Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sleeping Beauty has Awakened...and She's a Reader!

Cathy’s Pleasant Surprises post over on Creative Construction got me thinking about “being present,” what that means and how it relates to raising a child in, hopefully, a happily creative world. (I cross posted this story over there, but please check out CC regularly; it’s a great blog!) DH and I had a “moment” the other night with our girls. We were reading their bedtime story, and DH didn’t have his glasses on, so he struggled over a few words here and there. It was a fairly involved story, the German fairy tale on which Sleeping Beauty is based, and the reading level was pretty advanced. Definitely not one of those board books with one or two sentences per page, but rather more like middle school reading level. When DH started missing a word here and there, Sarah actually started correcting him. She did this several times, and then DH said, “Well, would you like to read it instead?”, you know, in that “sarcastic Daddy” tone. Then, lo and behold, she did just that. She picked up the story where he left off, word for word, like she was reading it right off the page. We’re talking a story with phrases like “the castle was surrounded with a thorny hedge of briars” and “the soldiers were at their battlements”. “Battlements,” for Pete’s sake! This is a five-year-old! And it’s not a book we read often simply because the stories are rather long and involved! She went on like this for several very long paragraphs while DH and I looked on in awe. The book came with a narrative CD of the stories, and I realized she had actually memorized the story; sometimes the girls listen to the CD while they are going to sleep at night. I have a genius on my hands! (said the proud and over-zealous Mama….)

So back to the “being present” portion of this broadcast. You just blink, and BOOM!, one of your five-year-olds is “reading” at a sixth grade level. An over-exaggeration maybe, but it begs the point: so much happens when we are not paying attention. That’s the interesting thing about having twins. I have been paying attention enough to notice what Sarah’s strengths are and what Livvie’s strengths are, and they are very different. Sarah is very strong in the language area, as evidenced by that moment we had the other night. She also already has my knack for remembering song lyrics. I’ve always chalked mine up to being a musician; I’m a classically trained pianist and I’ve been taking guitar for about seven years now. Hers just seems to come with that strong grasp of words and memory. Livvie thrives in art, music, and motor skills. She doesn’t need much help from me to create some pretty impressive art pieces, and yesterday afternoon I watched as she set up her own little three piece band—of piano, Tupperware container, and piece of paper—and went to patting out a rhythmic pattern even my guitar teacher would be impressed with. The girl’s got chops! Watching this, I realize what will be one of my biggest creative challenges involving my children: how to bring out the best in each when they are the exact same age and nearly inseparable. My challenge will be in guiding them both to thrive in the areas they excel, yet still keep them on target in the areas they don’t…and figure out how to do it all at the same time! Yikes! I’m open to suggestions!

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aimee said...

great to meet you kelly! isn't it amazing what those little girls can do when you sit back & let them take the creative reins?

cath c said...

thanks for the mention, glad it inspired!