I earned my Good Mom points today and played board games with the kids. I'd resigned myself to an afternoon at home, given the nasty temperatures outside; somehow my kids' compliance levels are inversely proportional to how cold it is outside (or however you want to say it...bottom line, they are a pain in the butt when it's cold).
Anyway, we played our Photo Safari game which remains one of the least annoying kids' games I've played to date. At one point Brighton could see that Pacey was very likely to win the game. Her usual reaction to this scenario is to say she doesn't want to play anymore, claim it's "not a competition," etc. Today though? She looked at the game board, looked at me and said, "Mom, I want Pacey to win because he's my bud." I didn't say much, but we finished the game and sure enough, Pacey won. She gave him a huge hug and said how happy she was that he had won. Man, was I proud of her. Sure, she only said that because she could see he was going to win anyway, but I was really proud of how she decided to handle it. It's so gratifying to see progress when you have been talking yourself blue in the face about a particular issue.
Of course, she then went on to blatantly cheat so she could at least still beat me, but whatever.
I know I'm like a broken record on this, but it blows me away how much mental energy kids require when they reach a certain age. Brighton has questions about EVERYTHING. She wants to comment on EVERYTHING. She wants direction and guidance and feedback on EVERYTHING. That last one sort of surprises me actually. She is generally so strong-willed and sure of herself that I would assume she wouldn't want input into creative activities. However she seems to have inherited perfectionism from somewhere (*whistles and looks around*) and she wants to make sure what she's doing is RIGHT. It's just exhausting. But of course it's awesome at the same time. Her mind is working all the time and she is learning and growing and beginning to grasp that there is a huge world waiting for her to conquer.
She's particularly interested in reading and writing right now. The bedtime tactic that has been working for the last few months (to let her look at books in her room til she's ready to sleep) isn't as effective anymore because she's so frustrated she can't read the words. She wants her turn practicing Pacey's sight word flashcards. She can write pretty much the whole alphabet and so wants me to spell things our for her to write "emails" to people (hasn't quite got the whole "e" part of that yet). I love it and I am so proud but MY GOD it's tedious. See why I am not a preschool teacher???
And finally, on the subject of being proud, I've saved the best for last. Last week I checked Pacey's backpack and there was a book inside with a note from his special education teacher (she works with Pacey in the classroom three times a week). The note said that Pacey had "finished the whole book." I wasn't exactly sure what that meant, so I asked him to sit down with me and the book. It's a level one reader that is 54 pages long and he read every single word to me. Now, he doesn't "know how to read" yet. He's learned to sight-read this book, meaning that he recognizes the words (as opposed to having the ability to sound out new words). Knowing that takes nothing away from his achievement. I am so proud. I am so grateful for the teachers in his life. My thoughts about the educational process in general and the seemingly endless options/approaches continue to change and refine; by the end of the year I think I'll have a much clearer picture of what I want education to mean for Pacey. I feel like the ability to read written language plays a part in how integrated one can be in their community and I am so pleased to see this progress.