Thursday, July 22, 2010

Asking Permission

L does something so cute, sweet and surprising. She asks me permission to do things all the time! Odd things, that I would never say no to. Like "can I play with sister?" Well, yes, of course. Or things that I would never think a 2 year old would think to ask permission to do. A few days ago, she reached for something off my plate and then stopped her hand mid air and said "Go ahead?" If she see that I am busy or talking, she will even whisper it in my ear!

It makes me laugh, because her personality is just so different from E's. Then again, their experiences being 2 years old are quite different as well.

I posted a while back (I think I blogged about it, I know I talked to people about it) how L would say "yes!" all the time. I didn't expect it to last forever, in fact it wouldn't be healthy if it did, but having a 18 month old who would say yes to every request and question was quite adorable. I liked to think that it was because I try to say yes often to her. I don't succeed as much as I'd like, but I sure say YES now more often than I did when E was this age.

The last 2 months or so, L suddenly got the toddler NO down, just before her 2nd birthday this month. My experience with it was so different than with E. I now know not to be concerned about defiance and it's not a battle to win. It's a healthy sign of emotional growth and independence. She's figuring out who she is, that she has different preferences than I do, and stating that in one simple word. So, this time around I can just smile and distract her or work out some agreeable solution.

I was not expecting her to start asking for permission and I have to wonder where it comes from. It's not like she sees her sister asking all the time. I mean, E does ask sometimes, but often she just states what she wants to do or just does it. She's far more assertive. And it's not like L is concerned about punishment if she does something of which I don't approve. I'm glad to say that unlike E at this age, L has no concept of punishment. I was actually vaguely concerned about it being a people-pleasing tendency. Her strong NO at times is actually a relief of that concern. Yes, I am really relieved that my child is not perfectly compliant! But the asking permission remains really sweet and quite baffling.

Writing her Name

E was writing quite a few letters for a while and then the last few months pretty much stopped. She still did lots of "writing" in her notebooks, but it was mostly I, O, and U over and over. I wondered why she had stopped practicing other letters, but didn't say anything. Sometimes we write together and I would write words down for her to see. She likes to make lists- grocery lists or to pretend that we are at a restaurant and will write down our order. So we would take turns writing words, her writing combinations of I, O and U and me writing actual words.

This week she went to Vacation Bible School for the first time. On the first day when I picked her up, she showed me where she had written her name on the back of a picture she drew. I asked the teacher if it was done by herself and she said yes. One letter was backwards and one was missing, but for an 8 letter name, pretty good!

The next day she wrote her name again at home and it was missing several letters. She looked at it for a minute and said, "Wait! That's not right." And sounded out what it *actually* said. Then she asked me to write it for her so she could copy it and I did. She copied it perfectly.

The funny thing about all this is that the last few weeks she has been watching more tv than usual. D has been out of town for work, and I have been juggling the kids, my part of the apartment complex work and his maintenance work. On top of that, my car broke down, so we have been walking everywhere. All this has meant that I have less time to be as engaged with her.

I'm not proud of being less engaged, but at the same time I do see an interesting trend. When she has more periods of tv watching it seems to be that her mind is churning something over and she comes out of it with a new skill. I am becoming less and less concerned about the ebbs and flows of our lives and learning to just ride the waves. We have periods of time where we are constantly looking things up on the internet, doing science experiments, getting lots of books at the library, having wonderful, engaging discussions. Then we have times where there is a lot of watching tv, she plays by herself more yet at the same time is more emotionally needy. Lately she's been saying "I'm feeling shy," which if you know her is kind of funny. She is extremely outgoing! But she means that she is kind of DONE with people right then.

I am looking forward to D coming home so I have more time to be engaged with her. Even though she seems to be in a cacoon phase, I would like for it to be one where I am readily available if needed rather than too busy for her. But I am not stressing about this season. It will pass and come again, because life is full of those ebbs and flows.