This weekend was our homeschool association summer family dance. 80s themed. Everyone was invited to come in costume, and my girls were determined to accept that invitation. So on Saturday, after chores, we dug through our closets and costume bins to find what we could, then we headed out to a local thrift shop to fill in the gaps.
While we were there I found a pair of tennis shoes for A5. Hers disappeared a month or so ago. We've turned the house and van upside down trying to find them all to no avail. I bought the shoes; they're pink . . . with laces.
So far in her short life A5 has only had shoes that fasten with velcro.
The adventure has begun.
We sat down on Sunday to learn to tie shoes. I was determined to work slowly and patiently. She was convinced she could do it perfectly the first time.
Shoe tying is hard work.
I watched her pudgy little hands--still baby hands in so many ways--struggle to copy what my experienced hands can do so easily. She cried. She threw the laces away from her and shouted, "I can't do this!" She collapsed on the floor with her arms over her eyes.
I said, "We don't have to do this right now. We can take a break. You're learning. You're doing a good job. It just takes lots of practice."
She pulled herself to a sitting position, "No! I want to do this now!"
We tried again. She caught on to the first 2 steps just fine, but helping that rabbit run around the tree and dive into his burrow is hard.
I tried to tell her she was doing fine and we could take a break and do it some more another day, but she just wiped her tears away and tried again.
Then E12 came up and said, "You should just teach her to make 2 bunny ears and tie them together."
I'd already considered that but had dismissed it as actually harder than the way we were doing it because of the difficulty of keeping track of 4 layers (2 laces bent double) of laces.
I asked A5 if she wanted to try a new way.
She threw herself on the floor, kicked her feet, cried, shouted that she wanted to learn the way mom was teaching her or she wouldn't learn anything.
At which point I declared the lesson over.
Even though there was so much high drama and intensity of emotion I am impressed with the determination of my small girl. She is still so very young. She has so much growing to do. She has so much to learn. Every day is a challenge. Every day she gets up with her game face on and works at mastering the world in which she lives.
No wonder she cried.
I hope she'll feel brave enough to try again today.