Big C is into writing these days. At first she would ask me how to spell certain words. Then it would be strings of words. Then it was sentences. How do you write “thank you for the twirly dresses!”?
I started telling her the letters. But when we graduated to sentence level this became quite exhausting and frankly a bit annoying. When I first suggested to her that she write it how she thinks it might look, she was MAD! And I knew I had a little “me” on my hands. So I told her the story of one of my former Kindergarten students and kid-writing. And I think there is a lesson in this story for me and for Good Girl.
My student (let’s call her Mary) was a very bright child. Already a reader and a writer upon entering kindergarten, she could turn out a story with amazing illustrations daily. And yet, every day for the first few months of school, this child would literally be a screaming mess when her mom dropped her off. In retrospect, I see that she was just a tiny little Good Girl in the making. Her expectations for herself FAR outweighed her tiny five-year old body and soul. Already!
When I told Big C the story of Mary, I left out the screaming fits and focused on how Mary always wanted her writing to be like a grown up’s—you know, the RIGHT way. So I had to teach Mary the secret of “kid-writing.” In my reality, this did not actually go well. It was too late for poor Mary. But for Big C, I can still catch this window before the door on anything but perfect has totally shut. I explained that kids don’t write like grown ups because….that’s right, they are kids! I showed her examples of what kid-writing can look like (scribbles, symbols, shapes, letters and even some words that start to look like grown up writing). Big C was in! And since we are Waldorfing it around here, I didn’t really even go into the whole sounding out a word and writing the sounds you hear. We’ll get there all in good time.
And thinking about my battle with the SHOULDS as of late, has me reflecting on the value of kid-writing. See for Mary, the secret to her learning more, would have been to let go of the product. She actually had to “regress” to move forward. And this is where I find myself. By insisting on perfect from myself each day, I’m shutting out the lessons, the learning, the progress that can me made if I would only let go. As I’ve said before, I am not the parent who needs to read 20 blogs on how to have discipline for myself. This only feeds my little Mary. I am the one who needs a little kid-writing. My days need to look a little messier for a while. A little less grown up, less perfect. I need to engage in the process and forget about the product.
I think that is where I will find the joy.