ABC wall of shame.

I Will Not Learn My ABC’s. Not In A House. Not With A Mouse.

ABC wall of shame.
ABC wall of shame.

Tiny-Small refuses to learn her ABC’s She’s got better stuff to do y’all (sorry, I’ve been reading Southern writers and it rubs off, you know?) She has bigger and better plans that don’t include reading. She’s going to be so rich and so famous that she’ll be able to pay other people to read for her. Apparently, she’s got this all figured out.

OK, maybe she doesn’t have some evil master plan, but still…she is laughing at my efforts to teach her the ABC’s. Wait, no, she’s not even laughing. That’s how much she doesn’t care about letters right now. She’s completely indifferent. Oh, she sings the songs and can spell B-I-N-G-O as well as the rest of her peers and she can sing her ABC’s complete with mushing the middle into something that sounds like “m&mespeas.” She likes the singing. She just doesn’t want to have to look at the letters. They offend her sensibilities for some reason.

I will not learn my ABC's
I will not learn my ABC’s no matter how many times you plaster them on my wall. It’s a matter of principle.

I, on the other hand, am a slightly off-balanced ABC tyrant from the third dimension of Tiger Mom land. I’ve posted three sets of ABC learning tools in her room. Her room is not that big, you guys. It looks like someone vomited the alphabet all over her walls. It’s like the bathroom of the ABC preschool bar up in there. Never mix your drinks: Milk and juice, shaken or stirred, will make you barf before snack time is over. Apparently, having the ABC’s in every direction is like an assault on her mind, or at least on her aesthetic. Which I have to say is something she values very highly.

It’s all me. I’m the one with the problem here. I keep thinking Tiny-Small needs to read before she is five. I feel a sense of panic when I think about it. What if she is behind her peers FOREVER and she can’t get the education she needs to get a good job and afford to live or be happy or eat food…ramble, ramble, stress, stress, blow this out of proportion until you can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous you are. What if she doesn’t have any accomplishments that her grandparents can brag about? I feel a shortness of breath coming on. Then I remember that 5 is like over 1.5 years away. We do have time here. Then, I also remember that we are maybe, probably going to homeschool her. So, if she doesn’t read until 15 we’ll still be OK. I mean, we do have a basement she can live in, right? Seriously, because if all of the homeschool rumors are true we’ll be lucky if she learns to tie her shoes or how to make friends or how to not drool on herself in social situations anyway…. The things people say about homeschooled kids is pretty insulting and silly, but I try not to judge people for saying them. OK, I totally judged them because they say things that aren’t true or based on any research, but I am pretty ridiculous sometimes too (see beginning of this paragraph) so I can’t complain too loudly. At least, I probably shouldn’t. Anyway, a lot of kids who went to school still live in their parents basements these days and some of them have poor social skills which means it was like they were homeschooled anyway, at least according to societies skewed views about homeschooling. So, I guess learning to read early, or at home, might not even matter THAT much. Plus, they do have Velcro shoes now and Tiny-Small can always make friends over the Internet just like the rest of us do. I mean that happens all the time these days too.

ABC's running rampant.
ABC’s running rampant.

In short, my self-induced ABC-panic may or may not be warranted. I probably won’t know for sure until Tiny-Small is 27 and asks me to fill out her job application because she can’t read the questions. Until then, I guess I will ease up on the ABC-pressure-cooker I have created. It’s like the preschool boiler room up in here. I’ll just keep reminding myself that 1.5 years is enough time to teach someone to read. Hopefully.

Of course, no matter what I do she’ll always be behind those kids that started reading at 6 months old or at birth, which I hear is happening more and more these days. Something about taking the right vitamins and wearing giant headphones on your stomach during pregnancy is producing a super elite race of infant scholars. Tiny-Small and I are only human and possibly average humans at that (as my friend Roberta says “there is a bell curve for a reason”). Besides, all of these ABC drill sessions are really starting to interfere with our piano playing, painting, pretending we understand quantum physics, and advocating for world peace. We really need to embrace our priorities and stop comparing our weaknesses to other people strengths. At least I do. Tiny-Small doesn’t seem to care about what other kids are doing at all…unless it involves slides and dolls and flower picking capabilities.

I have to stop reading Facebook status updates about children with superior alphabet skills. I have to stop worrying about their gluten-free diets, expensive preschool enrollment, and brain enhancing vegetarian brownies too. I have to accept the fact that I am never going to teach Tiny-Small mandarin or be awesome in all ways possible. It’s just hard to remember sometimes. I mean, we all want to be awesome in all ways possible, especially when it comes to parenting. Some of us are just hyperventilating about it more than others. At least I have found something to be above average in, right?

I can find a silver lining in anything if I try hard enough.

