Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Evaluating the Situation

I have been thinking about this girl. A lot. Thoughts of her have been in the back of my mind for a few weeks now. The question I pose to myself is "Am I doing the right thing for her?" This is not a new question. I am sure mothers have thought about this ever since time began and will continue to do so until time is complete.

I have been thinking about this more since my two granddaughters ( who are roughly the same age) who I love very much and are great kids, came to visit for a few days last weekend. To say there is a big difference is likely an understatement.

Abby and Eden are, how can I put this,... worldly, I guess. One has a slight crush on Justin Beiber, has attended 5 birthday parties in one month, loves her MP3 player, her french immersion classes and now skating lessons. The other knows how to phone various people on her mother's cell phone, can make her own food, get in and out of her car seat, wash and style her own hair and likes to watch So You Think You can Dance and Modern Family.  And then there's Athena. She actually thinks she is half animal. She tried to teach her cousins how to fly this past weekend. She plays with modelling clay for hours on end, can amuse herself outside with nothing but a stick and a pine cone. She doesn't know who Justin Beiber is,and she LOVES classical music, would not watch a sitcom on TV and still has me wash her hair and do the double check on the teeth brushing. Even though she is the oldest of the three, in many ways she seems to be the youngest.

Which got me to thinking... am I doing the right thing for her?

I have not a doubt in my mind that if she were in school she would be lost. It is difficult for me to keep her on task at home and that is one on one. She is very easily distracted and I don't think she would be reading as well as she does, if at all, if she were in public school. She does not have any trouble getting along with people. Any age people. She can talk with adults as well as children. She loves her cousins so much and gets so excited when they come to visit. On the third day, when they all leave she has had it. She is tired. She likes her alone time. In fact, they all left about 11am on Sunday morning. She was busy playing with her modelling clay and kind of watching Little Einsteins on the television. Three hours later, still playing with her clay, I said to her "Do you want to come say goodbye to Abby and Josie?" And her response was "Are they leaving right now?"

Some days I feel like putting her in every class I can think of, but I know she wouldn't like it, just so she can be with other kids more often. (She does play with neighborhood kids, more so in the warmer weather). Other days I feel like all of that "worldly" stuff can wait. Does she really need to deal with teachers labelling her? With kids laughing at her because she takes longer to put her snow suit on? Does she need to know she is not quite like other kids? Does she need to know who Justin Beiber is?  I don't think so.
It would be easier, I think, if she had a sibling, but that is out of the question.

I think of how it used to be, way back when, when there was a one room school house. There were no soccer practices and no birthday parties at the latest hot spot for kids. There was family. Children were taught how to behave, how to learn, the skills necessary for life on their own some day, to be kind and respectful of others.. And really, isn't that what we still need to teach them?

And as the title suggests, I am constantly evaluating the situation to see where we are and to see where we are going. I do the best I can do. The best I know how. And when I know better, I'll do better.


Sarah said...

I think all of your observations about Athena are just proof that you are doing a FANTASTIC job with her.

What a loving, whole, peaceful child she seems to be! What a gift you are giving her by preserving her childhood and giving her the space and time to breathe and grow in her own special way.

Dawn said...

It sounds to me like Athena is a lucky little girl, to have such a caring mama that does her best to meet her needs as an individual. I wouldn't worry about whether or not she's like other kids her age. Those traits that set her apart as different right now, could be the very same traits that will be celebrated, and help her to succeed later on in life.

Tara said...

Owen has a cousin the same age who attends school and you're right... the differences in interests and even development are obvious between them. I feel blessed for the differences and the fact that Owen seems to be taking his time growing up - really savoring the best parts of his youth and feels no pressure to keep up.

You are doing such a wonderful job with Athena - try not to worry - she's going to be a phenomenal woman just like her mama!!!!

house full of jays said...

What a beautiful post.
I have wondered so often myself when other kids are around my children - my children have no idea about Hannah Montana or High School Musical. They love things that other their age may have outgrown but I see the good that is growing in them every day and the skills they are learning that count for so much more.
Thanks for sharing!