Friday, January 21, 2011


One of our family mottos is 'practice makes progress'. There are days I feel like I yap an endless loop of 'you'll only get better at it if you keep trying' and 'it's only too hard if you don't ask for help' and 'no, you aren't terrible at this -- you feel terrible because you're afraid you're not very good at it'. It gets tiresome.

And then once in a while there's a sign of progress. Yesterday when I took Little Guy to the library he confided, "Reading used to be my least-favorite subject, and now it's my favorite!" He borrowed seven A to Z Mystery books, one for each day of the week. He's reading. Not fast, but independently, and because he wants to.

He's also made progress on writing. This is a kid who was beaned by writer's block at birth, who freezes solid when given an assignment. He writes happily when he's relaxed and when it's a project of his own creation. So we've been working on writing on demand, even if I'm not demanding a whole lot. The other day I told him to write a 5-sentence story about losing a tooth. Thirty questions later ("Does it have to be about my tooth?" "Can it be about more than one tooth?" "Can it involve lots of blood?") he wrote a classic kid story about a boy who was crushed by a hippo and lost all his teeth. There was, indeed, lots of blood and the story concluded with "it was a tragic death". (We're working on punctuation and spelling, so I'll worry about the pathology later.)

Meanwhile, we've had some slippage in the math and mouthiness departments. I'm not quite sure what that's about, though I've long noted that when kids to spurt ahead in one area, they often backslide in another. Which means that sometimes parenting is like trying to keep up with an ice cream cone in July: just when you think you've smoothed out one side you discover the other side has gooed its way down your sleeve. Ah, well. It's still sweet, even if it's messy.

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