There was a kid at the park today, just a month older than your sisters, walking along a row of numbers on the ground and counting them out loud. This while your sisters were fighting over the opportunity to walk UP a slide.
His dad said that, yes, they taught him to count to ten, which of course was 'easy', and then he just seemed to pick up the rest of the numbers (the rest of them? I think I was actually 11 before I knew there was anything over 10) and the entire ALPHABET on his own. Just taught himself the alphabet this kid, you know, in his spare time. And thus far he could only read and spell three letter words, but they were working on it. As he said this I could hear Amy telling Ripley not to put dirt in her mouth.
As soon as he left I rushed the girls over to the numbers on the ground and tried to give them a crash course. I thought we'd just learn 1-5 really quick today and then pick up 6-10 tomorrow. Nixie was standing near the two and as soon as I said two she said TWO. I clapped. I cheered. I pointed to three. She said two. Then she walked along all the numbers and called them all two. Then she ran in a circle and tackled her sister and everyone just kept shouting TWO!
So numbers are out. We moved to the alphabet written on the wall. I had intended to teach the girls the alphabet at some point and had some little letters that they could play with in the tub, but things that have more than one piece don't do well around here so the alphabet (26 pieces, seriously?) is kinda hopeless. I think we still have an A, G, Z, and a 4 which I was kinda hoping would tide them over till kindergarten. Not that they've actually learned any of those. I take out the A and say, this is A, and then one of them will take the A, examine it, and then throw it at the other's head. Then I say, now there's a bunch of letters we don't have, and then this is G, and then the G get hurled. As far as they're concerned the alphabet is just a collection of oddly shaped projectiles.
So I pointed to the A on the wall, and reminded the girls that this was one of the letters we actually OWNED. Ripley said B. B? Where did you hear about B? We don't have a B. And then they pointed to C and called it B. And then they pointed to some bark on the ground and called it B. And then they put the bark in their mouths. And then Amy said, what did I tell you about putting dirt in your mouth?
Even things I thought they knew they don't. Eating for instance. I thought we had the basics down. Bite, chew, swallow. But Ripley just bites and chews then repeats until her cheeks are so full of partially chewed (but not swallowed!) food that she looks like she's trying to eat two golf balls. And then she sits in your lap and slowly opens her mouth and lets the whole mess (which is called a bolus in case you don't have a doctor wife who likes to offer you bits of trivia while you're cleaning half eaten pretzels out of your pants) drop out of her mouth. It's only the second day of the year and twice I've found myself in piles of partially digested food.
But fear not, we'll do better with you. We'll teach you all 26 letters. In order even. You get in Friday, you'll take the weekend, we'll start Monday. And if anyone ever tells you there aren't advantages to being the baby in the family you'll be able to point to your college scholarship while your sisters are fighting on a UFC undercard and signing their names AGZ4.
Saturday, January 2, 2010