3 Dec

The Turtle has never been to school, or any kind of formal education. Well, swimming lessons, but they were a disaster. Yet, he has taken to playing “school”. It seems to involve gathering a rather large pile of books. Sometimes the books are abandoned. Sometimes he “reads” them, while shushing the imaginary kids in his class. “School is a quiet place Momma.” Indeed it is son, indeed it is.

At three and a half I think he’s too young for formal education. But, sneakily enough I have been taking advantage of this school obsession to get him sit down for a few minutes and hold a pencil so that it doesn’t look like he’s trying to stab someone with it. Progress has been minimal. But he has reached that delightful stage where he freaks out if he goes outside the lines. Blank pages are my friends. Until he colours a hole in them. Maybe I should send him to preschool, for my own sanity.

The thing is, if we lived in Ireland I KNOW I would be sending him. Our delightful trip in August, when it rained every single day for a month confirmed that. Plus, it would be free. And they wouldn’t really “teach” him anything besides playing nicely and the social skills it would be nice for him to learn. I have no real desire for my three year old to be able too read and write. Or to produce crafts that look like an adult did them. The wonky looking things he produces, that are 11,000,000 miles away from the thing I was actually trying to get him to make, are a joy to behold. And he knows what they are, and can explain them to the doubters, what more could you want?

Right now, I’m enjoying the time I get to spend with him. We go to parks, children’s museums, the zoo, the aquarium, the natural history museum, state parks and nearby beaches. His world is wider than it would be in preschool. He may not be able to identify the letters of the alphabet on demand (even though I am sure he knows them), but he can tell the difference between a whale and a shark (the tails and fins apparently) and name more dinosaurs than I even knew existed. And he may only be able to count to eleven, but he is the most confident child I have ever encountered (sometimes I drive to the out of the way parks, so that I don’t have to talk to the strangers he befriends).

If I could just get him to stop bopping the people who frustrate him, we would be golden. “Him is annoying me Momma.” Yes son, I see that. But you still can’t hit him. That is the rule.


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