The cup is fabulous when it’s half full.

by Mrs. Smith on December 31, 2017

I had a great opportunity to give my New Year’s Resolution a little dress rehearsal yesterday. Grab your popcorn and snuggle in, cuz here come all the sordid details.

Here’s a picture to give you a little stamina to get through it. You’re welcome.

This was Christmas. Oh, I love these two.

On with the story!

So, it’s after lunch on Saturday.
The lull of “what should we do” kicks in.
The 4yo enthusiastically agrees to “do the reading book” with me.
It may have been her idea, actually.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons? Ha. False advertising at its finest.
It’s more like, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Mind-Numbingly Tedious Yet Effective Lessons.

We’re on lesson 12. She started it clear back in August, I think.
Like I said, I’ve been working up to this “lower the bar” resolution for a long time.

So anyway, we’re working through it together in the hammock and she’s being a good sport about it but she’s really not getting the blending-sounds-together business. We did lesson 11 yesterday so this makes 2 days in a row, whaaaaat?! Overachiever, here, watch out! – but the previous 10 lessons were spread out over, like, 20 weeks. Hard to build on skills when they’re hit and miss like that.

She sails through the single sounds. Rocks the rhyming world like she’s a boss.

4 words.
There are just 4 little words on the page
and she’s already read 2 of them.

I’m being the patient coach. I totally made things easy for her yesterday when we sailed through lesson 11, and she wants a repeat of Easy Street, but today I really want to see her do the magic herself a little bit. She’s a smart kid. She can do it. She doesn’t like it when it gets hard, but she loves the little games we play to make it fun. Talking fingers with snarky attitudes who fall down when she gets the word right. That sort of thing.

It’s taking forever. No joke, like, longer than it’s taking you to get to the end of this post, I kid you not.

Eventually I pull out the bribe to help get her over that mid-lesson hump.

“Hey, I have an idea! When we finish, you can watch a SuperWhy episode!”

Yes! Oh, the joy.

But, oh, the not-getting-it-ness. Oh, the “I’m-so-done-with-this”-ness. Oh, the agony of trying to piece together “m” and “eee” and only coming up with muh-ee, over and over, even when you’re getting cryptic clues from your semi-desperate mother like, “rhymes with ‘bee.'”

It was driving both her and “muh-eee” a little crazy.
That’s kind of an integral part of these 100 Easy Lessons, btw. Brought back fond memories of going crazy with Kids #3, #4 and #5, too. Blessed book.

So we take a break. We come back to it. We take another break. We come back to it.
It’s looking like Super Why is not going to happen, which is a crying shame because it’s like 2pm and I’d really like a shower.

And then, like ObiWan whispering “Use the force, Luke,” I hear my new mantra playing in my mind:

Lower the Bar.

I stop.
I smile.
I turn off that darn directive that says if you don’t follow push your unrealistic expectations onto your young children, they’ll turn out poorly.
Guess what. If you meet them where they are instead of where you or your ego think they should be, they won’t turn out poorly — they’ll turn out HAPPY.

Half a lesson? Good enough! WIN!

She gets high fives and hugs and “awesome job, you super reader!”
She gets sucked into the happy little story book world and goes on reading adventures with Princess Pea, Wonder Red and the gang my older kids have outgrown now.
I love how she interacts with it, btw. When they “talk” to her, she totally talks back. 4 is a magical age.

Odds of her wanting anything to do with that reading book Monday are considerably better.

And I get a shower.

It’s a great day.

Lower the bar, people, I’m telling you. Especially all you overachieving, beat-up-on-yourself, never-good-enough, it-has-to-be-perfect-or-my-world-falls-apart mommies.

Give it a rest. Just be you. Let your kids just be them. Everyone will be happier.

Here’s to an amazing (but not too amazing) 2018!

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