Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Proud Little Girl

The littles have just about finished their pre-reading curriculum.  We have taken it slow.  No need to rush five year olds, especially when the youngest has only spoken English for just over a year, right?
We have colored, we have rhymed, we have traced and traced and traced the letters, and we have read...though I was convinced not nearly enough.

I ordered the next level...All About Reading, Level 1 and it's companion, All About Spelling which I have used with Gracie this year and loved.  She is moving up to Level three, much to her happiness!

The box arrived today and the three youngest descended upon the pile of glossy new workbooks and accessories like it was Christmas morning.

How I love new curriculum!

Gracie gasped at the book about homophones, amazed that she is old enough and ready to learn and work out of such a grown-up looking book.  Drew flipped through the book for a split second, then headed upstairs to yell up to DJ that he's gonna learn to read.  (He is so excited.  He has been asking me constantly how to spell things for the past couple of weeks.  He is ready, and I can't wait to see his world open up when he truly discovers all that is contained in a great book.)

Mari opened her book to page one.
I lifted my eyes from the invoice (where I realized I had forgotten to order the letter tiles so each child would have their own set.  Darn.) and my mouth hung open in absolute surprise.

"C.  A.  T."
"R.  U.  G."
"Y.  A.  K."
"C.  U.  P."
"M.  A.  N."

"Mari, you are reading!"

She grinned and continued, turning page after page and so incredibly proud of herself.  Katie and Gracie stood by, eyes wide with admiration.

"Oh, my gosh, you are doing it!  Miss Priss, you are one smart girl!  I can't believe you are reading all by yourself!"

She ran around the table where her book lay open and threw her arms around me in delight.  I stood shocked and excited as I realized how easy it is going to be to teach her now.  Over the past year, her desire to learn had most definitely waxed and waned.  One day she would write her name perfectly and the next decide that she never knew how and nothing could make her.  She would refuse to try something and then sit in fuming jealousy when Drew did it happily and got praised for his work.  One battle of wills after another.  But this?  No one made her do this.  This is her own discovery about herself.  She really is smart, and I think for the first time she sees it. She did something completely on her own, not mimicking a sibling or anyone else.  This was all her.

Or was it all HIM?

Bedtime came and kids went upstairs to don their pajamas.  I sat at the computer ordering those letter tiles that I had forgotten.  All of a sudden, Mari appeared over my left shoulder.  And with such overflow of emotion she said, "I love you, Mommy."

"I love you, too,"  I returned with a grin.  She bounded upstairs and then it hit me.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times she has said that first. Usually it is in response to me saying it to her.  Too often it has been to compete with an older sibling's gush of emotion.

But this was different than it has ever been before.

This was out of the abundance of her heart.  She had to say it or she would burst.  This was a huge milestone for her...accomplishing something big without any prompting from us and seeing us be truly amazed at her ability.

Tears filled my eyes as I thanked God for this gift.

One more brick removed.  Another piece of her heart entwined to mine in this ever-evolving dance of attachment.

I am smiling as I think of her expression as she went to bed.  That sweet smile on her face and the sound of her voice telling her Daddy that she can read "bat" now and her request for a Dora the Explorer book when she learns to read all her words.

I will be more than happy to buy her that new book...and at the rate she is going it will be soon!

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