This afternoon two things happened very close together that led me down this thought path.
The first was that I caught sight of a photograph on our screen saver of Leila, around 2 years old, in swimming classes just before we gave them up. The second was that Leila called to me from the kitchen to show me that she'd spelled out her name on the fridge. Those two things together made me realise just how far this little girl has come, all on her own.
On the swimming, it's a long story, but we had a issues with the teacher and the class format so we decided to stop. It was all too hard. We haven't done formal lessons since then, over 2 years now, but Leila has doggedly taught herself to swim. Now don't get me wrong, she can't swim laps, but she has taught herself how to float, how to doggy paddle, how to dive underwater, all the classic things. I've had little to do with that at all aside from presenting her with time to play in water. You can't force learning on this little one.
The spelling is easier, she's no different to most children, she loves to learn and if you make it into a "school house game" she's up for anything. They also feel such pride in being able to write their own name, then yours and their siblings.
So, this train of thought made me realise anew that I wish I'd thought more or realised sooner that it's fine just to let your children find their own way, in their own time. I don't think I've ever really pushed my kids into anything, but I've been guilty of having expectations of them achieving certain things at certain times. From the time our babies are born we're measuring them in every way imaginable against every other baby. Isn't that a little strange? It implies, at least in some way, that we're measuring their normality in a way and my gosh, do you know anyone who is truly normal?
My girls are delightful, funny, intelligent, beautiful and most of all happy. I will try never again to be guilty of pushing forwards if they just want to stand still for a while longer and, think about it, whatever it may be.