One by one, I drop the letters of the alphabet off the table and they fluttered down to the floor. My son, the diligent Kindergartner, begins arranging them in order. I keep a few on the table, just to see how he would handle the confusion. Meanwhile my daughter, bored from the rather scholastic content of the “new game”, plus the fact that it did not involve at least one princess, begins spinning around and is soon giggling from dizziness.
Taking the sharp scissors out of the drawer, I reminded my kids, once again, that these are-
“we know!” they chant in unison.
-not for kids. I cut the thick paper quite easily and began piling up the letters on the table as my kids stare at the sharp, shiny scissors.
“What?” my oldest said. “What are you waiting for?”
Sometimes I enjoy these tiny moments of control.
It was two weeks ago when we received notice that my son would be taken out of class to receive extra help because he failed to recognize enough letters and say the correct letter sounds in the “allotted” time.
I read them Shakespeare, damn it!
I was angry.
How could anyone be interested in timing a five year old to see if they can do, well, anything? Every time we need to be anywhere both kids seem to switch into zombie mode, strolling through the house, looking for something, anything, that they desperately need to take with them. Any parent that has driven with a kid in the back seat knows that all concept of time is lost once you hit the road.
In no time at all, in case you are wondering, he has all the letters in order with spaces left for the few stragglers yet to float down from daddy. He looks up and smiles. His new tooth seems to be pushing the other baby teeth to the side as if to say, “Here comes puberty!”. At least thats what I see.
He’s proud of himself.
I keep it light, since the last thing I want is him to think is that learning is a chore.
Rubbing his head, I whisper, “good job, kid”.
“Who’s hungry??” I say as I go to check dinner in the oven. The house is now filled with the familiar smell of rosemary and roasted fowl. I turn to my daughter, who is stepping on the alphabet letters, obviously messing the order up. I assume the classic position, hands on hips, head tilted slightly. She looks at me with that sneaky smile she has as she waits for her brother to respond.
“DAD! LOOK WHAT SHE DID!”
After a quick sorry, she runs into the other room, daring her brother to chase her. He obliges and I turn the burner off and let the rice rest, enjoying the few seconds of silence before the inevitable tears begin to flow.
“DADDY!” she screams from the family room.
I sigh, and walk into the other room.