The brothers are learning to read in kindergarten. God help us all. For the past five months the entire family has been subjected to relentless inquisition regarding all manner of phonetic procedure. If you think I’m exaggerating, just pause and consider how many things you pass every day that have words on them. Heck, just consider how many SIGNS in general you pass. Yeah. Now put twin six-year-old spelling geniuses in the far rear seat of the van, shouting queries like a pair of Gatling guns launching Civil War attacks on all of us innocent bystanders in the front seats. It’s ridiculous.
Nathan: “Hey dad, what does D-E-A-L spell?”
Me: “Deal. It spells deal.”
Nathan: “Deal! Hey Nic, you know how to spell deal? I can spell deal!”
Nicholas: “No you can’t.”
Nathan: “Yes I can. D-E-A-L.”
Nicholas: “That’s not deal. DAD, HOW DO YOU SPELL DEAL??”
Nicholas: “That doesn’t sound like deal.”
Nathan: “I told you I could spell it.”
Nicholas: “You can’t spell every word.”
Connor: “I can spell every single word in the universe.”
Nathan and Nicholas: “NO YOU CAN’T”
Connor: “YES I CAN!”
Nathan and Nicholas: “NUH-UH!!”
Me: “HEEEYYYYYAAAAAAGGGGHHH stop it!!!”
It never ends. Every sign, every bench, every bus, every building. And the best part is when a really stupid word rears its head, like the day Nicholas found “ought” and, of course, immediately popped the question.
Me: “Ought. Like you ought to buy this car.”
Nathan: “Like DOT?”
Me: “Well sorta. But dot is easy, D-O-T. Ought has other letters in it that spell the same sound.”
Nicholas: “Yeah it has a G. G can make Goldfish.”
Me: “No, this G doesn’t do that. It’s silent.
– Pause. Confusion is thick in the air. –
Me: “It’s complicated. You’ll probably learn about it in like ninth grade.”
Nathan: “What does ought mean, anyway?”
Me: “It means ought. Like you ought to stop asking about hard words from ninth grade.”
It gets worse as they get smarter, but at least they stop asking incessant spelling questions once they can just read the billboards for themselves. Of course that leads to 20 questions about personal injury lawyers and surgical weight loss procedures, but that’s a whole other blog… The other night while helping Connor with second grade spelling words, I was called on to explain why “speech” has two e’s but “speak” does not, and why “flood” sounds like “mud” but “troop” sounds like “poop.” Because English is absurd, that’s why. They “ought” to just give all new school students a copy of this page and be like “Here ya go. Good luck, kid.” Seriously people, driving parents are in no position to deal with this language crisis.
We were coming home from a family dessert trip the other night (to TCBY, of course. Why. WHY???) when the back seat interrogations reached critical mass:
Nicholas: “Mom, what does “abcd” spell.”
Mom: “It spells nothing. It’s the alphabet.”
Nicholas: “Does it spell “aabdekuh?”
Mom: “No, it spells nothing. No words. It’s not a word.”
Nathan: “What does “ssississi” spell?”
Mom: “Nothing. That’s not a word. Please stop asking spelling questions. This is not a spelling bee.”
Nicholas: “Mom, what does “pqrs” spell?”
Me: “WHAT DOES “S-T-O-P” SPELL?? STOP!! IT SPELLS STOP ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT SPELLING WORDS THAT ARE MADE UP OUT OF NOTHING!”
Somebody help parents of kindergarten boys. There ought to be a better way than this.