Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Learning to Conquer Life's Challenges

GirlFriend is determined and persistent.  She'll put on her clothes and shoes by herself already.  If you start to brush her hair, she snach the brush from you and start doing it herself.  
LittleMan has trouble with some things.  He gets frustrated easily, gives up, and asks for help pretty much every time when putting on shoes and clothing, applying stickers and doing things that require dexterity and a sequence of steps.  Those are difficult for him and he would be happier never trying and just having someone else do them for him forever.    
So I'm working on coaching LittleMan past his insecurities so that he wont give up so easily.  Saturday he accomplished a major break through.  I have been looking for captivating online computer games.  We've gone through www.starfall.com , www.pbskids.com , www.thomasandfriends.com , www.sproutonline.com , Starfall is my favorite because it is free from commercialization.  It was great for him when he was learning his ABCs.  Now he's just not so interested in the reading games, probably because he is more spacial than verbal.  The pbskids site is too difficult for him to navigate still.  The Thomas and Friends site has a coloring game, where you can select a color and then paint the trains in those colors.  But for some dumb reason they don't let you paint the number on the side of the Thomas Engine, it is fixed white.  Whoever made that decision must not have been a Thomas Fanatic, because LittleMan protested right away that he couldn't color the '1' yellow.  And it drove him bonkers trying to make it yellow.  We had to stop that game.
So the newest find has been a "Build an Engine" game on the sprout site.  This game, as usual, was really tough for him.  You have to select a train piece from one area and drag the piece on top of an outline of the Thomas train, then release the piece in the right spot.  If you release it in the wrong spot, then a bad buzzer noise sounds.  If you get it in the right spot, then a jolly chime rings.  
It was so tough for him to understand how to pick the pieces up, drag them, and then let them go - all while being careful to get them in the perfect spot.  Every time that he would error, he almost cried and begged me to help him.  Last weekend I helped him every single time, mostly with grabbing the pieces and then letting them go (He could drag and position the pieces on his own).  He just could not get the concept of letting the pieces go.  He would position them and then ask me to help drop them.  I told myself to be patient with him, 'coach him through it so that he still enjoys the activity, don't worry that he's not getting it this time, next time he'll probably get it.'
And he did!  This afternoon I fired up the game.  He grabbed one of the pieces -repeating the trick i taught him "land on it like an airplane."  He dragged it to the right spot, and let go "neeeehhhh!" the game made the nasty  'wrong' beep.  I saw him deflate and he asked for help.  I told him to try again, 'land like an airplane' I edged him on.  I could see his frustration bubbling and self esteem sinking.  But, he tried again and he got it!  There came the 'ding' you-got-it-bell.  He was so pleased!  I started clapping, the baby started clapping, he wanted Mari to come and see his accomplishement too.  He wore the proudest smile that I've ever seen.  Even more proud than when he finishes a puzzle.  In his smile i could see how much winning the game meant for him.  It was a turning point in his eyes where he realized that with practice and perseverance he could achieve difficult tasks on his own.  He beat the game about fifty times that day! 

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