Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hitting pause with my reader

I read a really eye opening quote recently that's been on repeat in my head all day.

"The days are long but the years are short." Apparently it's from this book which I obviously need to read.

Run there... hurry hurry hurry. My word for 2013 was supposed to be pause and I still haven't learned where the damn button is hidden in my life. And it leaves me wondering whether any of this will even register as memories ten years from now when my children are all teenagers preparing for a life completely separate from mine.

I've had conversations with a few people recently about society's big rush when it comes to educating our kids. We want them reading fluently by the time third grade is done. Sight words are being sent home in kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN, you guys. When 5 year olds should be coloring and eating glue we're forcing them to memorize words in preparation for reading.

There are some fascinating documentaries on Netflix right now full of tragic stories of parents desperately working to get their toddlers enrolled in the most prestigious pre-schools in hopes of an ivy league future.  It's seriously like that horrible pre-school in "Daddy Day Care" with Anjelica Huston in her severe kitten heels. This shit's real, you guys...

Really though, what's the hurry?

It was a constant battle when Elliott was in kindergarten.

He needs to memorize these sight words.
Why doesn't he know his sight words?
Are you drilling him on his sight words?
He's behind on his sight words.

Truth: I never drilled him on those stupid sight words. He's proven to me that his memory is more than adequate with his Doctor Who knowledge. The 10th Doctor's timeline? He can give you a run down from Rose to Donna and back again. Amy and Rory Pond? Their whole life story's in that tiny head too.

The kid just wasn't ready to read. And guess what?

I.didn't.panic. Because I was the exact same way.

She's not reading yet. Why isn't she reading? Shouldn't she be reading by now? The story I'm told is that one day nearing the end of first grade I picked up a fucking book and started reading...and basically haven't stopped since.

Sometimes that puzzle piece just has to fall into place. And if the piece is still floating around somewhere else it really is gonna be okay. Because guess what....

the piece finally found its groove and fit right in.

So when I'm being told that his handwriting needs work...that he shouldn't be mixing capital and lowercase letters....that he can't be writing his name in cursive until his printing is better....

well, I deal with the public school system that I appreciate so damn much and never take for granted the exact same way I do my mom.

Nod. Smile. Agree. And let Elliott write the way Elliott wants to. At school he can write in print with the appropriate dotted i's and crossed t's. 

But here at home Elliott will still look like ELLiott because that's the way his tiny little left brained mind sees it and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

So if you were to peek into my living room right now you'd see that I hit pause. There are banana peels scattered here and there, blankets covering the couch and books a plenty. My kids are almost as sticky as my kitchen floor and dinner was far from perfect nutrition. 

And in spite of it all I feel at peace because tonight Elliott will read me another story at bedtime and I'll be reminded that we are, in fact, doing this whole parenting thing the right way at least a good three-quarters of the time. 


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