A few years back a discussion about a loose tooth led to how we’re all different and how we learn at a pace all our own. It’s what we like to call a teachable moment in our house. It happens to be a discussion I’ve had in my head many times. It also happens to be a discussion I’ve had a few times with the kids, but always a tad different.
Gage asked how weird it would be if he knocked out a tooth if the new one wasn’t ready to come in. I reminded him about the three years we were waiting for Quinn’s to grow in after she fell not one time but two. “Remember that Dr. Teddy had to pull it?” And Gage paused for a few seconds and said, “Oh yeah, why did she fall so much? I never fell that much.”
I thought to myself I have to say what I’m going to say carefully because it involves his own developmental delays. Teachable moment.
So I told him that Quinn had trouble standing and walking because her muscles weren’t working right and it took her a really long time to be able to walk without falling and still yet, she falls when you wouldn’t think she would. Just last night she missed seeing a little step on the way into the pool and fell scraping both knees. I told him he could walk at an earlier age than she could and it was probably because his eyes worked a little better than her eyes. I told him that she could read earlier but he was a whiz at math a whole lot faster.
I said you know how I’m better at computers than daddy? Did you know that he is way better at paying our bills than I am? We all have things we learn faster or do better and it’s because we’re all different. We talk, walk, see, and learn differently. It’s not bad, just how it is. You are like you are and everyone else is just like they are.
We talked about some of the kids he knows and how one draws really well and how another leaves the class for help with something and how a few leave for extra science because they are really good at science. We talked about how he was great at math, rock and tree climbing and making up creative stories (one day I’ll publish his story about mean jelly fish).
We ended the conversation talking about his tooth again and how we could get it out of his mouth.
Later I was thinking that how I’ve handled the little conversations in the past about their differences (kidneys, eyes, learning) really prepared me for today, for this conversation. At the beginning of the talk I’d been worried about saying the right thing and saying it the right way. What I hadn’t realized is that I had I already known what and how to say it. I realized I worried about nothing because I’d trusted my instincts, which never fails me.
How do you talk about your kids’ differences with them?
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