Alaric and Treanna are by no means perfect kids, but they’re pretty darn special. Steph and I happen to think they’re pretty great, and judging by the compliments we get from other people, we’re not just biased. One of the special joys of parenting these two has been watching their minds unfold over the past couple of years. Once Treanna took off on her reading, she started having some amazing things to say, and now that she’s comfortably wading her way through fiction novels for fun, we’ve been able to have some great conversations with her.
And then there’s Alaric. He’s poised right on the edge of that no-return swoop into reading for joy. He already knows far more words than he thinks he does, but he’s still suffering from a slight lack of confidence in his ability to puzzle out a word. He’s really close, though, and watching the connections form is rewarding. He’s really starting to amaze us with the things he retains.
Yesterday, he was working on his spelling homework and one of the words is “you.” Now, Alaric initially spelled it as U-O-Y — which if you stop and think about it from the point of view of a first grader who is still struggling to master this whole “English rules get broken more often than campaign promises” thing after having letter-sound combinations drilled into his skull, is pretty reasonable. After all, “you” *sounds* just like the letter U, and he remembered the other two letters, so I’m with him on this one. Nevertheless, I explained that “you” is one of those words that one just has to remember; the initial Y makes the right sound, but the OU combo doesn’t follow any of the rules he’s been taught yet. We talked about it for a couple of minutes and I was proud of how well he sucked up “That’s just how our crazy language works” speech.
And then he nodded wisely and capped it up nicely:
“Yeah, because that’s how Shakespeare invented it.
How do you explain convincingly that you’re laughing out of sheer joy and delight, not to make fun? It took us a while and I’m still not sure he believes us.
We have the best kids in the world, I swear.