Friday, October 5, 2007

Following Directions

I got to speak with Avery's teacher this morning and we went over some of Avery's work. Much to my surprise (tongue in cheek) Ms. Hambrik says she is working with Avery on following directions. When I look at Avery's work it is completed but not to the specifications ask for. There was a fire truck that was colored mostly green with some red. The directions were to color the fire truck red. Another work sheet asked her to circle all the things that were hot and could hurt you. Instead she colored all the items on the page.

In themselves, these things are not troublesome. But for Avery following directions is hard. She will steamroll over my requests with jabbering of her own until I am flabbergasted. I have to ask her to look me in the eye to really know she is listening. And sometimes it takes threats of losing privileges to get her to follow direction. Maybe she is saying with this behavior, "I am not listening to you until you listen to me." That really could be the case. I will have to take a closer look at that to know the truth of it.

And I know she is a good listener because she will come home from school on the day that the Fire truck visits and tell me off hand that we need to crawl along the floor when there is a fire and go to a door and get out. And that we need to check the door cause it might be hot. She has memorized the Our Father from hearing it once a week at school chapel and now is working on the 23rd Psalm. (An aside... she hears the Psalm as saying "He annoys my head with oil. He makes me fall in the water.") She can repeat back lines and lines of movie dialogue from Toy Story or Barbie's Princess and the Pauper.

Avery also has a habit of bringing up spit to the front of her mouth and then blowing bubbles with it. It is quite a little trick and one that I can not do BUT it is inappropriate. Her Taekwondo instructor and now her teacher have both commented to her about the need to stop. And of course, so have we but it persist. I do not even think she knows she is doing it. And then when you tell her to stop she realizes she is doing it and her hard headedness compels her to continue. She gets some attention this way.

So I don't think its the listening as much as the following of directions. The only person Avery will "follow" is her big brother. Everyone else is questionable. She wants to be in charge. She can be a little dictator or cruise director in our family depending on what type of mood she is in. And though this is an admirable quality and one I never had as a child there has to be a medium in order to get along in life. This is a life long lesson that is better learned earlier than late. So we start with coloring trucks red when it says to color trucks red and hope it translates to the larger world as she grows.

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