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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Always the Teacher.

Even before I gave birth to my fabulously adorable offspring, I had worried that being a teacher would make a dreadful mother. I would turn everything into an educational opportunity and drive my daughter into becoming a screaming rebellious teenager who would set fire to books, get pregnant at 14, and run away to join the circus.

Hopefully she at least won't do the first two things, but I am finding it harder and harder to fight the instinct to teach.

Being the frighteningly oppressive and pushy teacher-mum that I am, I've been showing her the letters of the alphabet on the foam play mat I bought for her when she was a fetus.
"Duh, this is duh." I figure teaching her the sounds of the letters might be easier than the names. She chews on the purple letter D and drools onto the mat. Ah well, it's one way to explore a letter.
"Duh!" she echoed one day. I light up.
"This one is duh, say duh again!"
It's not long before I can ask for "duh" and she pulls it out of the mat and hands it to me. I have a genius child. A teacher's dream come true. This one won't be eating paste, or asking if Apollo 13 is set in space...

Time and again, she is able to retrieve "duh" every time I ask for it. At 10 months old, she has shown me that reading books to her from birth has not been for nought, that teachers really do make good parents.
"Okay Midget, get duh for me again!"
She grabs the letter B.
"Duh!" she announces. She then wanders away unsteadily saying "duh, duh, duh." Apparently, the letter F also makes the sound "duh".
We took her to the zoo: "Duh!" she named every single animal.

It didn't take me long to realize I didn't give a shit that she can't tell me consistently which letter is D at 11 months old because she's a happy, beautiful, healthy baby and I love her so much it hurts (especially when she hands me a book into my EYE) and she'll learn in her own damn time, thank you very much.

And anyway, we all know that in this world, it's good looks that count, so even if she never learns to read, she's set for life ;)


humble simpleton said...

It's not very much about pushing children towards something, but rather observing and strenghtening their own curiosity, like, following natural currents. Says my naive theory of teaching, based on my memory of me asking:"What is this on the fridge?"
"These are lettes, see, this is 'c' and this is 'a', then 'l''e''x'."
"Hey, there are letters on the radio too."
Works only if the kid enjoys discovering more than dressing Barbie, think I.
And sorry, all kids eat paste. My favorite brand was 'tutti frutti', heh, of course it was, in communism there is usualy just one brand of any particular goods, so it must have been my favorite.
Does your instinct drive you to command your hubby, like "Answer in whole sentence." or "Speak only when you are asked."?

jj's mama said...

Hahaha!! This post was hilarious! I definitely have a new everyday read.

I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one that went out and bought educational books and toys for my little one before the pregnancy test was even dry.

"I will not have a stupid kid, I will not have a stupid kid," played over and over in my head as I searched the titles.

"Baby's first 100 words" - Not enough.

"Baby's first dictionary" - Much better.

"Baby's first colors" - What?? It doesn't include "chartreuse" and "cyan." No thanks.

"Behr paint color wheel" - I guess this will do.

By the way, my little girl will be 5 months in a week. Yay!

TeacherLady said...

Humble simpleton- I encourage my daughter's curiosity to the point of letting her know what happens when she throws herself off the edge of the bed ;) She'll grow up thinking she can fly.
I NEVER ate paste! Probably because arts and crafts were not really hugely encouraged in the Middle East.
Gotta love communism! It's great when you don't have to make up your own mind. It's so convenient having it made up for you!

JJ's mama, your response made me laugh! But honestly, you CAN be choosy about the stuff you expose your kid to. Have you noticed there are some really crappy kids books that hold no more value than the cardboard they're printing on? I believe in quality kid's literature and educational experiences, and as a picky, educated parent, you have the ability to distinguish the Pokemon shite from the Ernie and Bert gold.

Congrats on your little one turning five months old!! I loved absolutely every stage of my midget's development, and the fifth month old mark held all sorts of wonders! To celebrate the milestone, you can buy her Baby's Introduction to Nuclear Physics- It's Not Just For Boys Anymore.

humble simpleton said...

Aha, little misunderstanding here, I talked about toothpaste, while you meant glue. In that case the name was 'drago', not bad too.

TeacherLady said...

Ah I see... It's called paste here in the States, but we just called it glue back in the Middle East.

Realm Of Dreams said...

In the states paste and glue are two seperate things. Glue is liquid and actually works, but as children adults wouldn't let us use it. Paste was a thick nasty goo that was far more trouble than it was worth and left big lumps under whatever you were trying to adhere together and would never hold for long. Thus adults told us that was the only safe substance for us to use. I guess with Glue Sticks nowadays that isn't so much an issue.