Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Patience of Shoe-Tying

Make a loop. Around the loop. Through the hole and pull!

This week, a major event happened in our household. My six-year-old (finally) learned to tie his shoes. Well, technically, he learned to tie the laces attached to a shoe puzzle. Anyhow, his reward is a date with Daddy to go pick out his very first pair of laced shoes.

Teaching him to tie was definitely a opportunity for me to practice patience. The entire endeavor began several weeks ago. My son had resisted learning to tie (just as he resists learning just about anything he thinks is difficult). So, while I had him captive sitting in the car with me while my wife ran into the grocery story, I taught him this little diddy (or is that ditty?) to prepare him for the big moment. Make a cross and through the hole. Make a loop. Around the loop. Through the hole and pull!

Twenty minutes later, he still didn't know it. But, my three-year-old did, which should make his chance for shoe-tying success considerably better.

Anyhow, he had the basic idea. A week later, we're all trapped in the car again. So I take off my own shoe, call my son up and have him sit next to me. We worked and worked, and I demonstrated each step, recalling the little diddy/ditty along the way.

Not a whole lot of progress.

So, about five days ago, I pulled out the shoe-lace puzzle and told him to sit down and start practicing while I prepared dinner. This was a huge mistake. Not two minutes into it, he was crying. Sobbing really. Informing me that he can't do it. I, of course, lose my cool and tell him to cool it. If he needs help, ask me. Don't cry about it. No good. So, I sent him into the other room until he calmed down. (Really, until I calmed down.)

Then, we had this heart to heart. I demonstrated how silly it would be if, when I was at work and my boss gave me something I thought was hard, I just burst into tears. He broke out laughing at the image. I then told him he could do it, but it is hard, and he must ask for help.

So, we practiced together, and he made slight progress.

My wife and I decided to make a reward chart for him. If he practiced tying for ten days, just a few minutes a day, we would buy him new shoes. Two days later, we practiced again, and he managed to do it all on his own (with just a few promptings of my little diddy/ditty).

The next morning, he was a tying expert. No help from me, he could tie a perfect bow.

So, tonight's the big night. Date night with Daddy. First pair of lace-up shoes and, more opportunity to pick out his very own doughnut! (Or donut, as the rest of the world calls them these days.)

I think next I'll teach him to wash the windows.


Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

Doughnut, donut - I don't remember the last time I saw it written as "doughnut!"

RyanBruner said...

I'm a holdout, I'll admit. My wife made fun of me once for spelling it doughnut. But "donut" looks suspiciously like "do nut" which is just too close to "do not". So, eating "doughnuts" is far less guilt-inducing that eating "do nots".