Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Almost Parenting

Mark, right and Erik, with Grampa Tolley in the background
To complete his master's degree, my husband moved our (then) little family to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Also know as Winter-peg or Windy-peg - either one is apt.
And I found myself, for the first time, living in a large city.
There was the usual adjustment period.
Okay, I'm lying, there was no adjustment 'period'.
I never did adjust.
For eight months, my (then) two sons and I hardly left the apartment, unless accompanied by my husband.
Funny how grocery shopping can start looking like a 'date'.
I was homesick for my prairies and open spaces.
I did get a lot of reading and sewing and cleaning done. And my boys discovered the wonder of 'cable TV'. I soon learned just how much they watched . . .
Grant had taken us for a drive. He had an errand to run and his family was suffering from 'cabin-fever', a common enough ailment in Canada in the winter.
No, really. You can look it up . . .
Grant was making a quick dash into the mall.
Now those of you who know my husband know that a quick dash anywhere, isn't.
Quick, I mean.
The boys and I were sitting in the fire lane in front of the Zellers store long enough to celebrate birthdays.
Yes, I'm exaggerating, but you get the picture. It was quite a while.
Erik was buckled into his car seat directly behind me, happily blowing bubbles and Mark, his older brother by eighteen months was opposite him, with the clearest view of the storefront.
I was reading.
Again.
Mark was chanting something, just loud enough to be heard.
It took a couple of repetitions before I noticed.
I put down my book.
"Mark, what are you saying?"
He repeated it.
"What?" Sometimes, deciphering almost-three-year-old speech takes a Master's degree. And where was the one person in our family with such a degree???!
"Say it once more."
"Zed-E-Eleven-E-R-S."
What on earth was he talking about?
I looked where he was looking.
The front of the Zellers store.
Suddenly, it hit me.
He was reading the letters over the front doors.
Zed. E. Eleven. E. R. S.
Well, almost.
It made perfect sense! If you were two.
What a clever boy!
Genius.
And I had raised him.
Okay, for a very few seconds, I did a bit of back patting.
Very few.
Then reality set in.
The only reason he knew all of those letters was because of his copious amounts of time spent watching Sesame Street. On a good day, he could catch the program twice!
Funny that my son's showing me how advanced he was, showed me, at the same time, what a neglectful parent I had been.
I'd like to say that things changed.
And they did.
Afterwards, when Sesame Street came on, I was watching with him.
Before long, we were nearly on the same reading level.
A few more months in Winnipeg and I might have caught up to him!

6 comments:

  1. Our daughter started school proud to count to ten...1 hahahahahaha....2 hahahahaha....yep, Sesame Street.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chortling here over Delores' comment!! The Count was one of my favourite characters on that show.

    And I'm not sure that Sesame Street was all that terrible for kids to watch alone ... see how resourceful it made your little boy! Learning isn't about memorizing but about figuring out how to figure things out ... and he did!

    ReplyDelete
  3. My childless self didn't discover Sesame Street until late - but it did (and does) have a lot of charm. I can think of many worse things to do with your sons...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved Sesame Street for similar reasons, my kids learned all kinds of stuff I wouldn't have thought to teach them. Sharing and co-operating was reinforced too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love how two l's were read as 11! I far prefer the peace and quiet of the country to big city life as well!

    ReplyDelete
  6. That is exactly how I learned to read!

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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