Today will be a busy day, but before I begin, I wanted to get this post in as I didn't have a chance in the last few days.
On Monday, Nathan came over to stay with grandma and as usual it was a "first" for many things. These are the things I hoped to record before I forget.
One of the firsts was the fact that he can now reach the light and fan combination chain, which is located in the kitchen, and he pulled it on and with a grin, I saw in him the look of achievement. There will be many such moments in Nathan's life.
Grandmother's reinforce. I showed him a trick to get his shoes on the right feet, as he is unsure which sneaker goes on which foot. It was off to the church to water the plants, and that meant taking his little watering can with us. What a pain it is to have to stop and refill, yet he loves helping grandma and we played getting each other wet and teasing each other. I still love to play as much as he does. He rode his new scooter around the place, and I had to teach him to ride on the side of the road in order not to go too fast down the middle. Even though he had his hat on, I could sense his discomfort at thinking that he was going to lose control. I know a lot of men in my life like that. A little coaxing and everything was okay. He likes knowing that someone is by his side.
Nathan still gets apprehensive about certain things, like the bouncy house that was deflated Monday, and enjoyed by many children on Sunday, the day of our festival. He resolved the questioning about not participating by saying he'll do it when he is five. The funny thing is that this is his mindset and he probably will do it then, when he is ready. He kept talking about it though, just like the fans which make a lot of noise. Children have little fears. It is a part of the learning process. Some can be coaxed through, other fears take time, patience and understanding. And, it's okay.
I've seen grown men who are afraid to fly. He helped me to water with the hose, and we examined the produce, calling everything by name, and counting as we deposited the water over each and every plant. (This is a positive reinforcement of numbers). Then, he helped me move the hose around and roll it up. He enjoyed turning the faucet on the barrel off. A man has to do a man's work. We obtained a chair from the open pavilion, and placed a hook on the squirrel proof bird feeder in order to hang it on a more secure branch.
Nate didn't even realize how tired he was only that he had worked up an appetite, so off we went home to grandma's house for lunch. Having enjoyed his lunch, he got vanilla ice cream for dessert. It was an understanding that he had to earn it by being a good listener.
After lunch I allow him to play with his favorite toy planes, and trucks and cars then, it was time for puzzles and books, and creative work. He loves the sticker books with all his favorite trucks, saying if he saves enough money "can I buy all of them?" Learning the value of things takes a long time. But there is a lesson in learning to put money aside in his bank. Money he earns by being grandma's helper.
I noticed that if I initiate the puzzle it makes it fun for him to finish. He learns to feel a sense of accomplishment, and competitiveness, saying I beat you, grandma. That will be the story at every level in his life. Funny, I saw it in the newly married couple at our church the day of our festival. Who can beat and who can be better at...A wise woman learns that if she lets her male competitor win, then she becomes the real winner in the end. A man's ego is tender.
When it came to writing his letter's, I understood that the motor skills are just developing and to push him to do more than a few would be discouraging. I use words like down this road and circle, following the direction of the arrow and stop. He is very conscientious and by nature careful which means that he does a very good job. We have a drawing board, and when the workbook is put away, I encourage him to use it to demonstrate the letters he learned. When it comes to the capitol "A" I noticed that he draws the letters correctly but has trouble knowing how to angle the lines. I asked him if he knew what a triangle was? He did. Then I showed him the three dot trick. One at the top and two at the bottom. I left the room, and when I came back he had drawn a perfect "A." These sessions are fun and brief and always earn him a favorite snack, a chocolate chip cookie.
This little man is no different than other men, thinking about the reward.
His mind is amazing! He thinks like an engineer. At the pavilion he looked up and saw the "air conditioners" and as a matter of fact, upon entering the car and from his car seat, he said, "grandma turn my air conditioner on." I've owned that car for years and didn't even know we had one back there. And, he knows how it is operated.
He is not allowed to leave toys or shoes or anything else lying around where people can trip over them unexpectedly. He removes them quickly when I remind him, without grumbling. Why, because he is a good listener and that gets him little chocolate bits to either take home or eat on the bench. At grandma's its always about the reward, grandma's little secret in developing good listening skills. I enjoy Nathan so much. He is always so well behaved for me. He brings laughter and joy to my heart. Just hearing the sound of the little boy voice is music to my ears. I am teaching him to sing "You are my Sunshine." That he is, sunshine to us all.
And secret of anticipation works on men of all ages. Something I learned from Bill's grandmother Leona, always give them a treat to take home in a small bag. It makes them feel "special." And aren't we after all, special?
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