Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kid With No Edges

As summer wraps up, the twins are preparing to enter first grade in the fall.  Their experience in kindergarten was wonderful and they excelled in all avenues they encountered.  A big part of that, both Gina and I fely, had to do with the fundamentals they learned in Pre-K.  They came into kindergarten with the know-how already in place and were able to build on that strong foundation.  Now I know only a fraction of children are able to take advantage of the program, so I can't consider it a necessity, but it was certainly something we wanted Rosaline to take advantage of as well.  Unfortunately she was born two weeks late, just missing the cut off age limit.  We had petitioned to get her in, but were informed this week that they're already at capacity and can't make the exception for her.

Sounds like no big deal, she'll be a normal kindergartner in 2017, right?!  Well. .. Rosaline is her own drummer.  And by that I don't mean she's marching to her own beat, I mean she's animal from the Muppets wailing away and completely unconcerned with what ever anyone else is doing.  In the past 4 1/2 years she's shown herself to be completely unique and a point of concern for us, as her parents.  I often joke that my goal is to get three though college and keep one out of jail, and it's funny. ... but it rings a little true I'm afraid.  She's just so full of life and energy that she bounces off the surface of the planet like a racquet ball.  Trying to get her to stop for a moment in order to learn something is like asking the moon to come back and stay a while, it just isn't going to happen.  It's to our own detriment that the twins were exceptionally good at "learning" the traditional way.  Both are eager to please, both have great retention skills and both think logically.  This means that for me, a logical mind, it's easy to work with them and help them excel.

I got it in my head that it's our duty to get Rosaline up to speed if the pre-K program can't take her.  The last thing I want for her is to struggle in kinder early where her sisters succeeded and get down on herself comparing to them.  So I thought, in addition to our nightly bedtime story, we'll work in some mind games, like puzzles.  So last night, I sat down with her and a puzzle.  Oh ... my ....god.  I was desperately trying to explain the concept of working the edges first so you can give the image a boundary and work your way to center.  This did not register at all.  She's trying to shove straight edges into squiggly holes and putting trains upside down, in the sky, so they'll appease what she thinks I want her to do. ... it was maddeningly frustrating.

And then Gina said something to me.  "Kyle," she said.  "You're trying to put boundaries on a child who doesn't understand the concept of edges."  "Yes, I know," I snapped.  "No, you don't."  She continued, "in her world there is no edge to what she can do or what she can perceive.  In her world it's limitless, there's no reason for an edge to exist.  She see's the world in sections and pieces - focusing on this train and that tree - and she may work to an eventual ending point.  But to see the world - and in this case the puzzle - as a bordered, bound and measurable piece is not a reality that registers with her."  In essence, she's not logical, but the world doesn't have to be.

It was an "aha"moment for me.  While the world and I (and especially her future teachers) might try to teach her logic and force her mind to process the way we do, it's actually detrimental to the beauty of who she is.  We want her to be logical, but she's fantastical.  We want her to have order, but she sees beauty in chaos.  I want her to sit. ... but she's designed to fly; and god damn me for ever thinking I needed to bring her down to my level "for her own good".  If anything, I should be working on how to fly up there with her. 

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