Originally posted on Parents2parents.org June 3, 2008
My 3 1/2 year old daughter has been learning to write her name. While she’s been honing her skills at daycare for some time there was recent mention in one of her daycare logs that she needed some extra practice at home with her writing. I jumped at the opportunity remembering fondly the small notebook with the monkey on the cover that my parents had purchased for me as they prepared me for kindergarten.
My husband and I are still up in the air about when our daughter will start school. She was born in early October and will turn 5 in October of 2009. Technically she’ll be eligible to start kindergarten in New York in the fall of 2009, however, given where her birthday falls we could elect to have her wait an additional year. She seems like she’ll be ready in so many respects, and yet others have us wondering still. Only time will tell.
I excitedly went out and purchased a notebook full of lined kindergarten printing paper and a copy of the printed letters of the alphabet. It had been some time since I had practiced writing them with such precision myself. Cat was excited when I showed her the notebook and was eager to start writing.
Then I discovered two problems almost immediately.
1. I’m lefthanded. Try as I might it seemed that everything I did was backwards and she was quick to point it out.
2. I’m her mother. From the first stroke of the pen we began to argue. I’m a believer that every parent has a child that’s similar to them in personality and that because of this you will fight like crazy. What you dislike in other people is what you dislike most in yourself. We fight and fight and argue and argue until one of us ends up throwing something, usually her, although I often think about it.
I could never learn to play piano from my mother. Obviously everything that she did was wrong, and everything I did was right. Its also why I struggle to play today when I lived so many years with a good teacher.
I quickly realize that this handwriting practice and the arguments over left and right and which letter to use, and why the lines are on the paper, is the first of the academic struggles I’ll have with my daughter. I know that there will be many more to come and that someday I’ll long for the time when it was as simple as writing a name on a piece of lined paper.