Sunday, January 19, 2014

My e

My e is in a bit of a rough patch. She has never been content as the little sister, and now with E sailing along so smoothly she's even more jealous of his abilities and privileges. Sometimes I fall into the trenches with her, trying to lecture and guilt her out of her funk. I'm sure you all know how well that works.

I started a new planning sheet a few weeks ago, originally to help E see his choices and progress, but e is actually the one I see benefitting most. She loves coloring the boxes and seeing what is planned. She fights the daily rhythm, not the schooly stuff (as long as I have waited until she is more than ready-more on that in a minute).

When E was 4 I bought a workbook about the body. We started it....and then like most pre-made lessons with E, it fizzled. Last summer e found it and BEGGED to do it. Interest did not wane, so here we are. After Christmas we traced and cut out bodies. She is excited each day to learn a new part's function, eagerly coloring, cutting out, and 'doing surgery' to her paper body. I love her enthusiasm! This girl holds nothing back.

She is my treasure-seeker, nature-lover, and noticer of all things small. Even though I get impatient at times with her slower pace and absolute need to bring everything home (be it something from nature or something from the store), e is just as eager and enthusiastic about giving to others. That has been a lesson for me: accepting her exuberance in all areas- sadness as well as happiness, selfishness as well as selflessness.

Her math main lesson is coming along nicely.

She has known how to add and aubtract forever, and not because she was ever formally taught. I think she has absorbed and picked up quite a lot from E, as well as from daily life. She easily adds numbers past 20 in her head, and when introduced to multiplication had no trouble understanding its link to addition and counting-by.

e gets up well before E, now that he stays up late for gymnastics. She and I do most of her lessons before he rises, as well as bird-watching. Lots of bird-watching.

It has been fun to again be chanting '2 is 2 times 1. 4 is 2 times 2. 6 is 2 times 3.' with clapping, snapping, stomping patterns. This was one of the few first grade things E enjoyed, and still does, only he has moved onto much higher numbers, of course. I'm dreaming of all the things I'll get to do with e in the next few years that fell aside with E. This is going to be good. IF I can help her to see that her current age is wonderful for right now, that is.

For instance, had she been in first grade 3 years ago, we could not have used acorns. I never realized how lovely acorns are to work with!

She is also learning to read. Sort of. She already knows how, but she doesn't know she knows. Seems to be a theme in my family, lol. E didn't read until second grade, but could have much, much earlier. Both children have this idea that learning to do something should not be gradual. One should be an instant master. Which, if you wait long enough, perhaps is sort of true. E went from not reading at all to reading above grade level in four months. e went from not knitting to casting on, knitting, and casting off in two days. Both of them even refused baby food, preferring to wait until 15-ish months when whole food became an option. So why should I expect reading to be any different for e? She has decided it might be time. She's working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons on her own. Yep, that's right...on her own. With me there, but not saying anything. Which tells you she already knows it.


e is starting children's chorus this week. She auditioned and was accepted with flying colors, including a 50% scholarship! She still isn't sure about it, primarily because she has no idea what choir is like. C and I are hopeful that this might be her thing.


I had a talk with her the other day. She had mentioned going back to gymnastics, and I told her no. I told her it wasn't her thing. Why would I do that?


It wasn't out of fear, though I do fear. Remember that her broken arm came from trying a layout; she doesn't always recognize her limits vs her brother's. It wasn't because of expense, though we are barely affording one child on team. It was because after she broke her arm, her coach requested that she attend the half-hour of warm-up in order to maintain her leg strength and ability.... and she refused. She didn't consider it important and preferred to wait until she could again do trampoline. Gym as a whole was not her thing.


Shouldn't a parent allow her child to continue with whatever activity they choose, whether or not it is their thing? Up until now, I would have said yes, enjoyment is what matters. Now I have seen that children can get caught up in the activity, moving from one level to the next, all the while gaining in expense and parent-time-commitment (hello fundraising hours- wow!), perhaps simply because it's 'what I do'. The activity begins to define the child; to quit or switch at this point would be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.


I want e to try anything, everything....but only stick with the thing that makes her heart sing. The thing she can't live without. The thing that challenges and energizes her, that brings her immeasurable joy. Gym is not that.


So I talked her into choir. Maybe she will love it, maybe she won't. If she doesn't, she'll try something new in the fall. She has her eye on tap dancing.


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