Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just let it go

As a parent of young children, I find myself obsessed with their minds. Are they being challenged enough? Are they being sheltered enough? Am I harming them? And even those rare moments where I have the hubris to believe that I am the GREATEST PARENT EVER! Usually, those moments are quickly followed by the feeling that I'm the WORST PARENT EVER! Ah, such is life as a mom.

Something happened this morning that helped me see that I need to relax just a little bit.

LittleMan: [Reading a Kindergarten Open Court book called "At The Zoo" aloud.]
Me: [Listening to LittleMan but seeing an opportunity to challenge him.]
LittleMan: "What are you doing, Mom?"
Me: "I thought we could practice some of your Challenge Words."
LittleMan: "Okay."

I write words like "the", "an", "here", "if", "see", and other two to three-letter words. After about the 10th one...

LittleMan: "How many words are there?"
Me: "A lot. These are just some of the two to three-letter words, hon. There are also four, five all the way up to 10 or even 15-letter words."
LittleMan: [Looking at me with a mixture of awe and disbelief.]
Me: [I write the word "Exclamation".]
LittleMan: "Ex - ca - l - awe - mmm... This is a hard one."
Me: "Well, I didn't think you would try to read it. Good job! It is 'Exclamation'."
LittleMan: [Staring at the word]
Me: "It means to EXCLAIM or SHOUT. Like 'OUCH!' or 'BANG!' or 'STOP!'."
LittleMan: [Looking at me in that same expression]

I smile at him, and leave the table to get changed.

LittleMan comes into my bedroom where My Mukor and I are chatting before Mukor goes to work.

LittleMan: [Holds up the paper where the word "Exclamation" is written. Next to it is the word "Wow".]

I show the paper to My Mukor, but I'm thinking to myself, "Did LittleMan really understand the definition of Exclamation that quickly?" My thoughts are immediately shot down when I hear LittleMan say to My Mukor, "It is 'woe'."

Me: "No, that is w-o-e. You spelled 'wow'. Remember the rule about the long vowel sound if the word ends with 'e'?"
LittleMan: [Looking at the paper]
Me: "See, you spelled the word 'woe'. That means to feel sadness."
LittleMan: "No, it is what you say to a horse."

I took a deep breath and let it go. You see, I was beginning to think that my son was a genius for thinking of the word "Whoa!" which is an example of the "Exclamation" definition I gave. Did he write that because of my definition, or was it coincidence? It is this kind of obsessing that causes me to question whether or not I'm fit as a parent...

And why I can never home-school my children.


Michele said...

As a mom and a (former) teacher, and now a grandma,kids seem to take to reading first, and writing just plain takes awhile. My oldest granddaughter has what's called 'kid writing' at her school, which is a very good school. She can read anything, but writing is a whole other thing. and the school doesn't push the perfect spelling part of writing. Your son is doing great! I think any child reading, actually reading at 5 is doing better than fine. You are a gooood mom! Really.

steenky bee said...

I think he sounds like a small genius. I'm in awe of you. You're a wonderful and attentive mom.

Anonymous said...

I think you are both in the genius category...but I am very prejudiced..Grandma

gingela5 said...

I think it sounds like you're doing a great job! I think he might be smarter than I am now! hehe