Since the family is now here, I’ve been getting up with Emma, so everyone else can sleep. Emma typically wakes by 6:30AM and often a bit earlier. Usually we go downstairs and sit together on the couch.
“Go to other pool?” Emma said this morning.
“Okay, but Joe just drove in from Denver last night, so maybe tomorrow.”
“Go to Glenwood pool tomorrow,” Emma said, nodding her head.
“Yeah. Maybe tomorrow. Joe’s probably pretty tired today.”
“Joe’s coming,” Emma replied.
“No. He’s here!” I said pointing upstairs. ”He got in late last night. He’s sleeping,” I explained.
“Joe’s sleeping. Joe! Can we go to the other pool? I want to go to the Glenwood pool!”
“Okay, Em. We’ll ask Joe when he wakes up. How about doing our work in the study room?” I asked.
“Do study room in Mommy’s bed,” Emma said. Before I could answer she added, “No, not going to do study room in Mommy’s bed. We have to go to Mommy’s office just with Joe!”
“Exactly, Em. We have to show Joe what we’re doing.” I told her. ”We have to wait until Joe wakes up.”
“We have to wait,” Emma said.
After Emma made her toast and ate it, she said, “Go see Joe.”
“We have to wait, Em. He’s tired. We need to let him sleep. Okay?”
“We have to wait,” Emma said sadly.
Eventually Joe appeared and Emma jumped up and down, “It’s Joe! Joe’s here! Go to study room with Joe?”
Emma and I are doing the next level of her literacy program. It’s a big step from what we’d been doing and it’s difficult for Emma. We watch a video and then do some computer work spelling one word. It is the same word repeated over and over in the story. Emma then must find the right letters on the keyboard to spell the word as well as find the word within the story. Emma does pretty well with all of that, but when we go to handwriting, it’s as though Emma has forgotten all her letters that we’ve been working on over the past few months.
The first day I found myself becoming frightened and by yesterday I felt abject terror. Terror at the idea she won’t be able to do this next level, frightened that it’s more than her mind can retain. I imagine she senses my fear in addition to her own anxiety and the whole thing snowballs, making it even more difficult for her. I am relieved Joe is here, so that he can work with her a few times. Perhaps his calm demeanor will have a positive effect on her, allowing her to relax enough that she can just concentrate on the work.
“Your fear is palpable,” Richard observed last night.
“I know it is,” I answered. ”I am terrified she won’t be able to learn this. And then I go off to the next thought and the next, it’s horrible.”
And it is. But it’s my fear and has little to do with anything that is actually happening. I must learn to manage this fear as it’s getting in the way of Emma’s learning. I must compartmentalize it. My worries are not helping Emma. I say this in my head while I am working with her – these are my fears, they are not real, they are just thoughts. They do not mean anything, they are just fears. They are not real, they are not real.
Repeat as necessary.