Seven was going through board games one day looking for something for us to play after suffering about 47 rounds of some Littlest Petshop garbage game that Five insisted we play. She came in carting a beat up Scrabble box, looking elated. She sat down and set the box between us.
"Are you sure?" I asked her, "this game is even hard for me."
She looked disappointed. "That's what mom says." She started to get up. I put my hand on the box. Just the day before I had noticed her pulling books off the library shelf well over her "suggested" reading level and having no problem with them. She'll often curl up on the couch with a book.
"Ok, we'll try it."
We adjusted the rules: you can place a word almost anywhere, you got extra points if it connected to something already on the board, she was able to draw up to 3 extra letters if she needed them. The points were per letter, not per the numbers on the tiles. If she got really stuck she could ask for my help. I bend the rules a lot for her.
Seven has a new addiction.
As a confession, I had never played scrabble before in my life. In fact, I hadn't even read the "real" rules until about the third day we played...my "adjustments" were me kind of making up what I thought the game might be. Or something.
She asks to play it every day, sometimes multiple times a day. We have to do it in moderation, because it is clearly over Five's level considering she has trouble identifying numbers above 11. In just a week, Seven has gone from losing by at least 20 points to less than 10. Today, she won her first game. She tried to hide her smile.
This is when I love this job. I'm watching her grow daily off of something I helped her do and am able to do with her. By the end of the summer she's going to be a champion speller. And maybe I've started a movement. Maybe Scrabble will be the game of choice again, all because she was given a chance to play.
Her daily journal was open on the counter today while I was making them dinner and they were watching a movie in the other room. All it said simply on the page was "I like learning new things."
Me too, kid.