Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Persistent Is A Better Word For It...

A few posts back, I wrote about Kai's stubborn streak. Persistence is a better word(well, I suppose the refusing to sign when she clearly knew what we were asking her to do was a bit of stubbornness). But, beyond being stubborn, lately I've observed a persistence and determination that I find both exhilarating and incredibly annoying. Kai really likes to do things by herself and for herself. I mean she REALLY likes to do things on her own. Really. As in - if you try to assist, she'll throw herself on the floor in a fit or start to scream at the top of her lungs. I want her to do things herself, but every once in awhile it'd be great if she'd just let me do it for her.

Like eating. We are no longer allowed to feed her. She can feed herself, thank you very much. And, as long as you sit back and let her have the fork and spoon, she is happy to try to get the pea onto the fork and balance it and then transfer it to the spoon and then - with great flair - fling it into her mouth. Of course, it usually ends up on the floor. And, it would be so nice if she would let us just load up the spoon a few times so she gets some actual nourishment. But, no. If you touch her fork or spoon, she will. not. open her mouth. No. It's like trying to pry an oyster open with your bare hands. It isn't going to happen. So, we let her feed herself. I suppose it's good she is interested in developing these skills. Good. And messy. And a little boring (the meals are soooo long). But, good.

And this weekend I took her to Children's Fairyland. It's this park in Oakland that has a bunch of storybook sets (based on various fairytales), rides, gardens, a train. For example, there are sets for the Old Lady in the Shoe, Peter Rabbit, Little Miss Muffet... you get the picture. You walk up to the set and you can look at (and in many cases climb inside or explore) the set. And, there's also a little sound box that you put a "magic key" into and it tells you the fairytale associated with the set. The first time we went to Fairyland, I didn't bother getting a key because I figured Kai wouldn't be that interested in the talking boxes. But, lately, she loves her little music cubes and other toys that play music or talk to her. So, this time, I bought her a key thinking she would enjoy listening to the music. I was close. She wasn't too interested in the music, but the key. THAT she wanted. As soon as she saw me stick the key into the first keyhole, she was hooked. She wanted to do that. The thing is, the key is grooved, and you have to insert it just right or it won't go. And then you have to turn it to get the music to start. Kailey watched me do it once and then grabbed the key and started poking at the hole. And poking. And poking. After about five minutes I said, "Kai, do you want me to show you?", while simultaneously reaching for the key. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" she screamed in response, whipping the key away from me, and promptly turning her attention back to the keyhole, calm as can be, pretending as though I hadn't just tried to steal her precious key and interfere in her new life's pursuit. Fine, I thought. There's no harm in this. Poking. Poking. Poking. After another 5 minutes, I was getting bored of watching her and feeling frustrated for her. Mind you, Kai was not the least bit frustrated. She was just trying to figure it out, turning the key, looking at the keyhole, trying again. Happy as a clam, really. But, I wanted to show her once more how to do it (I had only done it once -- I thought maybe further tutorial would help). Again, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO". But, this time I managed to get the key, which Kai responded to by sitting on the ground, hard, and crying. She clearly was not going to watch my tutorial. I handed her the key. She stood up, again as if nothing had happened, and continued her attempt at figuring out the key and the keyhole. After I-have-no-idea-how-long-but-a-really-really-long-time, she finally got the key in the damn thing. "WOO HOO!! Good Job!" I shouted, turning it for her so she could hear the song, turning it back, and removing the key for her. She was none too happy about me finishing the project for her, and snatched the key back from me, shooting me a look that said, "don't TOUCH it". She promptly started to try again, determined to complete the entire activity on her own. Sigh. And that was our day at Fairyland.

But, the thing is, she figured those keys out. And once she did it a couple of times on her own, she was ready to move on. So, we ended the day by riding the train, playing at the Pirate Ship that is surrounded by a giant sandbox, and exploring the music tunnel. But, the first hour, we spent at a box with a key. Thrilling. Clearly, I will be learning what we call "patience" in the coming years to cope with her persistence. And maybe patience will be its own reward because, really, it is cool to watch her figure things out on her own.

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