Okay. Last Friday I received an e-mail from Jude's pre-school teacher. It went something like this: Today we had a spelling test, and Jude did not do very well. Could you please work with him at home? We are working on words with short vowel sounds. Thanks, Jude's Teacher.
I was totally caught off-guard be the e-mail. First of all, I was totally unaware that Jude was having a spelling test. Second of all, my kid is in pre-school. How many words is he supposed to know how to spell? Finally, WHAT THE FREAK?! My kid just failed his first spelling test?!
I was completely dumbfounded, confused, upset, worried, and totally freaked out.
How could MY kid fail a spelling test?! I teach English for God's sake!
So, I e-mailed his teacher and told her I was unaware of the spelling test and asked for the list of spelling words, so we could practice at home. Her response went something like this: I don't have a list, and I won't give it to you because I don't want Jude to simply memorize the spelling. Please work with him at home. Thanks, Jude's Teacher.
Okay, doesn't learning how to spell require memorization??!! Last I checked it did. Since most of the words in the English language don't follow the phonics rules, don't we all just memorize their spelling? Since English is kind of a hodge-podge language filled with words like niche, and conscience, and croissant, and knight, and well, I could go on and on, but you get the point, right?! Don't we learn by memorization?! So, how can I practice with Jude at home if I don't know the words his teacher is going to test him on?
Okay, so after a series of e-mails between Jude's teacher and myself, I felt horrible. I mean H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E! I felt like a complete failure. Seriously! My kid didn't do well on his spelling test because I had not properly prepared him for such an event. As a mother, this was my lowest point ever! How could I have failed my son, already? At the young age of 5, no less. I mean, if he was 18 years old and in rehab, I think I could deal with that better, seeing as how he comes from a long line of great alcoholics.
But, instead, I felt guilty. So freaking guilty: guilty for spending too much time at work and not enough time working with Jude on his phonics, guilty for having a life and trying to train for a marathon, guilty for sleeping instead of making flashcards for every freaking word that exists in the English language, guilty for not giving Jude my absolute best. Doesn't he deserve that, I thought to myself?! Of course he does. And, if the best means making flashcards and labeling everything in our apartment, then so be it. I will give him my everything! My bestest best! (I know bestest is not a word. I'm trying to make a point, here.)
So, now the TV will not...shall not come on at all during the week. The computer will not be on when Jude is home. Instead, we will spend our time practicing and learning how to spell every damn word in the English language. And when we're done with English, we'll move on to Spanish and then Japanese. After that, we'll start on fucking Chinese!
So, I feel like such a schmuck for already ruining my kid's life, because, after all, failing your very first spelling test is a precursor to failing everything else in life, right? Well, at least he had 5 great years of perfection. And, in a way, I'm preparing him for failure. I guess 5 is a good age to start with that. When did your parents start?
(For those of you with more than one kid: If you fuck up your first kid, you've always got a spare. If you screw up Kid #1, you can kick him/her to the curb and put all your energy and resources into Kid #2. You always have hope for #2. But Jude is my only kid and will be my only one since PoPo de-nutted Husband with 2 red bricks about 5 years ago. S0, I can't screw this kid up. He's my only hope!)
((By the way, PoPo didn't actually de-nut Husband. That happened the day Husband married me!))
(((Okay, I'm just kidding here people! Husband has nuts; they just don't work properly anymore!)))
((((Okay, okay...they work, but let's just say the piping is broken...I'll just leave it at that!))))