[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]esterday was the big day. Last week, A. received her last little letter for her matching game. Then, we practiced the game for three more days, always remembering that next week, on Monday morning, A. would receive her very first reading lesson.
And she was so excited. Every day she asked me if today was the day. She jumped up and down and wiggled and generally revealed that her entire self was full of joy over this new prospect.
On Monday morning, Neighbor M. had her regular reading lesson, and then I had all of the girls outside briefly to finish up snacks and give me a couple moments to prepare for A.’s lesson. I had forgotten about it over the weekend and hadn’t yet gathered her binder supplies.
A. came in early.
Is it time? she wanted to know.
I told her it wasn’t, that I still wanted to brew some coffee, but that she could wait for me on the couch if she wished.
And so she did.
Now, A. is my most emotional child. She is also a bit of a worrier. If I ever introduced anxiety into the learning process, I think she would shut down entirely.
So, as I was saying, she sat there. And as she sat, she began to think. And as she thought, she began to worry. And as she worried, she began to fret.
I saw her begin to physically collapse on herself, and she arched her back in a sort-of tantrum that was really more like physical distress.
Mom! she loudly whimpered.
But I can’t weed!
I know. That is why I’m going to teach you.
But what if I can’t wemember? What if I don’t do it wight? What if I forget the sounds, or say them wong?
My heart broke for her, and my mind flew into the future. I imagined all the numerous times I was going to be giving this child a pep talk. She doubts herself. She falters at the merest hint of criticism. You can do it! is going to be the theme of my relationship with her, I just know it.
And so that is what I said. You can do this, A…and I will help you. I know you’ll be just fine.
All of her doubts had even convinced me. I planned a much easier first lesson than I had done with the confident Neighbor M. I planned for only reading two pages in the first book instead of four. I expected her to forget her sounds. I was ready to pick her up with failure.
And she completely blew me away.
She needed very little coaching. She remembered everything in a way that is uncommon for this scatter-brained child of mine. She flew through the two pages, so I added two more.
She did it.
And she loved it.
You did it! I said.
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