Monday morning Matthew sat down at the table with a fat, red marker in grip and an old notebook. And just because he felt like it, wrote a nine page “story” while I was in the shower. Nine pages of actual words. For me, he said.
It went something along the lines of: MY MOMMY IS NOT TAKNG SUMTHNG IN ON TO AT THE TRASH HOT BUT WILL BE ON IN! IS IN IS IN ON THE MRNING TO THE TRASH. TRUSH TRUD TRUCK CAT CAR BECUS IT IS IN GBTH A HIT CUP! BUS STOB BLOG WILL MATTHEW SUMTHING AT OF MOMMY? NO TV IS ON SPHT END DADDY MARY SCURLIT THE PEZZA IS HAPI MATTHEW THE DOG GO VAN SIPICH FOR BRTHIDAY IS TO GO.
Good stuff, right?
My fridge is completely cluttered over with more paper than I even knew the number of magnets we had could hold, but I can’t take myself to bring them down. When I got out of the shower that day, I saw that he’d hung them all up himself (which, of course means that each lone magnet is pinning down three sheets of paper a piece…) and he was rightly proud of what he had done. By Thursday he’d nearly gone through the entire notebook. Loose leaf papers crammed from top to bottom with like-sized words (Real words! Well, mostly.) litter the house like fallen leaves, and picking up stray pen caps before the baby chokes on them now is among the many full-time jobs I have around here. If I thought the drawing obsession was bad, this is worse. He. Will. Not. Stop.
Yesterday he kicked it up a notch. He asked if he could write words on his boot. I said no. Then he looked down with an expression that effectively read: Oh. Oops. Having the foresight to know exactly what I was walking into, I put down my lunch, went to his room and found a ribbon of half misspelled words written all along the top of his desk, the side of his dresser, and of course, two pairs of shoes. Like I said, this is worse.
Obviously, though, there’s a pretty well-worth-it up side. Wanting to write for himself has suddenly illuminated all these reading concepts that, until now, were just something he knew. Not something he got. And even though I love to teach him, I love the most when things click for him without my intervention. Even having read something like 10-15 books on his own from start to finish, little things like remembering which combination of letters actually makes the “th” sound or the “ch” sound was hard to remember. Words like THE and THEY and THEN have been memorized for so long that reading them now barely elicits even seeing the letter combinations they’re comprised of. So when he had to sound a word out, he didn’t see the T and H together, he still read them as two individual sounds. After a day of writing, (which actually translates to A LOT because he did it all day) he had TH down pat. The next time we sat down to read, he sounded out the word BATHROOM without separating the sounds.
In little ways like this, he’s spiraling so far away from being a baby. It’s funny, too; I’ve never really been the type to fuss over the fact that my children weren’t babies anymore. The other day Scarlett wore shorts for the first time this year. She wound up with a scrape that bled a little on her knee and I took a picture of it. I thrive on evidence of their growth. I love watching them learn to elaborate onto who they are… unfold into real people. I wouldn’t dream of holding that in or of keeping them from expanding. But once in a while it hits me.
Incorrigible, endearing, gregarious, unwittingly brilliant - in that perfect little way that all of them are.