we're in a perpetual state of rush, so I would just say, "Here let me do it." even though she wanted to try. I couldn't believe when she tied 2 shoes perfectly the other day. I just want to cheer for those moments.

Annika is still in Suzuki violin classes, and it's a bit harder this year because the class has only 2 students. The other boy is quite good, which shakes her confidence. I know Annika can be up to par if she practiced regularly. Usually, she chooses to chat, goof off or whine during her violin practices. When she chooses to focus, she's awesome! (Honestly, our violin lessons are 60% drama and 40% actual practicing).

So, when she gets down on herself for her violin or swimming or reading, I wish I could explain focus, persistence and patience to her. That in time, she will be able to handle this as deftly as she has everything else. Obviously, this means nothing in her world. So, it's more important for me to adopt that belief and attitude so I can calmly lead her (and not freak out, compare her to other kids, etc.)

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