Thursday, February 5, 2015

Learning to Listen to a Child Learning to Read

Let me begin this post by saying that I am very proud of my children. All of them. And all of their reading efforts, challenges, and eventually, mastery.

Now, let me continue by saying that the time that they are learning to read...1st-2nd grade for my oldest, Kindergarten for my middle and youngest, and 1st grade for my one who struggled a bit in an adventure, to say the least.

I know you know what I mean. That time that they send home reading homework every night. Reading homework that your child despises. Reading homework that tests your patience. You love your child. There is nothing more that you want than to see your child succeed, and you want to beam with pride at his or her accomplishments. But seriously, getting through these nights are pure torture for a parent.

Me: "Connor, get out your homework, please."

Connor. "I don't know where it is."

Fast forward past tripping over the backpack, meltdowns over how the snack I gave him lacked sustenance, and how he was rendered blind by my lack of proper nutrition (which should have been candy,) and we finally sit down, ready to read "Where My Food Comes From." I'm already envisioning a very shocking lesson that will scar the kid for life when he realizes bacon doesn't come from those hand dryers in public restrooms.

We finally sit down. It becomes quite obvious that he does not want to read. He starts reading slowly, pausing between every word. He turns around, until he is hanging upside down, off the couch, reading the book as if he was William Shatner. Well, if William Shatner was reading upside down.

I calmly ask him to sit back up. He does, and then spends a very long time trying to get out each word. He is able to flawlessly read the word "agriculture," but stumbles on the word "fruit," drawing out the word in a torturous, long drawl that somehow turns into a gargle, and it takes every ounce of my being to not shout out the word "FRUIT! IT'S FRUIT!!!" This kid...who can read the back of a cereal box...who can read every Skylander there is out of a book, cannot figure out how to say the word, "fruit." Or "and."

I know it's only a matter of time. I went through this with every kid. We went on to read all of the Harry Potter books, The Hobbit, etc., and they read on their own many more books. That said...I'm not going to lie...getting through the initial reading stages are not fun. And it is WAY more work on the parent than it is the child. Okay, maybe not. But it does feel that way at times. Especially when the word is "but," and the kid doubles over in laughter, causing you to have to explain ANOTHER crazy thing about the English language...there are many but(t)s in this world, but the only one he should focus on is the one that contradicts whatever he just read.

Friday, January 30, 2015


I looked back the other day at the first few posts in this blog. I can't believe how much has changed over the last few years. My babies are in first grade. My oldest is living on his own, and the second oldest is going to graduate high school this year. The middle child is dangerously teetering on the edge of childhood and pre-teendom. She still has a couple of years to go, but you wouldn't know it by talking to her.

Our family has also moved. Again. We also gained a new member of the mother.  This also brings about new routines and challenges. Several months ago I *might* have blasted some Beastie Boys tunes in the middle of the day while dancing around in my underwear. Now if I play music it is something like Tom Petty, and the volume is at a respectable level. I ask for parenting advice and learn the names of the different birds that are outside the window.

The family is enjoying the new house. There is a loft area, which has a nice reading nook, and allows for paper airplanes, secret messages, and the occasional toy to be catapulted down to the first floor below. Cats walking by up in the loft area also provide superb target practice for nerf guns aimed from the first floor.

There is a pond out in the back yard that has been great for watching frogs, poking sticks in the water, and in Owen's case, "accidentally" wading.

There are two fireplaces here. Real, wood-burning fireplaces. After setting off the smoke alarm a couple of times, and Bruce once setting the carpet on fire when a log fell out, we finally got the hang of it and it has become a source of enjoyment on really cold days.

Hopefully now that we are settled, I can start to update the blog more often.  It is almost time to pick the kids up from school, which means the blasting of Taylor Swift shall commence...with the kids dancing around in their underwear.