Thursday, November 19, 2009

Revelation of the Day

My sweet little daughter is really really smart. She reads and can do all kinds of math and knows everything there is to know about dogs. And yet, she can hardly walk through a room without falling flat on her face, Sandra-Bullock-from-Miss-Congeniality-style. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. (But only a bit.) She just doesn't pay too much attention to her environment, and that can cause problems for all of us.

Today, I asked her to "Please move!" for about the fifth time while I was bringing groceries into the house. She then moved directly into my path--for about the fifth time. Near disaster--for about the fifth time.

So I said to her, "Honey. Do you know what I need you to do when I say 'Please move?' I need you to look with your eyes, figure out which direction I'm going in, and move AWAY from me. I need you to move in a different direction from me."

She just stared at me and said "Oooohhhhhh. Well okay! I can do that!"

Later, in another situation, I asked her to "Please move out my way!" and she stopped and looked around--and then moved away from me. It was a glorious thing!

So which of us had the revelation? I'd say we both did, don't you think? Because I'm pretty smart, too, and it never once occurred to me that she needed me to explain that!


9to5to9 said...

I am really going to have to try this, because I have lost count of the number of times a day I say "please move" in ever-increasing decibel levels.

Good one!

Realist Theorist said...

Ha! ha! This is so familiar... not the particular example, but the general situation.

Every now and then I find that something I thought was completely obvious to my son.... was not. Then, I might state the obvious, only to a get a "why didn't you say so before" reaction.

Having a kid made the notion of tabula rasa extremely concrete for me.

Rational Jenn said...

It is SO nice to know I'm not alone! :o) I hope this works for you, 9to5.

It is amazing the things that they really truly don't know. What's equally amazing to me is that you have to explain certain things to one kid, but don't have to explain them to another kid. I have no memory of ever needing to explain this "move out of the way" idea to my son--but he is very body-aware, and nosy enough to want to know where I'm going and why.

My daughter (like my husband) is one of those people who could sit serenely in the middle of a room while chaos swirls around her, never taking notice of it.

Raising children is certainly one of the most interesting endeavors I've ever undertaken!

Hanah said...

This reminds me of Montessori's realization that kids need to be taught how to blow one's nose.