Everyone at this point in my blog knows that my son faces some unique challenges when it comes to learning. He was a 31 week preemie that faced interuterine distress for an unknown amount of time before he even saw the world for the first time as a result of me having Chorio. He had an abnormal ultrasound at birth. And as he grows, it has become apparent that the way that he learns is almost solely by tremendous amounts of repetition and, more recently, totally visually.
My little right-brained wonder.
This is tricky for a mother that is as insanely left-brained such as myself. As a child, I only had to hear things once to absorb it. I could read a book and have the subject matter down without much ado.
Now Jp, on the other hand, learns by seeing. Not by doing, not by hearing, not by any of the ways that my analytic brain can come up with on it’s own. In truth, I do not even have any semblance of an imagination whatsoever. Watching me sitting down for imaginative play is like witnessing a prehistoric caveman attempting to bang rocks together to make a fire.
I suck at it.
I really, truly just cannot seem to do it. It is like my overly complex brain just cannot compute the simple act of “make believe”.
Here is a sad example of play therapy with momma:
Jp: *holds up Captain Hook toy* Hey you!
Me: *holding up another pirate* I am a Pirate. Arrrrrr.
Jp: Hey you.
Me: I like to do pirate things…um…like pillage and sail….um….
Jp: *smacks his toy into mine* Cwash!
Me: Ouch, you hurt me.
Thanks, Captain Obvious. All of us cannot be creative geniuses like you. Who would do our taxes, right?
So, I cheat. Whoa! Take it back a step there! Not on my husband! Or my taxes (I see you, big brother), for that matter. I cheat and let him watch Disney Junior. I know there are a million parents that think that TV is the parenting “devil” but I think it is magical.
Now, I could see that if your child learned everything from all different methods of teaching or if you were a creative powerhouse that could knock out an Emmy worthy puppet show but neither of those things is true in my world. No matter how much I (painfully) try.
But I can sit down and watch some Disney Junior with him and watch him picking up information at a rapid rate. It is bizarre. He is singing songs, learning phrases, understanding abstract concepts that I would have no idea how to explain, showing me things in the house and identifying them without me having to say it 5,676,868,686,868 times. Between that and the ABC Mouse programs on the computer…it is visual preschool for the creativity impaired.
Judge me if you will but it actually works. And, after three years of making flashcards that he throws around, playing songs that he hates and yells through, and trying to do craft projects that he could literally care less about so that I felt like a good mom, I have finally just had to “mom up” and admit that I cannot teach him in a way that he understands like the magicians of integrating visually stimulating images with language and learning tools at Disney Junior can.
Sometimes being a parent means that you have to know your failings and find something that works for you but, more importantly, for your child.
Do not ever let your feelings about yourself -or your own insecurities about motherhood- color your decisions in parenting. Trying to be the mom you think you should be does not do anyone any favors.
Especially your kids. Embrace what they need…not what makes you feel good about yourself. That, to me, is being a good mom.
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.