Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Getting it Wrong

Until now, the math that Liam has been doing on his new program, ST Math, has been a review.  Learning how to interface with the program, while successfully solving the fun puzzles has made the program a pleasure for him.  So he was more than a little disappointed when we passed his previous knowledge and he hit his first wall.  Liam's reaction to messing up is to get silly and start making wild guesses or to scold himself.  The trick is to get him back on track with as few cues as possible, so he can continue to solve the problems himself.  Usually, with a little time, he gets back into the swing of things.  Usually.

We're also in a constant struggle to get him to understand the concept of personal boundaries and ownership.  He's so sweet that most people dismiss it if he grabs their wrist to check out their watch or pushes ahead in line to see the display on the cash register.  They look at me like I'm being too harsh when I correct him - trying desperately to teach him that it's NOT OK to push ahead, or grab people, or reprogram the answering machine, or change the temp on the thermostat. . .

In most instances,  we're there and can stop things before they get out of hand.  But on Superbowl Sunday, at our neighbor's house, the damage was much more severe.  We were sitting in the TV room watching the game and the kids were playing in the other room.  Liam came in to ask "what does "ruined" mean?"  Our friends had just returned from visiting Mayan ruins on vacation, so we thought that was what he was talking about.

Later, as we were leaving, I noticed that the styrofoam project the kids had done in the dining room had left a blizzard of white crumbs, so I started to brush the staticky mess of the table.  Then I saw it.  A perfectly scribed logo of "WINDOWS" IN THE WOOD OF THE TABLE!!!!

The 3 kids (ages 7-8) had all been carving styrofoam with a butter knife.  On the dining room table.

I can only imagine that Liam had not noticed that the other kids carved foam with another layer beneath it.  He just grabbed some foam when it was his turn, saw how easily the knife marked the table and found an opportunity to draw on a new surface.  He had no concept of it being someone's table, something unfixable or something really, really bad.  The question, "what does ruined mean?" suddenly made sense.  The other kids probably told him he'd "ruined" the table.  Of course, they didn't try to stop him or tell any of us, which is pretty funny.  Luckily, John is good with wood and will do his best to minimize the damage.  But it can't be completely erased.

I told our neighbors that we'll always be linked by the words on her table.  At least I got a laugh on that one.

And we'll keep working on the idea of property, personal space and what "ruined" means.

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