18 April 2008

Jenna's learning and the cycles of emotion we face

While I've been thinking so much about this week and the bad things, I've hardly noticed some wonderful things happening with Jenna's learning. She has started to write, spontaneously, without my ever showing her how. She has come to me with pages of words (groupings of letters and numbers that can't actually be read) for a couple of weeks. Then last week she wrote me her name, "Lenn3"! Since then she has asked for me to write things for her to copy a couple of times.

The interesting thing to me is that she seems to have gone about teaching herself to write before she wants to read. Part of this I think is that most of her books she can already tell me the stories, in her mind she can already read after I've told her the story once or twice. She perhaps doesn't realise that what I do when I read is any different. The major thing, though, seems to be in the use she finds for it. Reading she finds useful only to tell herself and other people stories, which she can do without getting them from books. Writing she is using mostly to leave notes for Daddy, and also in her role-play. A prescription, a cheque, a school book.

Last night she didn't settle very well, normally she takes very little input from us and just has Martin do stories and prayers before dropping off on her own (or asking for a cuddle if she wants him to stay longer, which he does). He was up there for ages yesterday though, and still came back down after half an hour. She said she had been dreaming about the baby, and also that she was worried that she might die or Morgan might die. I just held her, unable to find any words that would be comforting or make things right for her. She fell asleep in my arms very quickly and didn't cry out in the night or get up til morning.

I've been watching them play together with great joy this morning. I remember being worried about the sibling relationship and whether there would be rivalry between them, a long time ago it seems like. Morgan has been brushing Jenna's hair and saying "ere go!" in a funny little reassuring tone. The night before I went into labour with Lael, Jenna was asleep on my lap. Morgan climbed up and kissed and loved her, oh I know I've told this story but... So rarely do I find it harder having two than I found it having one, it makes me feel like there's something wrong with me!

Another thing that makes me laugh now I think about it is these spells of disillusionment and disconnected-ness. I've been looking back and I wrote that I was feeling down with Jenna (on her own) in my (paper at that time) diaries - during mid-spring when the days were wet and there was little to do. I was worried about being depressed. Last year, with Jenna and Morgan together and Morgan newly mobile, I wrote how much I was struggling. And now again, even without what we're going through. I need the summer to come faster with busy full days in the garden!

Today I'm almost feeling well, and certainly able to focus on my girls. I will never forget, but I will heal.

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