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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Amazing Sibling Interaction

Among other reasons, we chose not to send Carolyn to preschool this year so that she and James would continue to have a large amount of time together.  Once they start school they won't have unending hours together very often.  We wanted to try and create the best sibling bond possible, without forcing it.  What I have witnessed over the last few weeks shows that this was definitely a good decision.  We can only hope that this bond persists over time.  But at least for now, I can declare that they are just perfect for each other.  I won't deny that they fight and I have to remind one to say "I'm sorry" and give a hug to the other.  When getting along, though, they shine.

Last week I spent the first few days reminding James that by Friday he would be wearing underwear (at least for that day).  Carolyn must have heard me reminding him.  On Thursday afternoon she asked him he wanted to use the potty.  He said no, but she pushed further.  She told him she was create an X chart (I had already hung a sticker chart to no avail).  She then proceeded to write x's on the white board easel in the living room and let him know she would circle one each time he went on the potty.  To my amazement, he went in his room and took his diaper off.  Over the next couple days she helped him pick stickers for his chart and reminded us to dispense the m&m's and chocolate balls when James was successful.  He's had 2 accidents since, directly related to being sick on Tuesday night.  Amazing sibling bond at work as she stood by and encouraged him.

I haven't worked on much development with Carolyn until this school year.  Sure, we've done A LOT of reading to our children.  But I never did any work sheets and really not many art projects.  Since we moved I've really stepped it up, mostly because she loves it.  Most of the time when I print things for Carolyn to work on, I print a copy for James so he can feel included.  Well, his writing and cutting skills have developed simply by watching.  James can already trace some letters and he's pretty close to cutting in a straight line.  So much for boys and slow fine motor skills!  He'll definitely always be a king of gross motor, but it's great to see these skills along with color identification and singing the alphabet coming right along.  I'm considering the same, very laid back approach as I had with Carolyn for James next year and then working when he's 4 and preparing for K.

The icing on the cake for sibling interactions was at swimming today.  Carolyn has been working hard the last couple weeks and overcoming some of her fears.  She can now put her face in the water and this is allowing her to work on actually swimming.  They spent the play portion of the lesson "diving" for rings on the bottom of the pool.  James was apparently watching.  During his class, he took the rings off the toy cart, drop them into the pool and then reached down to get them, putting his full face in the water.  It was really cool to watch this and even his teacher commented on it.  I'm sure she says similar things to the other parents, but each week she comments on how smart James is to make connections.  Other weeks he's recreated a game at home with the toys in the pool.  It really is awesome to see the rapid fire connections that he makes.  With him absorbing so much from Carolyn it makes me wonder if he'll learn to read and write on a more accelerated schedule or not.

Many of the benefits here are for James, but I think Carolyn is benefiting from this relationship as well.  She has a built in buddy and someone who generally is willing to listen to her read at any time.  She enjoys playing teacher and he usually will go along with whatever he's suggesting.  I also think that his development is causing Carolyn to pick up the pace a little to ensure he doesn't catch her.  The next few years are going to be a lot of fun to watch these two continue to develop at lightning speed.  I wonder what this next week has in store!

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