Very recently, we have seen an improvement with Pudding’s fine motor skills, and patience. The combination of this results in a new found ability to string beads. Yay! Now that she can do it, she wants to do it all the time. Pudding is great at practicing an accomplishment she has already mastered, so after an entire year of trying to get her to string beads with no success, she now wants to do it all the time.
I remarked on this oddity of perfectionism to my parents, who quickly informed me that I was the exact same way as a child. Not for the first time, I thought about the many traits we have in common. If I’m honest (and what would be the point of this blog if I’m not?) I still shy away from things that are difficult for me, and spend too much time on things I enjoy being able to do. I guess the only difference is that these days I know I have to do things I’d rather not.
Of course, I’m doing all I can to encourage this new found love of beads. Grandma and I went shopping last week to the craft store, which was a bold move with Little Miss Touch in tow. We chose a variety of beads, some regular beads, and some that came in jewelry-making sets. I sent all but the largest beads back with Grandma to give to her for her birthday or Christmas. I’m scared of getting her frustrated by progressing too quickly and destroying her enthusiasm. I needn’t have worried, because she is threading those beads with ease, I don’t need to help in any way.
Yesterday she came to me and asked if she could make a necklace. I was all for it, especially as I was making dinner at the time and an occupied Pudding means less trouble for me. She sat down, and diligently strung several beads on her string. It took her about 15 minutes of concentrated effort to complete her task. It is the longest I’ve ever seen her focus on an activity, and the fact that she was working those little fingers? All the better. I marveled at the effort she put into what is a difficult and frustrating task for her.
When she finished, she brought the beads for me to tie around her neck. I admired her work and then, HORROR! My fingers slipped as I went to take it, and the beads scattered all over the floor. I almost wept, thinking of the wasted effort. I knelt down and told her in my serious voice how sorry I was to have ruined her necklace. My tone of voice initially scared her, so I reiterated in a lighter tone that I was sorry for breaking her necklace.
I expected anger, tears, a meltdown, instead, I got…..laughter. She giggled, jumped up and down, happy and flappy, and said, “Mummy dropped it! Mummy spilled the beads!”, as though this was the funniest thing that could have happened. She helped me to collect the beads, then she sat back down on the floor, and began stringing them again, just as sweetly patient as the first time.
Here is where she and I differ. Had that been a 3 or 4-year-old me? I’d have had a tantrum. I’d have been angry even though it was an accident. Even the other day when I spilled sauce on my freshly cleaned floor, I went mad. Just as there have been many, many times when I’ve tried and failed to see what could provoke a tantrum in Pudding, I’m just as puzzled by the absence of one here. I guess she didn’t inherit all of my traits.
Once in a while I wish I could inherit some of hers. Just not all of them.