When I graduated college and started by first job, I remember struggling with the lack of formalized feedback. Sure, I’d get the occasional pat on the back from my boss, but gone was the predictability of at least having a midterm exam by which to gauge my performance.
I eventually learned to find satisfaction in knowing I’d done a job well; getting a yearly performance review was just a nice little bonus.
That experience came back to me recently as I thought about my ever-evolving interaction with the girls.
Since we brought the girls home from the hospital, I have been reading to them, sometimes to the point of running my throat sore over the course of a day. We’ve been singing, and dancing, and counting the stairs as we traipsed up and down.
For a very long time, there was little direct feedback. Of course my heart melted with each cuddle and smile. I was so very proud when the girls rolled over, and when they started sleeping through the night, I knew I must be doing something right.
I remember very clearly the first time one of the girls responded to some of my random commentary. Baby A was walking around the den, holding her nightgown. I said, “Put the gown on your head,” and she did! I chuckle now, wishing that first light bulb moment were a little more academic. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget how proud I was when she put that gown on her head and laughed at Mommy’s silly request.
Since then, the feedback loop has become much more continuous. It’s just amazing to sit back and watch and listen at what the girls do and say.
They’re all about pretend play right now, and it’s amazing how resourceful they are in cooking up the wildest scenarios. They’ll sit on top of their little kitchen and say, “Riding bicycle!” And they serve all manner of food and drinks to each other, to us, even to pictures in books.
The girls are also incredibly observant. From their stroller on our walk yesterday morning, one of them exclaimed, “Puppy doggy…sit down…leaves!” Sure enough, there was a dog sitting in a yard, amid a thick carpet of leaves. I hadn’t even noticed him until they said something.
I know that the girls’ vocabulary is growing exponentially right now, and I know that they won’t always have new skills to show at the end of every single day…so for now I’m just enjoying this two-way dialogue.
And in my book, seeing the girls learn new things is much more rewarding than even an A+ report card!