Archives for the month of: November, 2015

The reason is not what you think it is.

I don’t need to shed pounds. With their antics, the kids make sure I burn enough calories every day.

Sure, some of their meals look tasty after I prepare them and I’ve been standing for 30 minutes serving and spoon feeding both kids while my own stomach is eating itself and the thoughts line up in my head of “It would be nice if I got to eat my own dinner before 8pm…Mushie’s arm kinda looks like a chicken wing from this angle. What smells like a burrito? Eww! Did you just fart Worm? Geez, I’m so hungry I can’t smell the difference…When are you guys going to start cooking for yourself?”

Sometimes the kids eat the meals I prepare for them. Sometimes they rub pieces of it over their bodies while chanting in tongues. Occasionally, I can leave their plates in front of them and return much later to see their food looking absolutely untouched.

Still, I won’t touch it. I could be on the verge of starvation and I wouldn’t take food from their plate.

I hate to waste food, but my kids are disgusting. The main reason I’d rather toss the mac & cheese than make my belly happy?

Germs.

I tell the kids to wash their hands before they sit down to eat. They run towards the bathroom like it’s a theme park ride. Sometimes they use soap. Sometimes they think the toothpaste spittle from the night before serves the same purpose. I’ve witnessed spit bubble boats being happily pushed back and forth in a sink full of water. Yep, even green ones.

And even the washing hands thing wouldn’t be that bad if the kids used their utensils to eat. But cleanliness is boring. Fingers are fun, even if they were just inside a nostril, mouth, or scraping something crusty out of the corner of a bedroom. We’re at the age when picking noses happens as frequently as breathing. Both spelunkers have taken to digging in secret to avoid my disdain.

Now for the best part. I’m always interested in my kids tasting food before they say they don’t like it. That means they have to put it in their mouth. The etiquette for a normal human would be to gently spit the food out into a napkin or discretely slip it under the table for the dog. Instead, mine like to bury pre-digested food back into the plate. Why would a licked cucumber not want to be reunited with its friends? And so it goes.

It’s cold and flu season and even with everyone coughing and dripping with fluids, I’m still not sick. Thus far, I’ve avoided a phlegmy cold and pink eye. I’m hoping my immune system can get me through the holidays unscathed. Now, if I could only get the kids to stop coughing into my face! Ho! Ho! *COUGH* Ho!

Germ Exhibit A and Germ Exhibit B

Germ Exhibit A and Germ Exhibit B

Gavin – 40; Honeydaddy – 25 (Worm, I’m becoming impervious to your bacterial cloud!)

I began reading at a very young age. My mom says that by 3, I had grasped quite a few words. My wife on the other hand, didn’t start reading until later. We both ended formal schooling with roughly the same level of education, and the only difference between us is that sometimes I have to speak slowly so Steph understands me. And in rare instances, I am forced to spell out words such as “N – O!” (That may have less to do with comprehension and more to do with stubbornness, but I don’t care…I’m just stating the facts!)

Naturally, I thought that Worm should have been reading at 3 just like his youthful, debonaire dad. I mean, if he’s MY son, he shouldn’t veer away from my clear path towards awesomeness. Over a year ago, night-time reading turned into a spelling exercise. That evolved into a word finding exercise. Then, we started moving into recognizing vowel and consonant sounds. I was eager. Worm started off in the same boat, but quickly jumped ship for the safer shore of “Ughs” and “Grunts”. (I jest, I jest…)

We both became increasingly frustrated. The bedtime story had turned into a nightmare. So, I dropped the opportunity to make a learning experience out of that part of the day and begrudgingly let it go.

Visions of Worm and I hashing out Dostoyevsky and Hemingway disappeared. My son was going to be illiterate for the rest of his life. His elementary schoolmates would render him a laughing-stock after his 1st grade teacher who’d asked him to write a certain sentence on the board, turned to find this instead:

“THE FART BOYS POTTIED WITH THE GIRLS FORM THE SORRY HOUSE ON CAMP US LAST FRYDAY.”

He would be doomed.

I haven’t since pushed for Worm to focus on reading. These days, I don’t really think about it. Though, he is starting to be curious about various letter combinations found around town. If he asks me what certain words are, sometimes I just make stuff up.

“Honeydaddy, what’s that blue sign on that door? What’s M-A-N say?”

“It says ‘Monsters inside’. You want to go in?”

I’ve finally taken the steering wheel back from my ego and accepted that even though Worm may not be reading right now, he is still learning. That is my key takeaway from all the prior frustration. I must say that I was reassured when I came across an article about illiterate Finnish children and how at an early age, the teachers and kindergartener don’t focus on reading, but on playing and exploring. Yet, by the age of 15, these children are testing on the same level or higher when compared to other children around the world, many of whom have forced reading curriculums during early education. (Ahem…United States.)

Children are sponges. They are wired for learning. But that learning, especially early on, must come from play activities where they get to engage and interact with objects, people, and TVs. (just checking to see if anyone was still reading…) Having a child try to drill and memorize stuff when they’re not interested is difficult at best. Hell, it’s difficult for adults to do!

Worm is almost 5 years old. Can he read? Hell no. But, am I afraid? Not anymore. We’ll try the Finnish approach and see what happens. There will be plenty of time for academia later in life. Right now, I’m not going to force him to unwillingly spell and recite words. If he’s interested, then I’ll engage him. But otherwise, I will save the effort for a few years later. For now, I’m going to enjoy the Worm’s playful curiosity…in whatever he wants to indulge in!

There’s a lot of interesting perspective in the article I read here: The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. I encourage any parent of youngsters to read it. It was eye-opening for me and helped me to reevaluate my expectations for my child!

 

Even though he can't read, he knows how to work the system!

Even though he can’t read, he knows how to work the system!

Gavin – 40; Honeydaddy – 24 (In this parenting experience, I’m learning just as much as you, Worm!)

 

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