Reading, reading, and more reading…

Reading with my kids is an activity that I have always enjoyed. From the time they were little toddlers and could barely sit through a book, to the age Josie is now where we take turns reading pages to each other. But there is an in-between time in there that is difficult. It’s that learning-to-read time. I’m not even sure difficult is the right word because it’s pretty much torture.

Right around kindergarten/first grade they are going to school and learning letters and sounds and all kinds of new things and they are so excited! But then they have to start putting those letters and sounds together. It’s hard and they need a lot of help and supervision. Maybe this is fun if you are a teacher, or have the patience of a saint, but if you’re just a normal human, it’s the worst. Pronouncing c-a-t can take anywhere from 2-3 minutes and you wait as long as you can before just blurting it out so you can move on to the next three letter word.

Something that adds to this misery is the reading log that the teacher sends home. “Read or have your child read to you for 20 minutes, every night, then record the book title and how many minutes you read”. 20 minutes? When helping a five-year-old read, this feels close to an hour, or also eternity. Lots of deep breaths are required. And so sometimes you make it the full 20 minutes and you feel like you deserve some sort of medal. But then sometimes you just can’t and you wait until your little one is fast asleep before logging their reading minutes and you might fudge it just a bit, strictly for survival. …

Sink or swim

After going to a swimming party this summer, I watched how each of our kids fared in the pool; Charlie jumping off the diving board and never wanting to get out of the pool, Coleman comfortably swimming around with his friends, Judah cautiously jumping off the side, never straying too far from the edge, and Josie kicking around the pool hanging onto a ball to keep her afloat. She whined when I told her that she had to stay where she could touch.

“But Mama! I’m not going to sink if I just keep hanging onto the ball.”

“Right, but that ball is slippery and if you lose your grip, you will sink straight to the bottom and Mama will have to jump in the pool with all her clothes on to rescue you and I really don’t want to have to do that.”

“Trust me, that’s not going to happen!” says the over-confident fourth child who’s never had a swimming lesson in her life.

Swim lessons for our family have been challenging, to say the least, and as it usually goes for a fourth kid, I kind of just forgot, gave up…whatever you want to call it. But because I want to be a responsible parent and not totally give up with the last child, I decided both Judah and Josie needed to learn to swim; or at least get to a point where they could survive if they fell into deep water. I kept my expectations pretty low.  …

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