17 thoughts on “I Will Not Learn My ABC’s. Not In A House. Not With A Mouse.”

  1. She will learn it at her own pace like everyone else in the world. Besides the more pressure we put on our children the more they push against it. At least that has been my experience. Mine is 18 and she still does that! I keep hoping that if I ignore her room she will magically clean it one day…….

    1. I keep oscillating between pushing and letting things be. I hope I can find that happy medium soon. I am putting way more pressure on myself than I am on Tiny-Small. She is immune to pressure! I think that is the best part of being three. She’s been teaching me a lot of lessons.

  2. Lily, my dearest. Don’t fret! I did not know how to read before school. I learned in Kindergarten. The majority of the kids in my school system learned in kindergarten and/or first grade. I could name you plenty of productive citizens who didn’t learn to read before school. I don’t know about parenting stuff, but I know for certain a kid can learn to love to read even if she doesn’t know how before structured schooling. I’m one of the wormiest bookworms I know!

    1. She still loves books so there is hope. She pretends to read my books and “reads” her picture books. Most of this panic is about me. I worry if I can’t even teach her the alphabet how will I teach her anything else? I get criticisms and comparisons from family. It’s hard to know what is valid and what isn’t.

  3. Oh my word, you crack me up.
    Relax! She will be just fine. No need to quiz her on her letters. As I’ve told many a parent, your job is not to teach your daughter to read, it is to get her to enjoy reading.
    Funny story, though. A niece (an only child) and my youngest (the sixth) are 2 months apart in age. The first time they were together was when they were hovering around turning 2. Niece had a book, pointing out and naming all the pictures clear as day. When she pointed out rainbow, her mom asked, “What colors are in a rainbow?” Niece dutifully answered the colors correctly. My son then took the book, pointed to a chicken and said, “Cow!” Fortunately, I have been around the block a few million times, and it didn’t bother me in the least.
    When they are young, it is hard not to get stressed that other kids are learning everything faster than yours. As a teacher and mom of 6, they aren’t smarter than your daughter. Your daughter won’t be behind because she doesn’t know her letters. Relax.
    Huh, I don’t comment in ages, then jump in just to give you a bunch of unsolicited advice. Just the kind of reader all bloggers want. 🙂

    1. I need your advice today. Trust me! My daughter just has different interests. She loves animals and colors. She can point out an eagle and a hawk in our bird book. I think it’s hard because you get parents who want to tell you how their kid is so much smarter than yours. Then you start to worry, but I guess some of us are in nontraditional ways. I think part of my worry is that I want Tiny-Small to fit in better than I did as a kid. It’s probably not going to happen though, I mean she does have our genes. She’s going to be a little off beat in her learning style.

    1. I am going to go with alien robots. I think it’s really hard to figure out what is typical for kids. There is so much information out there and most of it is based on the kid geniuses of the world or fabricated or exaggerated. I don’t even know! The older people remember things differently than they actually happened (I think). I get a lot of stories about how little so and so was reading by 18 months. Seriously? It’s hard to believe so I assume they are remembering wrong.

  4. I don’t know how parents do it these days. I’m barely able to work out whether to feed my cat as soon as I get home or after I’ve gotten changed, I’d never be able to work out all of the details of raising a child. I’m sure she’s fine though, she’s probably absorbing the alphabet by osmosis from all of the versions you’ve pinned up on the walls ;D

    1. I am not very good at working out the details of raising a child either. It’s all on a hope and prayer. You are probably right! Maybe my visual explosions are paying off in a way I can’t measure.

  5. Does she even need to yet?
    Over here and in Ireland the system is to use phonics to learn to read and write so they don’t learn the ABC until after they know the letters and sounds. And they learn those in random order (not really, but I don’t know the logic of why they learn the phonics in that order).
    They don’t actually need the ABC until they start using dictionaries…

    1. It’s just hard when you have a dream that your child will rule the world one day and keep you in a lifetime supply of free chocolate. I’m getting better at letting go, seriously…I used to be worse. Hard to believe, I know!

  6. All kids show an interest in learning letters and learning to read at different ages. Don’t worry about it. For instance, my 2nd boy would talk more than 2 words till he was almost 3 years old, and then he instantly became the most biggest talker of my 3 kids.

    On the other hand, when kids are ready, and if you make if fun with no pressure, they’ll amaze you with what they can do. My kids all learned to read early with phonics. One started at 20 months, but he was exceptional. The others were plenty interested in my reading games by age 3.

    I got my kids started early to read…before they ever entered kindergarten. I can’t overstate how much it helped their overall confidence level in all subjects. My boy started reading at age 3. As he entered first grade and they told me he was reading on the 5th grade level. Kids love reading when they can learn with no pressure.

    Diana S.

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