Friday, September 4, 2009

I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing....Oh Oh!

I have just signed an agreement to write for another blog...not sure when I will be posted, however that is ok. The blog is called Silicon Valley Moms blog or for short. It is the fault of Lindsey and Victoria, my two friends who encourage me on a regular basis to write. What a wonderful gift to have friends who encourage you to follow a talent or should I say an untapped talent. My hubby is part of the regular cheering team too; he reads my blog regularly from work and asks, “Where is the next installment?” So here I am writing when I should be doing the books! Books for my budget that is, so the big Oh Oh in the title. Perhaps I will tell him all is well in the world of high finance for our little family? At least until I complete the books. Yes tomorrow I will do the books, or perhaps late tonight, but only after I complete my blog.

Here I am trying to be an example to little Margo about following directions and doing what 'You are supposed to do", I am so glad she cannot read enough to catch, that I am not following directions. But this following directions thing is driving me crazy with her. Really, she follows the directions at school, gets her work done and gets to play. But with me, it may be another story. Margo really wants to just play with me after school. However, she has a little homework assignment. She needs to learn how to write her name starting with an upper case letter followed by the rest in lower case.

Oh, and did I mention it needs to be both her first and last name. Thus far we are seeing some success with her first name, and now I am introducing her last name. Because she really wants to play with me, she is not motivated to print nicely or follow the strokes. Instead she will write a letter, perhaps in two parts, from bottom to top, when it should be, start at the top and complete the letter in one stroke. Then she looks at me with a giggle to see how I will respond. Margo has just discovered a new button to push with me...I did not realize this would be my new button, she must read minds or something. No, she just knows me better than I do sometimes.

So what do I do to grab her attention and provide the "correct" motivation, I pick up one of her little books she had been reading, (it was a little board book), and I say, "Ok, Margo, I am going to throw this book away, unless you start to try and write your name on the lines....". She looks at me and laughs a very joyful laugh, so now I grab a little toy, a metal noise maker that a friend gave to her, and I say I will throw this in the trash and do so. She looks at me calmly and says, "Mom, I only need some help".

Ahhh, she is right, she only needs some help and I am freaking out because she is not doing it right. "What is going on," I ask myself, "Why am I feeling so angry and frustrated?" And then it hits me...I have become a perfectionist of sorts. Ok, I am a perfectionist when it comes to effort. Meaning, whatever I do, I must give it complete effort. It has nothing to do with the letter shapes; it has everything to do with "real effort", in making those letter shapes.

When I was told last year that Margo will say "I can't" to some new physical skill at preschool, I was worried she was giving up. So we read and re-read the story, The Little Engine that Could. Believe it or not, her new mantra started to be, I think I can...but this is really hard, or this is really hard work. She started to say it was hard, but still keeps trying, that is real effort. She acknowledges the difficulty yet, keeps giving the effort. Now I know effort is in her, but I need the motivation to draw it out. Believe me the best motivation was not, "I am going to throw your toy away."

When she said "Mom I only need some help," I heard I should now use encouragement, instead of my anger. It meant coaching her with every stroke of the pencil. Now I was still high strung, but I did try to make it fun by complementing what she did do correctly. And at the same time I kept muttering to myself, I cannot home school, I cannot home get the picture. (Perhaps I need to re-read the book, The Little Engine that Could.) Eventually I will be able to lighten up regarding home work, and her writing. I know she is only 5, actually almost 6 years old, but she is in Kindergarten.

I know that eventually her fine muscle movement will develop with all the OT, and playing with clay we are doing. I know that with continued swimming her core will strengthen and she will be able to sit up and hold the paper down while she writes rather than hold her head. Really, I carry this last paragraph in my heart as I watch her write, and go to school. And what I really need to remember, and exercise real effort in, is that she is growing bit by bit; her dyspraxia is being minimized and there is a whole world of adventure she will be able to run to and enjoy.

So just like me, she may not be doing exactly what she is supposed to do because, there is some fun to be had, a laugh and giggle to be given, a full life to be lived.


  1. It's so good to hear she's doing so well.

    And my daughter doesn't have any (known) reasons for limitations but she also hasn't mastered fine motor skills (and even some large motor skills) yet. I'm not worried; she'll get it. My goal is to help her and just encourage her to love school and love learning. The rest I believe will fall into line when she's ready.

    So glad M's doing so well!

  2. Aunt Max,

    Your blogs are so full of love, and it is so good to hear how Sophie is doing! Give her a big kiss from me and please tell her how proud I am of her for being such a brave and grown up girl who knows how to have fun! And I am so proud of you and Uncle Mark-- it is hard to "let go," and takes courage to do it, but also know that you will always be so much of her heart and spirit, no matter what. I love you!


  3. P.S.

    Congratulations for the blog sign-up! Keep writing!