Thursday, March 10, 2011

blueberry pancake mix and abc's

I've got a four-year-old who doesn't give a flying fig about writing or drawing (or cleaning up his own messes, or saying sorry in a nice voice, or sleeping in...but that's beside the point). He knows how to spell his name. He can read his name. He just doesn't know how to write it and doesn't care that he doesn't know how to write it. I've tried. I mean really, what am I supposed to do? Squeeze his fingers around the pencil and force him? Not gonna happen.

I'm not freaking out about it. He'll learn. He can recognize every letter and knows the sounds for almost all of them (vowels are tricky). Too bad all the letters that end with the long e sound (B, C, D, E, G, P, T, V and Z) all sound pretty much the same when he names them. Hopefully he'll get all the kinks worked out before he gets to kindergarten. If not, his teacher will just have a fun time trying to figure out what he's saying.

When I saw this idea for writing practice I thought we'd give it a try. I found a few boxes of blueberry pancake mix in the pantry. We're not big pancake eaters around here. They're probably expired so I figured it would be ok to use them. I also found some old cornmeal. I mixed them together and found a big ol' pan to spread them in.

Look at my brilliant kid.

He wrote a letter Q.

I'm so proud. He wrote a few others too. Then he was done. He lasted a whopping 5 minutes. He wanted me to draw flowers, hearts and Star Wars faces. Yeah, right.

I tried. I think I get an A for effort. I kept the cornmeal blueberry pancake mix in that pan for a few days, asking every morning if he wanted to practice his letters again. Not interested. I scooped it into a bag to save for another day. Next time I'll pull out spoons, forks and toy tractors to add to the fun. And we'll be doing it outside because I'm all for exploring and having fun while you're learning but no way I'm cleaning up that mess.

Of course, I had to scoop some into a pan for Cate too. You know, so she could pretend to write letters while making a big stinkin' mess. Fun, fun, fun! She wasn't very happy about the little fake blueberry chunks. She called them rocks and kept tossing them into Danny's pan. Fun, fun, fun!

I know there are moms and dads out there who teach their kids to walk before they're one, pee on the potty before they're two and read before they're three. Guess what! That's not me. Well, there's still hope for Cate to be reading before she's three. I've got three and a half months to get her there. It could happen.

I know I've got to teach these kids stuff. I can't expect Dora, Diego and Super Why to do it all. I also know that I'm not going to feel bad if my kid is the only one in his preschool class who doesn't know how to write his whole name. I know he can write the D and the A. I've seen him do it. The rest will come eventually. If not, he'll just go by Da. (By the way, my sister told her kindergarten teacher that her name was Mud. Kids are funny.)

A friend (I'm looking at you, Cat) was at my house last week. She mentioned something about wondering what she should be teaching her four-year-old. I don't remember what I said. Probably something silly about not worrying about teaching him too much because then what's his kindergarten teacher going to do all day. hee hee hee

Then I came across this post a few days ago during my perusing the internet time. What Should a 4 Year Old Know? There you go, Cat (and anyone else wondering what you should be teaching your kid before their teachers get a chance). Read it. And try to do so without getting tears in your eyes and a lump in your throat. I haven't been able to so far.

So your kid walked when he was 10 months old? Good for you.
Your three-year-old can write his name in two different languages? Woo hoo!
Your two-year-old draws bunnies and flowers and unicorns? Wonderful.
Your one-year-old knows how to burp the abc's? Impressive.

My kids know I love them.
They know they're safe.
I read to them every day.
They know how to laugh and play.
And I'm pretty sure I've done my part to encourage Danny's interest in Star Wars.

The rest of it will come.

And I'm really glad we changed our minds about naming our firstborn Sessford.


Glenora said...

I personally was disappointed about the Sessford but really held out hope for Sessfordina for the second one. Oh well. Third one is the charm.

Judy said...

I personally didn't teach my kids anything. Poor Kris learned all his letters in preschool, or kindergarten since he didn't quite get them down there. Potty training, well you know how well I've done in that department. At least we're good for walking before two!

colds1 said...

Uh, Dora, Diego, and Super Why don't teach them everything they need to know?


Tiffany said...

I love the writing in cornmeal idea. Casey can spell his name, and even type it, but won't consider trying to write it.

Oh, and my kids wait til they're good and ready to hit milestones, too. You're doing great.

Marisa said...

This is such a great post!! I love that you used old pancake mix. Perfect. I love that he lasted a whole five minutes and made a Q! You absolutely get an A+ for effort.

Oh, yes, and Dora, Super Why and Elmo taught my kids a whole heck of a lot. They're smart, those cartoons.

You're a great mom!!

moultriefam said...

I just read the other day that all these "smart" kids are throwing their teachers off...they are too ahead of schedule and so they aren't interested in what the teacher is, I think that you should let every kid learn at their own pace...Emma can write almost all of her alphabet, but she was also very interested in doing it, so I taught her, but there are other things that she has NO interest in. If you force it, they won't ever want to learn it. I love the idea of the pancake mix...that sounds like such a fun outside activity this summer, I'm gonna have to try it

Arlene (CO Kid) said...

Cake mix was a first for me. I used cornmeal and lined the pan with black paper.

Have you had him write/design in cornstarch & water? My preschoolers loved that. It keeps well, too. The more tactile, the better. And when they throw it at each other, you can blame me.

Kids just need to have fun and feel loved. The End.

Chrisanne said...

I really do love that article and I'm sure she just forgot to include the BYU fight song on the list ;)

Simply Being Mommy said...

Love the idea of the cornmeal. I'm going to have to steal that one. And you mean we are supposed to teach our children things?!?