I have been working very hard with my six year old daughter lately. The school load that she has is typical for a first grader, but it's hard for her. We're spending at least an hour everyday doing school work.
My son is a gifted student who taught himself to read. I never have to help him with his homework. Thus, I never had to learn how to teach a child. I'm not a natural teacher. I'm not a patient person.
To say this is a recipe for disaster is an understatement.
However, I'm a smart person and I have a lot of resources. I'm using those resources to train myself how to help her better. She gets agitated when I'm frustrated. I get frustrated to see her struggle. It seems like an endless loop of not getting anywhere.
We had an aha! moment this weekend. Last night we sat down to do math homework and she finally just got it. It was like I could see the wheels turning in her head. Count the dots in each box, then add them up to get the answer. It clicked! We high fived. It was wonderful.
She let me move her on to do reading. The books she is reading are super easy. The thought is to build her confidence so she can finally move up to slightly harder reading. We've been a few weeks on easy peasy reading and I think she is getting it. She is able to read every word on every page. It's amazing. It's a confidence booster for the both of us.
We have been spending a lot of time together. I'm the one who does her homework with her, so we have been working very hard together. I'm learning to be patient and explain things in detail I never even thought of before. She's letting me help her.
Last night she climbed on my lap. She's not an overly affectionate child, so usually this only happens when she is very tired or overwhelmed. We had just spent an hour and a half on homework and, to be honest, I was ready for us to be apart for a few minutes.
She faced me, put my hands on her chest and said "Mom, you're the only one who warms my heart."
Interpretations of this include:
- Mom, thanks for the hard work you've been putting in with me.
- Thanks for being patient with me.
- Thanks for recognizing that I'm doing my best.
- Thanks for encouraging me.
At least that's what I heard anyway. If I asked her what she meant, she wouldn't have been able to say any of this. But she knows that I'm pushing her, lifting her up. It's warming her heart. And she's saying thank you.
You're welcome, sweet girl. I'll do it forever if I have to because you are worth it. I know you can do this.
She is the one who warms my heart. She's in there. She's a person. Yes, she's a person who struggles, but she is a human girl. She has feelings. She can't always express them in the commonly prescribed ways, but she knows how to get her point across.
I paused a bit last night to think about the fact that I am so used to focusing on the things she is working on, I forget to look at her as a whole. As my daughter. As a person who will grow up and learned how to deal with her struggles, in her way.
But in the end, she's my sweet girl and she always will be. I'll take that thank you. I'd do all of it without thanks but I'm glad she sees the love in what I do for her everyday. It all stems from the root of love.