On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Anastasia and Isabella go to the their homeschooling classes all day. Sometimes, I like to take advantage of only have three little ones (cause three is just so easy!) and attempt to get errands done, but usually, I like to really focus on teaching Francesca and Victoria. I try to be the speech therapist, physical therapist and occupational therapist, all rolled into one.
I bring out the puzzles, the shape sorter, and speech cards and try to encourage them to learn everything I think they need to know. To learn what the experts say they should know already. Whether they want to learn it or not, they are usually pretty good sports about the whole thing.
I want to fix them sometimes. Not their physical differences, but I want them to be able to learn like other kids do. I admit it, I am impatient. Not with them. But impatient for them to progress the way society says they should. Or maybe I think they should.
I don't think Francesca really sees the value of making a triangle out of her magnet bars. Perhaps I am working with the wrong venue. Maybe I should be making triangles out of cookie dough and then she would get the point. And why am I stressing about a triangle for anyway? Is the sign of a good person their knowledge of geometric shapes?
Of course, little Catherine, genius that she is, constantly wants to learn everything. I try not to compare.
But when I see kids, much younger than them, passing them up, I feel like somehow I am not doing a good enough of a job. I feel like I should work overtime to get them to be on target for their age. Which, of course, is an impossible task. You can't undo two years of being neglected and starved.
"See, Victoria. See the red heart. Can you say heart?"
And Victoria, sweet little child, tries to say heart, but no one but me can understand her.
I know she understands, even if she does have a blank stare on her face when others talk to her. She has a veil surrounding her, and she doesn't let many in. Maybe she never will.
The fears of "what if" begin to trickle into my thoughts. What if they never really do learn to speak clearly? And how is Francesca going to learn to do a zipper?
How much do I push? Do I expect too much? If I worry about it enough, does it mean I am doing enough for them?
My friend, Jen, shared this quote: "Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be."
-Joan Ryan "The Water Giver"
And I know they are teaching me so much more than I am teaching them.
So, I tell myself to chill and we all move on to chopping up playdough (I don't recommend the brown playdough, it looks waaaay too realistic. Ew.)
The one thing I am sure of though, is that my cooking skills will be easy for them all to learn! Yep, macaroni and cheese again!!