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Kelly: Sleeping Beauty Has Awakened..and She’s a Reader!

Sleeping Beauty

Cathy’s Pleasant Surprises post got me thinking about “being present,” what that means and how it relates to what we are all trying to do here. DH and I had a “moment” the other night with our girls. We were reading their bedtime story and DH didn’t have his glasses on, so he struggled over a few words here and there. It was a fairly involved story, the German fairy tale on which Sleeping Beauty is based, and the reading level was pretty advanced. Definitely not one of those board books with one or two sentences per page, but rather more like middle school reading level. When DH started missing a word here and there, Sarah actually started correcting him. She did this several times, and then DH said, “Well, would you like to read it instead?”, you know, in that “sarcastic Daddy” tone. Then, lo and behold, she did just that. She picked up the story where he left off, word for word, like she was reading it right off the page. We’re talking a story with phrases like “the castle was surrounded with a thorny hedge of briars” and “the soldiers were at their battlements”. “Battlements,” for Pete’s sake! This is a five-year-old! And it’s not a book we read often simply because the stories are rather long and involved! She went on like this for several very long paragraphs while DH and I looked on in awe. The book came with a narrative CD of the stories, and I realized she had actually memorized the story; sometimes the girls listen to the CD while they are going to sleep at night. I have a genius on my hands! (said the proud and over-zealous Mama….)

So back to the “being present” portion of this broadcast. You just blink, and BOOM!, one of your five-year-olds is “reading” at a sixth grade level. An over-exaggeration maybe, but it begs the point: so much happens when we are not paying attention. That’s the interesting thing about having twins. I have been paying attention enough to notice what Sarah’s strengths are and what Livvie’s strengths are, and they are very different. Sarah is very strong in the language area, as evidenced by that moment we had the other night. She also already has my knack for remembering song lyrics. I’ve always chalked mine up to being a musician; I’m a classically trained pianist and I’ve been taking guitar for about seven years now. Hers just seems to come with that strong grasp of words and memory. Livvie thrives in art, music, and motor skills. She doesn’t need much help from me to create some pretty impressive art pieces, and yesterday afternoon I watched as she set up her own little three piece band—of piano, Tupperware container, and piece of paper—and went to patting out a rhythmic pattern even my guitar teacher would be impressed with. The girl’s got chops! Watching this, I realize what will be one of my biggest creative challenges involving my children: how to bring out the best in each when they are the exact same age and nearly inseparable. My challenge will be in guiding them both to thrive in the areas they excel, yet still keep them on target in the areas they don’t…and figure out how to do it all at the same time! Yikes! I’m open to suggestions!

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cathy #

    thanks for the compliment, i’m glad it got you thinking.

    congrats on the smartypants you’ve got there! my K was about the same age when he informed me he could read ALL the signs, not just the stop signs because they were easy to recognize; then proceeded to say ‘that one says, cvs PHARMacy, and that one say radio shack and….’ i was quite the puffed up bird that day! and i spent the next several handing him random reading material for further confirmation. (and just for the sake of balance, i’ll add that my S tested in 1st grade at an 8th grade reading level. he still can’t tie his shoes in 4th, but then again neither can harry potter, uh, daniel radcliffe).

    i’m sure your girls will let you and each other know exactly what they like to and want to do best as they grow. i swear, it gets easier in those ways as they get older. right, miranda, mom of teens and babes, too?

    September 11, 2008
  2. oh my gosh … my twins couldn’t be MORE different …. one is socially savvy, mellow beyond compare, everything slides right off his back, life is good, life is easy …. and academically struggles with a language processing disorder …..

    the other? socially a bit awkward, tightly wound, type a, smartest one in the house, hard working, academically gifted … yikes!

    hard to believe they shared a womb!

    September 11, 2008
  3. sign reader, huh, cathy? i hope my girls get there soon! they don’t pay much attention to the signs, but they now both love to sing along to the radio and can immediately recognize a taylor swift song. that appears to be the current favorite. and mama’s not a big taylor swift fan….

    yep, elizabeth, i know i’m not alone in the twins being different category. i’m finding at this age that while sarah is typically more outgoing, they both have their moments, but they still really rely on each other to have each other’s back, so to speak. they are in the same classroom this year, and i’m thrilled for that because i really didn’t think they could handle changing schools and being separated at the same time. i know that some of these changes are harder on mama, though too.. 🙂

    September 12, 2008

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