Posted by michelle on Sunday, March 23, 2014
So far she has mastered the following words: zoo, her name, her brother's name, the name of a boy in her class (I'll have to investigate this later), and dog. I'm glad that she is learning...although sad that I will no longer be able to spell out words I don't want her to understand, a few of which might only contain four letters.
She is loving this new skill and it has all but taken over many of our conversations. She is constantly asking me what certain letters spell. Unfortunately she just strings together whatever letters spring to mind and 99.9% of the time our conversations go as follow:
"Mom what does c-g-n-t-q spell"
Slightly confused but also proud of her abilities..."That spells nothing?I thought nothing started with an n."
"You didn't actually spell the word nothing...it does not make a word"
"No, I said what does c-g-n-t-q spell" this time only louder and annunciating slower in case I just didn't understand her properly.
"Sorry Tess, that is not a word"
And she painfully starts to sound it out, like clearly I am an idiot and just do not understand her.
"Tess that is not a real word. At least not in English anyways"
"Well what does it spell in Spanish then?"
By this point I already have a headache, realize I will not win ...and finally just say...."that spells couch" forever crippling her ability to be hooked on phonics.
Buoyed by her success she tries another, "Mom what does p-l-r-z" spell. I have created a monster.
"Alex, I'd like to buy a vowel please."
Clearly my nineties game show humor wasted I give in and say, "That one is easy Tess. Clearly it spells pocket." She nods her head in approval. Like I am finally speaking her language.
I have tried to reason with her. To calmly explain that you can't just string any letters together you want to make a word. If you could we would all be Words With Friends champions and my students would find far less errors on their quizzes and tests. Also, autocorrect would be a whole lot less funny.
But. If you think reason works with my child, at least my younger one, then you have clearly not met her. (Or me, because this apple doesn't fall far from the t-r-e-e).
I may spell just a tad bit better than she does...but....we both share a knack for trying to make things out of nothing. My daughter insists that whatever nonsense letters she puts together must make a word.
I decide in some crazy part of my brain that little thoughtless comments, actions or emails must be significant. I create situations or problems out of little events and sentences that should add up to nothing. I replay conversations in my head unnecessarily. I assign meaning and motivation often when there isn't any. And this ability only gets better in the middle of the night. Maybe I am alone in this, but I doubt it.
Occasionally my daughter strings letters together accidentally that actually spell a real word.
Sometimes these middle of the night scenarios actually take place.
But more often than not they don't.
More often than not we both get it wrong.
Today in the car I asked my daughter to spell dad. I belly laughed as she confidently spelled, " D-O-D-O". I promised my husband that I didn't teach her that. And when my brain is adding up things that were never meant to be added she might as well be spelling M-O-M.
And just in case her future kindergarten teacher is out there reading this, I promise I have tried to to tell her that they're is only one write way to spell a word. (Someone please catch the irony of that sentence....it was one of my few grammatical errors that was intentional). Some things aren't meant to be created into problems. There are enough real ones out there waiting to be spelled out or solved.
Sometimes things add up to nothing.
For everything else, there is spell check.