My oldest was great at following rules when it came to house proofing. I’d tell her once to not touch the stove and she wouldn’t. Ask her to stay in one room to play and she would. I honestly thought the whole parenting thing was pretty easy.
Then my son arrived.
When it came time to setting house rules we found out pretty quickly that what worked for my oldest wouldn’t work for my son. (You’ve seen the circus trick video right?) So now when I outline the house rules, instead of following them my son views them as a challenge; he tries to find ways around them. Perhaps it’s a boy thing. I was having this same conversation with the photographer at our Today’s Parent photo shoot (he has a three year old son).
There are many things my son does that are amazing. He’s very affectionate and out-going and the amount of patience he exhibits when working on a LEGO creation is awe inspiring. I find I don’t praise him enough for the good things. Well, not today.
My oldest goes to school all day, my son just in the afternoon and my youngest doesn’t start school until next year. In the mornings when my oldest is at school, I like to work with my son on his school knowledge. There’s so much data supporting how boys struggle in the early years at school and I want to help him past that stage or better still, avoid it all together.
Today we were reading stories and going over some common words (like ‘the’ and ‘and’ etc.). My son started sounding out the letters to say the words. I was amazed. Okay, it’s not like he’s two and reading, but I’ve only gone through the process of sounding letters out with my oldest. Perhaps he’s learnt it from watching his sister. Where ever it came from, I was so excited. And he was excited because I was excited.
Sometimes I don’t give my son enough credit but not today. I was very proud of what he did on his own, without my guidance, and I made sure he knew that. And maybe if I acknowledge all the amazing things he does more often, he’ll surprise me again.