I turned around. Kezia had her shoes on. Ready and rarin’ to go outside to play. “Who helped you with your shoes?” I asked her. She just smiled at me ;). No one else around. Hmmmm.

This happened more than once before I realized … HEY … I think we’ve just crossed the threshold of another milestone. Hurrah! She had learned how to put on her shoes herself. This is a big deal, and something they’ve been working on in school for quite some time. It also makes getting out the door a tiny bit easier too :).

I couldn’t believe my eyes. My heart soared!

When you work very hard to master even the most basic of tasks, “milestones” becomes a bittersweet word. Especially in those early years, when there is so much focus on what is delayed, what is wrong, the fear of what might never be. I felt so much pressure – mostly internal – as I struggled to find my own balance in all of this.

I’ve mentioned before that like love, you can’t hurry development :). The harder you try, the harder it becomes. And the harder it hurts.

OT practice with plastic eggs

OT practice with plastic eggs

And it is such a crazy dance of stepping forward and back. Some days you see the great gains; other days, you wonder how or why all the learning seems to have come unravelled.

I have struggled immensely with this balance – of creating time, opportunity, creativity (which, ironically usually seems so messy!) and FUN learning moments – without pushing or forcing. As I have prayed {over and over} about this pressure, it seemed as though the LORD laid on my heart, ever so gently, these words, this question:

“Are you forcing or facilitating?”

Just over 18 months old

Just over 18 months old

When I force things, it does not go w.e.l.l. The result is desperate-and-unrealistic expectations, pressure and fear (are we ever going to get through this???); disappointment and oodles of frustration. I remember a particular toy we were practicing with. Kezia was trying to express to me that she did not LIKE this particular toy by rolling back on her bottom and kicking the toy with both her feet (which actually took a remarkable amount of strength, coordination and concentration :P). Rather than pay attention, I got mad because she was just supposed to press the stupid flashing button!!! Every single time I see that toy (which is actually remarkably sweet and a very lovely gift!), I want to drive it over with the van because it so vividly represents this tension for me.

When we facilitate learning :), wonderful things happen! We learn and grow together…. appreciating each other for who we are not for what we can {or cannot} do. Ahhhh. Lovely.

And when in doubt :)? Take a nap!