Progress

After another pregnancy-enforced hiatus, for which I apologise profusely, such a momentous thing has happened that even I must abandon my self-enforced ban on blogging when I should be sleeping and get on here to record it.
In the midst of what’s been a bit of a torrid time, the Monkey has started school and – although this has been trickier than I expected it would be, given she attended nursery there and has made great friendships – she has still made some astounding progress. On Friday, she came home with her first reading book, Hide and Seek, and despite her recent, surprising and upsetting proclamation “I’m never going to learn to read,” when I purposefully left the book on the kitchen table, she picked it up and softly began to read it to me. I knew she could, because of the work we’ve done together and the words she can spell in her head and read aloud, when of a mind to do so, but lately she has become more and more determined not to engage with us if she could tell “trying to encourage your child to read” activities were afoot. We felt that, underneath this, was a worry that, if she could read for herself, that we would stop our nightly story time with her. Despite reassurances to the contrary, the monkey has become more and more aware and resistant to any efforts of ours to practice her reading.
Her teacher had had great progress with her that day and so I was curious to know how we would get on with reading at home. Not our story-sharing-at-bedtime, but our school homework of encouraging her to read the schoolbook she has come home with. Hence my decision to leave the book in plain sight and leave it to her to make the first move.
She read every page (somewhat missing in plot and character development, I felt) and only struggled on the word Dad, which she spelled out phonetically and got it straight away… Then. she reread the book aloud over and over and over in obvious glee. I was completely thrilled – she has only been back at school for 9 days! Because of her recent reticence to try and read aloud for herself (even though we knew she could), we decided to reward her amazing achievement with some Lego.
Result? One thrilled little girl.
Because of my own physical and mental absence, the monkey has not been reacting positively to me at all which is always a flag that I’ve not been there for her as I should have. So I’ve taken over bedtime duties for a while and we are reading Up the Far Away Tree, my favourite childhood book. I’ve told her it was my favourite book as a child too, and every night she is completely wrapped up in the story, wanting the next chapter and wide eyes at its guile and it’s charm. It’s helped me find a way to reconnect with her again, to share part of my story with her and to show her just how much I love her.
This day has also reminded me, yet again that, just when you feel stuck as a parent or your child has hit a behavioural or developmental hurdle, to just hang on, encourage, be patient, stop pushing, keep loving. They get there.

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