When I shared about my six-year-old son Cooter giving me the honor of naming me the “Meanest Person in the World,” I mentioned that he might not have school and learning as a top priority. He’s very bright and he loves learning new things–about Star Wars, animals, the world. Because of an episode of Andy Griffith (the one where Barney tries to marry Andy off), he really wants us to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I mean, he really wants us to…..as in he keeps asking me so many questions about it that I pretty much have our favorite used bookstore and the library on our agenda for tomorrow. However, when it comes to phonics and math, he will do what he needs to, most of the time, but it just isn’t his thing.
And yesterday I gave thanks for that.
We were riding over to Mess Cat and Leroy’s house yesterday afternoon, and I went a different route. After I had already committed to it, I clenched my teeth and looked in the rear view mirror. I usually avoid going that way, but I let my guard down and was trying to go the quickest way I could. My glance backwards showed my two littles entranced by the episode of Andy Griffith where Aunt Bee got into the “elixir” and was singing and playing “Toot Toot Tootsie, Goodbye” on the piano with all she had. I was thankful. They didn’t see the sign.
I’m not writing this to make a commentary on the people who work there or the people who go there. I am writing because I struggle with what I will say when, as will inevitably happen, one of my littles asks me what that word means, and what kind of dances they are doing, and why do people have to pay $5 for them? That. I dread it.
Tonight we were going to meet Mess Cat and Leroy across town. As we neared the movie theater where our favorite coffee shop is, something on the marquee caught my eye.
What. On. Earth.
Okay, I just looked it up and read about it. In the words of my math teacher from high school when she heard a far-fetched answer: “Do wha-ut?”
Yeah, not even worth your time in checking it out. Just my opinion, but yeah. Who is making these movies anymore?
Again, I was thankful that my littles were distracted. I did NOT want to have to answer what that might mean.
We make weekly trips up to Macon, and I have planned my route for a long time based on the location of a billboard that asks the question of where the reader will spend eternity. It bothers me, as did the one before it that warned of one of the seven “deadly sins.” I want to explain religion and spirituality to my children in my own way. I’d rather not have to do it because one of my children is afraid of what will happen to them because of what it says on a billboard. When it was first put up, I would try to distract my reader by asking a question or pointing out something in the opposite direction. I am thankful in those moments that she is easily distracted, and we can get past such things without her reading them and wondering what they mean. But most of the time, I tried to avoid that route.
So yes, Cooter can’t read well yet. His sister was a late bloomer as well, so I’m not worried about it much. She reads like a fiend now, zooming through her books as fast as she can, and she loves to read. He’ll get there one day too. But I am glad that he can’t read well yet. He watches things and people a lot more than she does. So I know when he does start reading well, I will have lots and lots of questions to answer.
I think I’m going to stop feeling guilty about and apologizing that my vehicle has a built-in DVD player. I may be a little freer in letting them play their electronic games as we ride around from point A to point B. I’m done. I am happy for anything that will keep their minds innocent a little longer, and for a little while longer keep them from asking me the hard questions that I know are coming. When they do come, I will answer the best way I can, but until then, bring on the Gilligan’s Island and Leave it to Beaver and Andy Griffith. I’ll take those over a bad Grandpa any day.