Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fine Motor Skills

In the child development world, we have numerous terms that apply to various stages and developmental milestones, as well as terminology for skills that are learned and mastered.  One such term is "fine motor skills," which basically means a child can use his/her hands and fingers to do smaller tasks.  These skills change and grow as the child changes and grows, which is why fine motor skills are delineated according to which developmental milestone rather than age (we know children mature at different rates, so saying a child should be able to do peg puzzles at a particular age is vague and unhelpful since some will do it earlier, others later, and the rest fall somewhere in the middle - thus, there are averages in place for us to "get an idea" of where our children lay on the spectrum, but we mostly think of it in terms of developmental ability rather than age level).

(i say all this because i tend to talk like everyone knows these terms, and i am frequently reminded that they are not as commonly-used in the average parent's vocabulary, so i don't want to lose anyone since we all know what fine motor skills are - we just may not call them that.)
Okay, lesson over.  Are you tracking me now?  Good!

It never ceases to amaze me the differences in my own offspring, put together using the same 2 sets of DNA for each of them.  My oldest was advanced in many things, right on track for many things, and a bit behind in a few.  No worries from me, though, since i knew this was all based on "averages" and that she was overall a balanced child.  The next child was a boy, which changed everything since they mature in different ways at different rates as girls (for the most part).  He was behind in things my oldest was advanced in, but advanced in things she struggled with.  Hmm...  Same DNA input, same parents... but, okay, they're individuals.  I get that.

Now, however, i have another girl that i have watched grow to be a preschooler and i am noticing even more differences!  She is NOT a boy, but she follows her brothers gifts and advancements quite well, while somehow achieving the advancements of her sister at the same time!  There's not much she's average in or behind on, so i am constantly perplexed that she is even my child!

Why am i writing about this??  Not to brag, that's for sure!  I had nothing to do with my children's level of intelligence, and i take no credit for it.  Additionally, it is oftentimes more difficult to parent the bright children than the average children, so i have on occasion begged God to give me stupid children (tongue in cheek, here) so they will not strain my parenting skills so much!  However, the Lord, in all His Wisdom, has given me the ones i have, and i cherish them.

So.... yesterday, i received the laminator i ordered and have been laminating stuff like mad for 2 days! (if the dog'll sit still for half a second, he's getting laminated!) Today, i had a stack of freshly-laminated pages stacked up, ready for me to cut the small pieces out so i could assemble some file-folder games.  When i noticed one was cut not-so-neatly-but-certainly-functionally, i assumed my eldest got sloppy in her assistance with my project.  However, about an hour later, my littlest child was discovered sitting in the floor with the pages of laminated raindrops, the scissors, and a small stack of cut-out raindrops.  Wow.  She was so proud of herself!  And i was amazed at how well she was cutting these things out!!

The fine motor skills of this child have always awed me, but today, i was nearly speechless.  I really wanted the pieces cut away from the outlines to the laminate wouldn't peel away from the paper with use, but i couldn't really fault my 3-year-old's success with cutting on the lines, so it'll do.  Just exactly how it is.

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