Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lucky 7

I've been contemplating this post for a long time. There are some things I avoid writing about on my blog because I don't really want to post things about my kids that may come back to haunt them, but I also appreciate when people post things that are not easy to talk about but may be helpful to some.

This has been a huge year for Em. It's impossible to have two girls and not compare them, but my two girls are so different that I'm learning there is just no comparison at all. One glaring difference is in development. Being a first time mom, Kt's early development sort of made little impression on me until Em came along. =) I've learned that there were things Kt did at a very young age that I just can't expect from Em. At the same time, Em's laid back attitude and compassion have been a reminder to me that I need to slow down and smell the roses once in a while.

A year ago, I had a six year old first grader who struggled with handwriting, was more interested in who she sat with at lunch and played with at recess than what reading book she was being forced to read and who still was unable to make it through the night without wetting the bed! The first two I chalked up to development, the last, however, was really starting to have me very worried. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd still be buying Pull-ups for my first grader! Nor did I think I'd have a 6-year-old who would be OK with that, to the point of having anxiety over not wearing a diaper to bed at night. We had tried nights without them, she would either wake up in the morning very proud of making it through the night with several stained spots on her stinky bed, or she'd get herself a towel and change her own clothes without even getting us up.

I had my own anxiety issues over this issue. I'd thoroughly researched the many possible causes of this problem and was a phone call away from getting my daughter into some kind of program for kids with this "problem". I knew it was only a matter of time before she would be invited to sleepovers and not be OK with wearing a Pull-up at someone else's house. I knew we would soon be facing the taunting of "friends" who could not believe she was a bed-wetter. I knew I did not want to be purchasing diapers for a seemingly normal child, especially since she was already outgrowing what was available to us in the store!

Finally, on her seventh birthday, something changed. She was the first one to call it her "Seven-year-old miracle", but that phrase is something we refer to less frequently now. I don't really know what happened, but she began to be able to make it through a night. Even she was shocked and delighted. Since her 7th birthday, I think I can count the number of accidents she's had on one hand. This past summer, flying overseas overnight, she did not freak out about whether or not we'd allow her to use a Pull-up on the plane. She didn't have an accident in a hotel bed. She has been dry all night for almost a year - and I finally feel like I can celebrate a bit!

Not only that, but about 2 weeks ago, we all noticed a marked difference in her handwriting. It seriously was an overnight improvement without any effort on her part. I don't really understand how something like that can transpire, but not only is she having an easier time with handwriting, she is actually wanting to write. While we fought all summer through her summer packets, arguing over how many sentences she HAD to write for everything, she is now adding words in here and there to make her sentences "just right". I am so excited, because it's giving me a feeling like I may not have to spend another year fighting with her to complete homework and all her incomplete assignments for the day.

On top of all that, she came home last week and happily announced that she was the ONLY one in her class who volunteered to be in a Gifted and Talented book club that meets Fridays during recess to read the book Frindle. I didn't want to completely squash her enthusiasm, but she is far from that reading level. Even Kt, who was many levels above Em at this point, did not join that same book club until May of her second grade year. T and I decided to allow her to try it out with the condition that she drop out if she felt it was too difficult. In order to prepare her for the possible embarrassment, I had her read the first page of the book for me today. She read the whole page with almost no help from me - and I have to admit, I was shocked. Something has happened - I have no idea what!

This year is shaping up to be a much better start than I'd anticipated. Maybe having lower expectations helps, but really being pleasantly surprised by my 7 year old is having a bigger impact on my outlook for this year. She amazes me! I am hopeful this won't be short-lived, but I'm writing about it to remind myself (and her someday) of the growth she made in leaps and bounds in her lucky 7th year of life. Wahoo!


Linda said...

awesome!! You sound like a very proud mom & you should be. God Bless!!!

Kathryn said...

That is very exciting! So cool for Em, and mom! :-)