Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Children Learn what they Live

I love my daughter very much.

Lily on our camping trip

I tend to be oversensitive about a great many things, but never about Lily. When she gets mad, she'll say the most hurtful thing she can imagine. Lately, it's "I'm going to find my real daddy!" This really bothers Jen, who tends to be phlegmatic about most other things, but I'll just laugh and say, "Pass me my car keys. I'll help you find him."

I know that she loves me. I'm poisoned with uncertainty, but this is one thing I know for sure. I love that she thinks about things and pipes up with odd comments like "Ultron's not really indestructible, because the Hulk can break him," or "Did it hurt when Daredevil got chemicals in his eyes?"

I think she's going to face increasing pressure to conform and in a few years, she's going to drift towards her friends and away from mommy and daddy, and I think she'll lose interest in the games and the things we do together.

We were camping with another family last weekend, and the other mom had her Nook with her. (I had mine too, but hers had a lot more kid's games on it. Mine was mostly full of PDFs.) One of the games she had was FlipPix Art. It's a nonogram puzzle game, where you have to determine which squares on the grid have to be painted or broken based on the numbers above a specific column or row. If there is a 5 above a column, you know that five consecutive blocks must be painted, if there is a 1 2, it means that one block is painted, followed by a break, then two consecutive blocks must be painted in the same row. On the kiddie puzzles, the grid is 5 x 5, and at least one row has a clue that allows you to figure out the puzzle pretty easily.

I downloaded this game once we got home (It's free, huzzah!) and I have two little stories about it.

It's interesting to watch Lily play it. She has a superb memory. When we play memory games on the computer, I'll move the mouse and she'll tell me which cards to flip. She's rarely wrong. With the FlipPix puzzles, she's eschewing the clues almost entirely and trying to solve them through brute force, trial and error. If she makes a mistake, she'll make a note of it, reset the game and start that puzzle over. She's astoundingly tenacious, and this approach works for her, but I'm amazed she can do it without getting frustrated.

The other thing is, I thought it would be neat to show the game to Jen. Lily explained it to her, and Jen tried it out, but accidentally pressed the wrong button after she had highlighted a number of squares, and smashed them instead of painting them. She grumbled a little bit, but Lily just reached over and restarted the game, saying, "It's okay. We all make mistakes sometimes. I used to do that too." She was kind when she said it, and so gentle. It was the voice I try to use when talking to her.

I was thinking of the little Children Learn what the Live poem. My family had it when I was growing up and we have a copy on our fridge.

I think it's very true, and I'm glad that she's kind. And when she faces the peer pressure later in life, I hope we've helped her become a strong and gentle person who can weather the vicissitudes of childhood and come out on the other side.

1 comment:

  1. Lily is an amazing little girl, and I hope you know it's because you and Jen are such great parents.