Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Read. Write. Draw. Repeat.

My older daughter is cerebral. She prefers to sit and read chapter books over doing just about anything else there is. Well, maybe draw elaborate pictures that illustrate events from her chapter books: Ma and Laura and Mary making cheese, for example, the morning after we read the chapter in Little House in the Big Woods about cheese-making. (Which, by the way--ugh. I realize that pioneer life was hard. But did I really need to know how cheese was made, with the lining of the young calf's stomach and all that?)

But mostly she likes to sit as still as possible, and either read, think, or pretend.

This is wonderful in one respect; who doesn't want a brilliant, imaginative, curious, academically-advanced child? That's the way she is, the way she was born, and she has many talents that involve sitting still. However, her intrinsically sedentary personality also proves a challenge. Because, as we all know, children need to move their bodies also. They need exercise. They need fresh air. They need to practice physical skills so that they one day learn to ride a bike (please, God, please with the bike! someday! before high school!), and throw a ball, and catch it, and swim. So I encourage her every day to play outside, to run around, to be active. I model physical fitness to her so she accepts it as a normal, everyday part of life. We have a T-ball set and a mini-tramp and a plastic slide and little soccer nets and balls. We have hula hoops and jump ropes. We have bikes and scooters and ring-toss games, and ice skates and sleds in the winter.

Most every afternoon after school, when she's had her snack and done the first part of her homework, I send her outside to play with our next-door neighbor girl. They love to play together and this has been a great way to promote more activity; Julia is always up for running around with her buddy. So yesterday when she went out to play, I stepped into the yard for a moment to pull the soccer nets from their place behind the patio set and stand them up in the yard, with a ball nearby. Hoping they'd run and kick the ball for awhile. You know. Move their legs, be a little active. Then I went inside to finish making dinner and wrap up a quick freelance piece.

A little while later I glanced outside and what did I see? Julia and the neighbor girl, sitting happily in the grass at the top of the hill with our soccer nets, using them as walls so they could play house. Pretend-cooking and tending to babies and supervising pretend-children's homework.

And who knows, maybe making cheese.

I love that girl.


Rita said...

I love it! In a similar vein, my boy, when asked to sit still and color, will often create elaborate battle scenes using the crayons as soldiers.


Mnmom said...

So sweet!
I blanched at Ma's head cheese too. Icky.