A few days ago, it was worrying me that Mrini seemed to be becoming the “good girl” and Tara seemed to be going out of her way to be the “bad girl”. I don’t know if I made it sound like a big issue, but it wasn’t, really. It was just me picking up on the early warning signs and trying to work things out before they went wrong. It’s a slippery slope, that good-girl-bad-girl dichotomy.
Mrini has continued to diligently work at her reading and writing. She’s still practicing writing and tells me which letters she wants to write. But yesterday she said, enough of that (figuratively speaking; though it wouldn’t surprise me if she really says it someday soon), and started writing without my help. Her “A”s looked a bit like “H”s, but it was impressive all the same. She went on to write B, P, L, M (of course), an inverted T, N, W, O, and 10.
I believe that 4+ is quite an advanced age for kids to be learning to write. Their daycare tells me they teach kids to write at 3. I also believe (though the thought would not have occurred to me otherwise) that conventionally writing is taught by holding the child’s hand as they write. Well, when we got our kids into school, we were told in no uncertain terms that in the Montessori system, reading and writing comes later and that if we wanted to boast about how early our kids learnt to read and write, we’d better look at some other school. Luckily, for us, we didn’t care when they learnt (some time before they went to college would be good enough…)
And so we have the joy of watching the child teach herself. It’s nothing short of awesome to see what delight Mrini gets from her achievements. What’s almost as heart-warming is to see the occasional delight that Tara gets from Mrini’s efforts and achievements too.
And what of Tara? Well, she still hasn’t shown much interest in writing. Given a box of crayons, she’s happy to scribble or colour madly. But something else has changed. Of late, when Tara wants to get into my lap or wants to be hugged (usually while I’m trying to eat), I have consciously been giving in to her. It can be a little irritating to have an excessively clingy, “lappy” child around, but it’s definitely easier than having her always acting out. And, it seems to be working.
Yesterday, when we reached home after a long (and horrible) drive, Tara very sweetly told me, “Today I won’t trouble you. I won’t do annnnything to make you angry. I don’t want you to be angry at me.”
And she didn’t. She didn’t trouble me once the whole entire evening, not even at bathtime and bedtime – prime opportunities for trouble. She reiterated her resolve not to trouble me two or three times in the evening, and once when I got just a tiny bit forceful about something, she immediately hugged me and reminded me that she won’t let me be angry with her.
What can I say? Kids can just take your breath away, sometimes.