“I can’t do it.”
“When did you find it?” Kaia asked. She watched Vlael turn the cube of colors in her hands. Spun a side, another, again and again.
“Yesterday…No maybe two days ago—?” Vlael paused, thinking. She squinted, her hands froze. “I think yesterday and dad knows how to do it he show’ded me but he won’t tell me—”
Kaia brushed a few strands of her girl’s hair over her ear. “Did he say why he wouldn’t show you?”
Vlael looked into her mother’s eyes. “Did I say show’ded?” Kaia nodded. “But that’s not a word. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You’re learning, it’s okay to make mistakes.”
Vlael frowned, her eyes narrowed. “Dad would have told me.”
Kaia could almost see the gears in her daughter’s mind turn. If dad corrects me when I make a mistake, he’s helping me. You let me stumble and fall and fail, that’s mean, you’re not helping me. Dad cares about me; you don’t. As her girl turned to go, Kaia could feel the unspoken plea: Tell me I’m wrong, please, I’m just a little kid—what do I know?
“Hm.” Her head was bent, staring at the cube.
“Have you asked daddy if he thinks it’s good to correct you so much?” Vlael looked up, wonder in her face. That’s a question I could ask? “Your father and I have different ideas about how to help you, but we both want the best for you.”
“What’s your idea?”
“I think you should be able to figure things out on your own. And when you do well, tell you so.”
“He…He agrees with me, but it’s hard for him. It’s easy for him to see mistakes. He sees the good too, but he has a hard time saying so.”
Kaia shrugged. “I don’t know. I think, maybe, because that’s how his mom and dad were. What do you like better? To be told, ‘No, No, wrong, That’s not right, Do it like this, Try again.’ Or to be told, ‘Good job, There you go, Well done.’ Which do you think is good?”
“I think—hm.” She looked off at nothing. “I think both. Sometimes one, but sometimes the other.”
Kaia could feel tears creeping into her eyes. How was she so smart? Not even six and she was able to figure this out. She was right of course. A mixture of both was best. But finding the right amount of each was the hard part. “How about this, if you can figure out how to do one side, so all the colors match, I’ll get dad to show you how to do the rest.”
Vlael’s eyes lit up. “How will you make him do that?”
“I’ll think of something.” Kaia smiled, and Vlael wandered off, giggling.