Or, How My Boy Learns
From Life’s Archives, June 6, 2011
I think the first word Cinder ever wrote was FART. He didn’t actually write it, if I recall correctly, but carved it into a styrofoam meat tray. For a while after that, he changed every “art” he encountered into a FART. Very joyously. Then he learned how to spell POOP. We still come across the odd random POOP smear—I mean, written on a wall, book or garbage can.
And he hasn’t precisely grown out of that phase yet. We recently started working with the All About Spelling programme, as Cinder started to stall and get frustrated with his progress, or rather lack of, with the next level of Bob Books and reading. We had been doing it fairly regularly in March and April, and then reached a frustration/stall point again, so took a break to let it all simmer and marinate, and I put it back on the table today. Flora’s working through the program with us too, of course, and I did the Step with her first, and it went sort of like this: I reviewed the concept, she repeated it or nodded her head, I read the three-letter word, and she spelled it. Then I did it with Cinder. I reviewed the concept of “sh” and “ch” and “th” sounds. He spelled “shit” to illustrate. I said ok, now we’re going to spell the “u” words from the Step. He changed “shit” to “Shut up.” Somehow—after grudgingly spelling gun, bum, and butt, and rolling his eyes at hug and tub—he ended spelling jack ass and asshole.
I was so proud. (Up to you to figure out if there’s a sarcasm sign flashing behind me).
Meanwhile, Flora was sitting at the kitchen table, listening to a book on tape and drawing rainbows, hearts and flowers.
Every Women’s Studies course I ever took? Lies. All lies.