R decided that instead of helping me make the challah dough this morning, she’d help her dolls to make their own challah… in my kitchen. It was adorable. R’s dolls have a fully stocked kitchen, so there were plenty of tiny bowls, spoons, and even a hand mixer for them to use.
Of course, doll time is faster than human time, so they finished long before I did. R came over and offered to help me knead.
“Of course,” I said, “but don’t stick your fingers into it and squeeze like you’re scratching someone’s back. Just push with the heel of your hand and use your fingers to fold the whole thing in half.”
She did. For the first time ever, I noticed that she can knead the dough almost as well as I can.
E’s antipathy towards books hasn’t really gone away, but this afternoon she hung around the couch while I sat there and commented over a copy of It Could Always Be Worse.
“Oh no! Look, he’s got a goat in his house!” I said to no one in particular.
“What?” She ran over to see. “Why would anyone do that?”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “Let’s find out.” I turned back to the beginning and gave as dramatic a reading as I could.
When it was over, she said slyly, “I’ll let you read me that other book if you promise to do a craft with me after.”
It was a deal I was only too happy to strike.
Later, K said (quite out of the blue,) “I’ve been thinking maybe I should start writing a diary.”
“Oh?” was the best response I could manage. K voluntarily writing? Had hell frozen over?
“Yeah, but it’s weird, right? Do I have to write it like I’m writing to a person?”
“You don’t have to anything.” I pointed out. “It’s your diary. You can write, draw, cartoon, or scrawl whatever you want.”
“Hmm,” was her response. Then, “I guess I could just use one of the spiral notebooks you bought, since I don’t have a special journal.”
I led her to the library and showed her the shelf where I had stowed all the unused hardcover journal-type books. I handed her a fabric-covered journal with a floral design.
“Wow! Thanks! It’s so pretty!” she enthused.
I don’t even really care if she writes in a diary or not. The fact that she talked about writing and did so without ranting or using the words “I can’t” is progress enough for today.
It was nearing four o’clock when I hollered, “N, go take a bath!” I went back to making cinnamon buns, fully expecting to have to nag him for twenty minutes before he complied.
Without saying a word, N put down his book, went upstairs, and turned on the tub. Then he came back down to read some more while the bath was filling.
I was floored, but wisely said nothing. For N to bathe without a fight, and to do it the first time he’s asked, is a big deal.
So many days it feels like all our parenting efforts are for naught: days when the kids use their shirts as napkins, E drops to the floor and screams if I so much as look at a book, and K is too stuck in her own self-doubt to even try writing something. And then there are days like today: days when I see that they’ve been progressing all along, so slowly that I couldn’t see it. But there’s progress.