Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mistakes I've Made and Learned From

Mistakes with my first child, I often became overwhelmed because I thought I had to teach her everything, and my own pride drove me to want her to do everything faster and better. She was very bright, but so often I focused on what I wanted her to learn next, that I didn't just stop and let her enjoy her babyhood, especially once her brother came along. I pushed her to grow up too fast, and now I look back and realize how it just slipped away, and she'll never be a baby again!

My second child was constantly compared to his sister, and most unfairly, even though I knew better, I just couldn't help it. He was slower at everything, at first, and I think I babied him too much. He did learn to talk very rapidly, and was compared as faster than his sister on that. He refused to sign before he spoke, which was odd to me, but he seemed to be an auditory learner, and really used those excellent ears of his. He didn't want to learn to sign until he got talking down. It took me a long time to accept that, when I compared him to Kaylee who signed much more than talked for a long time. I spent his entire babyhood looking back at Kaylee's instead of just enjoying the ride, and now, those three short years are gone!
Now with my third child, I've finally learned to just enjoy him as he is, and not compare him, or push him to grow and learn any faster than he does naturally. I am more able to relax and laugh with him, and just enjoy every day as it comes, and sit back and marvel at him, instead of worrying that he needs to be taught this, and that, and so-n-so is already doing this, should he be doing that too? I don't care about any of that any more!

Kevin is also there with me, and we often laugh when we see our old selves in new parents. It's cute to watch but we're so glad that we've learned and grew up a bit. We are definitely "growing up with our kids." Living in the PRESENT. That is the main lesson I've learned, and I'm loving it!! "Kennie" is tiny, and does everything at his own pace. I just have to figure out how to keep the house clean when I have a baby. I haven't figured that out yet, but I'm not anxious about that either. I'm sure I'll learn.

Now, you'd think that we've learned our lesson and no longer push our daughter to learn and grow faster, and compare Peter to his sister, but alas, it is not that simple. It seems to have become a habit, and a way of relating to them that has become entrenched in our relationship with them. Now that we're aware of what we've been doing, we're trying to change that relationship, and we have small victories here and there.

For instance, I was fretting that my daughter had forgotten all the words I'd once taught her to read, and she was slow at learning her colors, and still can't write her name, even though all the other kids in her primary class can write their names. I wrote to Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm expressing my frustrations at trying to teach her when she was just not willing to sit down and learn with me.

He reminded me that it is foolish to compare her to other children her age. "Relax and enjoy her!" He said. I realized he was right, and I knew it, and told my husband the same thing, and we forced ourselves to do just that. Now I see that she has excelled in other ways, and she's just learning different things, and has chosen to focus on non-academic learning for now, and THAT'S OKAY. She is fine, and I need to be too!! Still I learn, and still I grow. Slowly, slowly, but surely.

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