Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Normal Is Good

The daily "to do" list was the usual run of household tasks and a work-from-home day, but also included ice skating lessons tonight. As usual, I took all three kids to the 30-minute lesson (the twins think the ice rink building is great for exploring) and still had dinner on the table before 6:30pm. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, diapers, refereeing sibling fights - it's numbing sometimes. And other days, the kids are so darned cute I can overlook the perpetual tasks. Today they were cute. I barely raised my voice at any of them all day.

I know I can worry obsessively about my childrens' development. I zero in on this or that deficiency, read about it, and worry about what it means for their long-term success. And then they do something that surprises me, and forces me to see that all in all, they're likely rather normal kids. Normal, that is. Not brilliant, not truly deficient, but on par with their peers and not needing any closer examination.

We've got these alphabet or letter tiles that are great for spelling words. There's at least a hundred of the little tiles, likely more. The last two nights, all three kids and I have played with them before bedtime. The twins love the feel of the tiles in their hands, the clinking sound they make, and they love to copy what they think Claire and I are doing. I got three surprises out of this play time. First, Lily agreed to "play nice" with them (not throw them) and instead lined them up nicely and neatly; second, Molly freakishly (and with no encouragement) picked out all the lower-case letter "o's" and grouped them together (she knowingly rejected the upper-case "O's", which she called "Big O" versus "Small o"), and then tonight she did a pile of "o's" and also lowercase "e's"; and third, Claire can spell some small words. Now, I do give her a jumpstart - I give her all the letters to the word "bug", for example, but she has to place them in the right order. A good portion of the time she's successful! I didn't think she was capable of this yet, so I am feeling very happy for her. She has more of the basic pre-reading skills in place than I thought she did. The best part is that it's fun for everyone, Claire feels no pressure, and I know this is improving her recognition of the lower-case letters which she (like her preschool peers) is struggling with. Her preschool teacher told me that "p" "b" "d" "q" and "g" are all stumping the kids right now. Our new favorite game should help fix this!

Tonight Claire and I also picked up the painted cupcakes from the pottery place! We looked at all the girls' cupcakes which was too much fun (I did pick a pottery item that was a bit challenging to paint for this age group). I took a photo of Claire's cupcake with my phone, so it's not the best quality, but here it is ... I think she did a great job painting ...

... and we also wrote Claire's birthday thank-you notes to distribute with the cupcakes, which Claire signed for me (I find it amazing to think that in two years she might be writing them herself). And tonight, I'm feeling thankful for some reminders that my kids are good kids, healthy, and seemingly, mostly normal. Normal is good.

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