As with most people, I have a mental "bucket list" for the summer, but mine mostly consists of things I want my boys to achieve. For Bryce, I really really REALLY want(ed) him to be sitting on his own by his first birthday, and I want him to be scooting/crawling proficiently by the end of the summer. For Connor, potty training and bike pedaling are the goals.
The 4th of July is the unofficial mid-summer mark (remember, I'm still on teacher-time), and I got a little down/frustrated seeing that these goals are not being achieved. Short of a miracle, there is no way Bryce is going to be sitting on his own by the time his b-day rolls around in 3 weeks. He is so proficient at rolling to get where he wants, that I fear we won't achieve the crawling goal either, but there's still time for that one :). Connor is refusing potty training (he has amazing control though...he just held his pee for 5 hours this morning) and will hardly take his trike out of the garage, let alone pedal it. Upon thinking about these things, I started on a path of self-abuse...am I not working with them enough? What am I doing wrong? Are my efforts actually setting them back, instead of moving them forward? It seems as though Bryce hasn't changed much since May--why is his development stalling?
Then, the other day, I had an epiphany. Bryce's development hasn't stalled. He has been very busy, in fact. He has discovered how to be silly. He can put his pacifier in his own mouth. He has sprouted three teeth. He has become much more vocal (a really good sign for kids with DS). He can pace himself with his sippy cup. Two weeks ago, he was struggling with finger foods--now he gets about 70% of the food in his mouth on the first try. Whoa. He's developing like crazy--just not in the ways I planned.
Connor needs to be potty trained in order to start preschool. He's just not doing it. It's a huge cause of stress for me, but I don't want to discuss it. It's too much. I want him to be able to get a bike next summer, but he doesn't want to learn to pedal. He's driving me nuts with these things. Why? Why not just revel in the amazing things that child says and does? He's hilarious. He's creative. He's so stinking smart. He may not be ready for preschool in the potty area....but he subtracts his Skittles as he eats them. He knows about canyons and geysers and measuring things by "units". He bakes imaginary cakes-measuring out all the correct ingredients. The other day, he asked me to count by 9s to 99, 8s to 88, 7s to 77, all the way down to 1s to oney-one :) He's awesome. Yes, he needs to get potty trained (prayers needed), but why should that be my only measure of his success this summer?
We often hear about parents living vicariously through their kids. I won't necessarily need to do this, as my parents always found a way for me to experience all I wanted to experience. But, I am certainly guilty of trying to get my kids to fit my mold....and they are doing a great job of showing me that's not necessarily how it's going to be. What wonderful lessons these little ones can teach us, if we'd only get out of our own way and listen.