Saturday, November 18, 2006

A few steps forward

Thanks to a tutorial at Mommylife, D1 can now put on her jacket with little to no help. After the first few demonstrations, the amount of help required is, as usual, inversely proportional to her eagerness to accomplish the goal. But, since she's almost always eager to go outside, she usually has ample motivation to do it All By Herself. This is an exciting moment for her, and for me. Only two jackets to take on and off every time we go in and out!

Last night DOB decided that D2, who has been taking very short walking trips unassisted and very long ones with the minimum of assistance (such as the hem of my skirt or D1's eager but unsteady hand), was ready for a little coaching. So we sat on opposite sides of our narrow living room and coaxed him into walking back and forth, about ten steps. Half the time he stumbled midway, but he was crowing with delight whatever the outcome. This morning we did something similar a few more times.

Then suddenly this afternoon, it clicked. He let go of the front door and staggered over to the top of the stairs, with no one coaxing him on and nothing to catch him. (Fortunately he didn't go headfirst down the steps, as he tends to do.) And now, he walks. Set him down and off he goes, pivoting from side to side still, but on his own two feet.

The fascinating thing about teaching, or raising children, is finding just that moment when a little--a very little--bit of encouragement or a pointer in a particular way opens up a new world. Too soon, and it wouldn't have effect. Too late, and we'd miss out on being a part of it--and with skills less basic than walking, they might miss out on it altogether. Too much, and it would grow tedious. But just right, well, that's what makes this job all worthwhile.


Rose said...

This is what I'm trying to learn right now. I have to look at it as an investment, and realise that it will begin paying off only AFTER initial setbacks and greater effort, because if I weren't looking at the long-term big picture, I'd find myself wiping noses and shoveling food into chirping birdies' mouths all my life. =)

Carrie said...

Hey! Congrats to D2 and all the rest of you! Right now I'm looking forward to teaching How to Hold a Bottle. ;)