Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Milestones and Bravery

As a parent, you see your children develop and it's very exciting and fun. You watch as they learn, mature and master skills. I remember Rye hit a milestone at 5 months. I can't even really remember what it was really, but it seems now like it was this awareness he had of his surroundings and he advanced out of infancy. But I remember it like a light switch went on, and just like that, one day… he woke up and had a significant advance in his development. With Rye, it's always been the case where he mastered a skill before actually incorporating it. For example, he teetered around walking for weeks, then one day he walked across the room and never looked back. Same with potty training. And riding his bike without training wheels.

Recently, we have seen him learn to read. He's advanced from site words to reading sentences and sounding out complex words in a matter of months. This obviously wasn't mastered as quickly as walking, or potty training or riding his bike… but that's understandable and we still have a long way to go. Some things take more time and a higher degree of learning than others, and when it's harder for him to master, the more resistance he has to doing it. Most of us can relate to that. But the most encouraging thing about this journey is seeing Rye's bravery develop. It can be hard for all of us to learn new things and it takes courage and a certain level of bravery to do so. I remember, not so long ago, the meltdowns that would last for hours over the smallest things, like "turn the movie off and come wash your hands." We're seeing less and less tantrums, that last for less and less time. Part of this is maturity, part of it is therapy and part of it is discipline and consistency (on our part as parents, not Rye's).

We've mentioned before about our fine little line between making him engage and do things with others for the sake of development, and NOT forcing him to do things for the sake of everyone's sanity! But the tide is turning and transitions are becoming easier for him. Wyatt loves to play sports. Last Fall, we started playing football in the backyard. I would make Rye play for 10 minutes (albeit in his Storm Troopers suit), then Wyatt and I would play lightsabers for 10 minutes. VERY reluctantly, he would agree. Week after week, game after game, we'd negotiate how many possessions, how much time we'd spend playing football vs. lightsabers. Wyatt's new thing is basketball. This past Sunday Wyatt came in, said, "Dad, let's go play basketball." I told him to give me 10 minutes and I'd be out. I was putting on my shoes, Rye was playing Wii, and I thought, he needs to play with us. So I shouted up, "Rye, come shoot baskets with Wyatt and me." Waiting for a whining denial, I was surprised to get a big sigh and a "oh, ok, but just for 10 minutes." I almost fell over. This was huge. And the biggest thing about this was there was no negotiation and he didn't tell me we had to play lightsabers afterward. Sunday was another notch up the bravery scale. Sunday was a milestone.

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