There are very few things in my life that I've made a conscious choice to quit - my Ph.D. Chemistry career being one of them after more than a year of trying to juggle that with being a mom to a child who it turns out was not a typical baby. Generally once I've set my mind to doing something it is going to happen one way or another. It has been a good thing, for the most part, to be so stubborn, or to put it nicely, persistent. It is one piece of my character that I'm happy to see I passed along to my daughter. Although at times it can be annoying (like when she's asking for a cookie right before dinner time) her strong will is going to be a key ingredient in overcoming her challenges and being all that she can be in spite of them. I've been thinking about this a lot for the past couple of days after watching her through a couple of gymnastics classes.
These classes are challenging from the get go - happening at the end of a six hour day of school, and with a somewhat awkward transition home, eat snack, get ready, go period. The environment is noisy, busy, and full of bouncy children and adults speaking loudly to be heard above the din. They don't always give instructions near her or with direct eye contact or in short one step phrases, so I see my daughter looking at the other kids to see what they're doing as her method to "do the right thing." With all of this already challenging her system I watch her do physical activities that a year ago she was unable to even begin. At the most recent class she was supposed to hop on one foot from one hula hoop to another for a length of about 20 feet. She got tired at the end and missed a few or had to land with both feet, etc, but this is a child who a year ago could barely stand on one foot for 3 seconds. She is working hard at these sessions and I'm proud of her desire to do well.
I have to be careful as I watch the other children in the class. I don't know their stories. They look fairly typical, but I know the folly of that cursory exam. Still it bothers me to watch them goofing around and not really trying at all to do the various activities well. The contrast is amazing to me. Rather than being irked at the rascals that don't seem to give a rip I'm trying to focus on praising my daughter's persistence. It's her story I know from first breath to tonight's good night kiss. We're working toward a happy ending for this one.