Rewinding Baby Steps
It’s hard to remember the baby steps when Lily was a little over a year old. We had a Fisher Price toy garage with cars that had a little ramp on it that was a favorite in the house. Maggie joyfully picked up the cars and slid them down the ramp effortlessly as children do. Lily learned in baby steps. I think she knew what she wanted to do with the car now that I look back on it in hindsight. But she couldn’t get her body to follow through with the movements nor help her mind even adjust for them in the puzzle pieces it took to put them together to make that car go. She would rewind. Stop. And rewind. So we practiced the steps it took for that car to climb that ramp to the top until one day she picked up the car all by herself, placed it on the ramp and pushed it down the road that began the journey to the rest of her life.
It’s all about sequencing. The steps it takes to get from start to finish. For most it happens automatically. Lily has to think about it. Every step has to be broken down so that it can become one fluid movement. By taking things apart we are actually putting them together.
Today Lily played with a toy that wasn’t anything special. It was a small shape sorter toy garage with a dump truck & a little man & 3 shapes. The little holes for the oval, rectangle & circle were on top of the roof & the general idea was that the dump truck was to drive with the little man into the garage, you shape sort your shapes into the roof of the sorter which then falls into the back of the dump truck below. Then you can take the truck out of the garage and dump the shapes inside. Start over. Repeat.
Lily sequenced the actions. She did everything said above effortlessly and when she did miss a step she took note why. She added play schemes to the game that she did not imitate. It was child’s play. Play is a child’s first step outward towards individuality and communication with the world. It is acting and the reenactment of life. Without play a child can not grow up to be a productive person and work in the real world. We learn to work long before we realize what we are doing is just that. When we play we make connections. Connections are being made with Lily. And they are becoming more elaborate as time progresses.
We started our first real day of the listening program today. Lily did great. I say it was the first real day because she actually listened to classical music and I didn’t have to coax her with the abc song or children’s music first. She listened for a whole 45 minutes at minimum wearing her kit the entire time. This is a big step forward.
As much as we rewind our lives and fast forward ourselves into our future it feels good to stop and push pause for a little while and reflect on just how many baby steps we have all taken–also to remind ourselves to stop working for long enough to push the play button and just well, play.