I don’t know if I’ve written much about my !%&#@! FRUSTRATION that even though I’m a trained teacher, I can’t teach my son to to write his name. I have tried fun pens; fun crayons; letter-shaped cookies; letter shaped crackers; a magnet board; a white board; writing it on the chalkboard that expands an ENTIRE WALL of the playroom.
We have made up songs with his name (do you know how hard it is to sing “There was a farmer who had a dog and Vincenzo was his name-o?”); played games where I scramble his name letters and he unscrambles them; I have purposely misspelled his name to see if he’ll correct me. I have tried to get him to write letters in sand and in salt and in pudding and in everything but his own FECES but still the kid resists.
All this I have done in a very backgroundy kind of way, careful not to breathe down his neck or appear frustrated in front of him or HEAVEN FORBID give him any helpful hints along the way. (I did that once. I now have a prosthetic head.) But anytime I ask any kind of question a teacher or psychologist might ask a kid, the Mommy Teacher Alarm gets tripped and Vincenzo tells me he doesn’t want to play. Then I wait a week or a month, depending on how severe his adverse reaction was, before trying a new game.
So yesterday when we were filling out a form that needed Vincenzo’s name I asked him (as I have done so many times before) to spell his name so I could write it. And he said, “V-I-N-C-E-N-Z-O,” clear as day. Clear as the first time he ever signed “milk.” It’s not exactly writing his name, but it’s a start.
That night at dinner we had spaghetti and I noticed Vincenzo twirling the noodles on his fork and eating them in an incredibly civilized manner. We did not need to change his shirt afterwards. We did not need to crawl around under the table picking up noodles and scrubbing the sauce off the carpet after dinner. Vincenzo did not look like a zombie who had just visited the brain buffet. I don’t even know where he learned to eat spaghetti like that (Kevin and I still look like zombies after we eat spaghetti)!
I knew I’d be proud and relieved when Vincenzo learned how to spell his name (and twirl spaghetti, apparently), but I didn’t expect to feel a bit of…what is this? Sadness?
Yes, a bit of that too. It’s that whole my-baby-is-gone-but-look-at-this-awesome-kid thing again.
As for teaching Vincenzo to write his name, I’m thinking we’ll just change the written representation of “Vincenzo” to “X.” That way at least he’ll be able to sign his own college applications.
WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST:
(Changing things up this week! Under normal circumstances this section would be filled with “cocoa puffs” and “Luna bars” but as Kevin started his parental leave, we get to sit down to breakfast together for a few weeks. Mmmmmmmmm!)
Butterscotch french toast panini with grilled pears