Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Picking up the Pieces

The one thing I have learned from putting a puzzle together with my son is…I am NOT a patient person. I try to fool myself into thinking I am, but when the rubber meets the road, or in this case, when the puzzle pieces fall out of the box, I immediately feel this need to control.

James is a funny kid. He’s athletic, coordinated, and I think he will even be a decent tap dancer. He always asks Caitlin or me to help him put a puzzle together, but puzzles are definitely not his thing. I am sure there are many styles of puzzle assembling. Some people may just dive right in and randomly try putting pieces together, but most people – I am sure – organize the pieces first, looking for edge pieces, then colors, then finally beginning putting the edge pieces together.
My frustration comes when James doesn’t understand what I trying to show him.
  • James, find the edge pieces. You know the ones that are straight on one side.
  • Okay, mommy. [He then proceeds to pull out pieces randomly and tries to place them together.]
  • James, look. This is an edge piece. Is this an edge piece?
  • Yes, ma’am. [It isn’t.]
  • No, James. THIS is an edge piece. Look here. Find me pieces like this. [This process takes a good 10 minutes or more.]
The process doesn’t get any better, so I shall spare you the gory details. Just know that we never did fully assemble the puzzle.How do you tell your son, no, you don’t want to put a puzzle together because he agitates you so? I ask myself where I went wrong. Did I not spend enough time at home with him? I was home with Caitlin for three years, and then she was home with my mother for two more years. What do they do at daycare? Should I change schools? My mother’s friend has a Montessori school designed to help children think critically. The problem being she is not a daycare and therefore I would need to find a second provider for the extra hours.

It is certainly a frustrating situation. I spend all day at school helping other children become better thinkers. Who is there to make sure my son is a logical problem solver?

I know, not every child’s strength is logical or mathematical. Some are good with their words. Some are more athletic. How do they become that way? Is there something I can do to give him an edge? Am I too uptight about this? Is he moving along at a good pace?

I don’t think I will ever truly know the answers to these questions.


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

That's a tough one...I have struggled with Adam for all of his 12 years...he was diagnosed with ADHD at 5...and I did my best to keep him off meds until he was 7....I tried diet, therapy...but after getting kicked out of numerous daycares and 4 million phone calls from the principal...there are days where I have just about given up...I truly worry about unlike your Son, Adam is a genius with puzzles, legos, models...anything that needs to be put together...he doesn't even read the instructions or look at the box the puzzle came in....they tell me that's part of his ADHD brain....but other things I worry about...he doesn't think logically....and it scares me....cuz I truly don't know how he will make it in the "real" world....totally feel your pain....I have lost my patience a time or two with Adam....{{{hugs}}} :):):):):):):)

miruspeg said...

Annemarie it takes all kinds of people to make this world interesting.
It does not matter in the slightest that James, at this early stage in his life doesn't put together puzzles well....but you know that.
He is a beautiful kid and has many attributes as you have stated. Of course he is moving along at a good pace.
Children thrive on love and he gets that by the bucket load.
So cease and desist right now Annemarie. James is in wonderful hands and has a beautiful family.

Lots of love
Peggy xxxx

MJ said...

I've been there too. It's the reason why I've rejected the Suzuki method for violin or piano. I just don't have patience. I have concluded that I may be the first teacher that my children have had but that there's merit in having others teach them too. Perhaps get your dh or Caitlin to do the puzzle with him instead? Maybe they can teach him too?

Roban said...

Peggy's right... It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round. So maybe puzzles aren't his forte. I like them (to an extent), and I'm the one in the family who'll put the bookshelves and chairs, and desks together.

Go dance with him! That sounds like much more fun for both of you!

.... I looked at your scrapblog again about your dad. My thoughts are with you.... I lost my mom eight years ago, yet she never really went away.

miruspeg said...

Annemarie that tribute scrapblog you made for your father last year moved me possibly more than it did a year ago.

There is a beautiful song by Belinda Carlisle called "My heart goes out to you".

"I see the tears you cry
They're tears I cannot dry
Know what you're going through
My heart goes out to you.

There's nothing I can say
To take your pain away
I'm not sure what to do
My heart goes out to you.

You know I feel so bad
To see you hurt so bad
But angels spread their wings
Over everything.

There's one thing no one knows
Why things go the way they go
We'll never have a clue
My heart goes out to you.

When you're overcome
When you need someone
I'll be the friend you need
Like you have been to me.

I see the tears you cry
One day they'll all be dry
But until they do

My heart goes out to you".

Big hugs and lots of love
Peggy xxxxxx

Shell said...

it happens to the best of us!
sometimes just taking a moment to throw in the towel, rest, and reevaluate is best.

i'm always comparing the kids, not on purpose and not in a hurtful way, but i always ask why isn't one like the other in this way or that and then i hear the ever so clear motherly response, "if we were all the same what a boring world we'd live in", funny how those quotes come back to haunt you.

AVT Coach said...

There is definitely a frustration in trying to work with a child who thinks differently than you. Notice I said differently. I have one daughter who thinks like me. It's usually pretty easy. My youngest thinks more like her dad. This has caused more than our share of frustrations but it has always taught me what Roban and Peggy are saying. We all have our different intelligences. There is value in spending time with the dancing!! :) I will say that some children develop strategies naturally and others need them to be taught. Not that puzzles are so important but is this filtering into other academic areas? You might find some dancing analogies to help him work a puzzle. Are their dance steps that reflect "edge". I am facinated with brain development and consider it a challenge to explore new ways of teaching. Let me know if you discover any that might help me in my work!

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