The boys (and Zoe) had been inside due to torrential rain all. weekend. long. They were a bit exuberant. I was teaching the boys to tie their shoes, had newly hatched and hatching chicks in an incubator that needed to be moved to a brooder, sheep baaing in hunger because their pastures were under water, outside chicks perishing from drowning and hypothermia, meals to prepare, and I even had to bring in a half-grown duckling that had gotten so cold and wet from the rain that it was near death. I had to warm and dry it with a hairdryer, then put it in a box wrapped in a raggy T-shirt warm out of a dryer. I threw the T-shirt back into the dryer three times to rewarm it to rewrap the duck before it was warm enough to start shivering to bring up its own body heat. An older hen that was molting and was perhaps unable to fly because of that (or because of her advanced age) sought shelter on the ground underneath an overhang but perished in the night probably due to hypothermia. There were occasional tropical storm force winds blowing cold rain and the ground under the overhang was covered with cold water where I found her lifeless body huddled. Poor old girl.
Late Sunday morning I came back inside from turning out the sheep, lambs, feeding the rabbits, and checking various pens. As soon as I walked inside, Jacob asked “Did you KNOW, MeeMaw, that a jaguar’s jaws are the strongest of all the big cats?” Simultaneously, Dylan started demanding that I find a particular video game, and Zoe was yelling for me to pick her UP UP UP UP UP! “STOP!” I demanded. “I can’t pay attention to everybody at the same time!”
“Honey,” suggested SwampMan quietly. “Maybe you need to go take a drive or something and get away for a little while.” Hmmmmm. Guess that demand to STOP sounded a little hysterical or something.
“That would be nice!” I said. “However, I need to fix lunch for everybody, get started on dinner, then go outside and do some feeding, pen moving, and egg gathering, then come inside and make sure everybody gets a bath with actual water and soap, move the chicks into a brooder, load the dishwasher again, make sure Zoe gets her nap, try and get a pathway cleared to walk through the toys, and make sure the boys get a chance to practice their shoe tying.”
Well. I got everything done that I set out to do except let the boys practice their shoe tying under supervision. The first opportunity they got was to tie their shoes when it was time to go home that evening. Jacob apparently (and I did not check the results) tied his shoes with ease but, like I said, I didn’t look at the results. Dylan did not come off the porch where he was tying his shoes, and I went to check. He was sitting there crying with only one shoe on because he couldn’t remember the first step. *sigh* Poor little guy. I tried to get him to put his OTHER sock and shoe on before proceeding, but he could not do that. The offending shoe must be tied first. I coached him through it, then the other shoe.
I didn’t want to confuse those new to shoe tying by introducing too many methods at once, but maybe I was remiss. After all, I’m used to teaching children that have learning difficulties. Maybe I should have taught about three different methods and let each one choose their favorite. I asked SwampMan how he tied his shoes. “What do you mean? Isn’t there only one way?”
“No, I teach my three favorite variations, but there are several methods.”
“Well, I dunno. I don’t remember when or how I learned.”
So, he demonstrated the method where one makes a loop, then goes under, over, around, and through which was the first method I taught. I showed him the bunny ears variation which some children find easier. He told me that he thought too many ways too quickly would be confusing. Plus, of course, he thought that the way he learned (and the way I learned, and therefore the method I taught first) was, of course, the best. But it may not be the best for Dylan. And it’s nearly one in the morning but the thought of that poor little guy sitting there on the porch crying haunts me.
UPDATE: I talked to SwampDaughter this morning, and my worrying was for naught. Dylan proudly showed Mommy how he could tie his shoes, and she did not have to. Jacob did it like he’d been doing it his entire life. FINALLY there’s something that Dylan learned to do in his life when he was younger than Jacob!