One of my favourite things about parenting is getting to focus on each child individually. I love to really look at them, trying to discern who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, what they need and what I can provide for them. This has really been emerging over the last month or so and it has provided much joy. Nurturing talents and turning weakness into strength are two things I've spent a lot of time in lately.
Colin has a real talent for visual arts. He loves to sketch (if only he'd do it in the sketch book I bought him instead of on random scrap papers around the house, I might actually have a collection of his work!) last summer I signed him up for art classes with guest professors each week, specialists in their medium. Unfortunately, I didn't really feel he got out of it what I was hoping. This year, however, his teacher at school studied visual arts and is an artist herself. So instead of signing Colin up for more art classes, I'm hoping to donate some "real" art supplies to the classroom to enable the teacher to go beyond the traditional paint and pencil crayons.
I am finally going to be harnessing Caleb's musical talent. He loves to sit at the piano and pick out music, but even more than that he loves to experiment and improvise with what he has learned. His rhythm and creative understanding of music are amazing to see unfold, and he really needs a good start on the discipline of practicing and a base of music theory. More the that, I think his emotional maturity will be a key that will open doors in musicianship usually locked for children his age. The other day he was weeping in the back of the van, touched by the song "Cats in the Cradle," and he often commenta on the feelings and moods of inanimate things. I have found a friend with whom he will share music lessons (every other week) so that it can be affordable for us. I am so excited to see what he can do when he gets the rudiments under his belt.
During our camping trips this summer, we discovered Ben has a love for fishing. For a child who never stops moving, and loves to be surrounded by people, I was more than a little surprised by his love of sitting quietly, patiently on the dock for hours, waiting for a rich to bite, or more often just watching other kids with their rods. We only just got a rod for him, (and I'm reluctant to let him out with a sharp hook on his own yet) so most of his interest actually came from watching others. But during our mom and kids camp, he would keep his eye out for anyone heading down to the dock and off he shot after them like a bee. I think this interest will hopefully go hand in hand with some gentle correction of which he is in need. We are trying to help him make good choices when it comes to behaviour toward others. He is in need of a little character training and some one on one time, and I think the lesson might best be absorbed by father and son and a couple of fishing rods.
I still feel that with Juliette we are in the reactive stage. That girl goes a mile a minute and I never feel like I can get ahead. Next week will hopefully be toilet training. (Can I possibly be at the end of my diaper days?) I also feel like I have a ways to go to try and get her allergies under control. Two weekends in a row we've gone out of town without packing any allergy medication (which necessitated midnight runs to the drug store.) But at least we now have a game plan when she does have a reaction, and she is really coming along in her understanding of the pains she feels and that many foods she just can't have. For my own part I feel like I need to expand the foods I have on hand for her (I feel so guilty with the amount of natural hot dogs she eats.). Baby steps, though, and a little grace for myself as this is something totally new for us.