burden and beauty

I have shared here before that Caroline has required an extra nudge to do many things, including tying her shoes, eating green vegetables, and unfortunately reading and writing. We seem to have finally achieved that magical place between her needing to gain these important academic skills and her possessing the motivation and enthusiasm to do so. She has been devouring books in huge gulps and I can barely keep her stocked with things at her independent level. I found an amazing little bookmark timer that she delights in using. She snuggles into bed with Connor at bedtime and SHE reads him a book. She often struggles a bit with words she has not totally mastered, but feels like such a big girl. We have been so incredibly impressed with the strides she has taken since September.

She is Caroline. She lacks self confidence in so many ways, constantly teetering on the edge. Unless she knows with certainty she can do it herself independently and successfully, she often chooses just not to do it and that is where our dilemma begins and ends. She cannot read without practice, she cannot practice without mistakes, she cannot cope with mistakes. She wears her whole heart on her sleeve.

Something happened recently and she was trying to read the words on something and we corrected her and to be honest, I can't even remember what she was trying to read at the time. It didn't seem like a big deal, but suddenly she fell apart. "I thought I was going to be the smart one."

Silence. Tears. I didn't even know what to say in that moment.

Then

I reassured, "you are smart."
I validated, "It must be so hard to think you read it correctly and have a grown up tell you that you didn't."
I reinforced, "This is something we need to practice together and I am going to be right here practicing with you as long as it takes."

She has an amazing imagination. She makes up songs while she is working on a project or her homework. She has such enthusiasm for her world that I am often yelling across the yard not because she is doing something wrong, but that she is just so happy that the entire neighborhood can hear her gleeful shrieks. I know that these new skills she is mastering will open entire new worlds of her imagination. Writing stories, illustrating sentences.

This is the hard time, except it isn't.  I keep telling myself she will focus and learn and meet expectations, that it will be okay and then THEN we can relax.

There will never be relaxing, just more to learn, more she doesn't know, and that is both the burden and the beauty of it all.


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