Monday, January 14, 2013

Phonetic Spellings and Worriers

If you know me well, then you certainly must know I am a worrier. While at school in (equivalent) 7th grade, my headmistress told my parents at a parent teacher conference that I was "worried too much."
That's always stuck with me for a few reasons,

a. How in the world did the headmistress know that about me?
b. Why in the world were my parents visiting with the headmistress? (Perhaps it was protocol, who knows?)
c. Have I always been a worrier, or did I fulfill some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy and should I blame the headmistress?

Regardless, it seems only fitting that a distinct "worry memory" I have, happened while a student at that school. Not that the worry had anything to do with the school, and certainly the headmistress would never have known about it, but maybe I was more of a teenage worrier than I remember.

Anyways, my point?

I remember a home economics assignment to sew a stuffed animal "Snoopy". After school one day, my friend Nicola Steuer's mother picked us up from school to drive us to Allders to buy material for our project. In the back seat with us was her younger sister who was reading window signs, shop signs and road signs as we passed them. I can remember distinctly, the part of the road we were on, when I suddenly felt a sick feeling in my stomach and had the thought (worry), "What if Casey and James (my two younger brothers who would have been toddlers/preschoolers at the time) won't be able to learn how to read?"

I'm not quite sure why I was so worried about that as a 13 year old girl. Perhaps my headmistress was right after all and I was indeed a worrier.

(Joshua, age 5)

I thought about that worry the other night, as Joshua was sounding out words during family scripture reading time. (I have had the same 'Casey and James worry thought' with each of my own children. I think it began the second Megan was conceived and will likely be with me until Joshua and Drew can really read.)

Back to scripture study the other night.

I'm quite selective about when we let Joshua take a turn to read, as there are a lot of very unknown big words in our scriptures that are hard enough for the advanced readers, let alone a beginner reader. I opt to let Joshua have a turn on the verses that begin, "And it came to pass..." which incidentally occur about a billion times in the Book of Mormon. (It's much better than sitting around for him to sound out words like, "Shimnilom" or "Amalekites" or "Middoni" which aren't exactly the most necessary words for him to be learning at this stage of his reading career.)

Except there is a slight problem with me allowing him to read the oft-repeated phrase that I do. The words, "And it came to pass..." read by a learning to read five year old, cause a few threatening looks from mother to the other children to suppress any and all giggles as Joshua reads in a long, drawn-out phonetic process the word 'pass' which sounds more like "pa pa pa pa" (long pause) "ass".

And as I said, the phrase "And it came to pass..." occurs about a million times per nightly reading, and each time I'm torn between letting Joshua read it to practice his reading, and thus ultimately help towards dispelling  some of my worries about him not ever learning to read, or the risk of him saying his version of the word "pass" and disrupting the already fragile co-operation from the other children.

This kind of mind turmoil is exactly what I meant while having an in-depth conversation with a dear friend on the phone the other day. After she finished lamenting the woes of being 40 and pregnant, I was lamenting the constant chaos in my brain. Part of my 2013 resolutions are to eliminate some of that mind chaos by worrying less.

So, to help along my resolution, I allow Joshua's efforts to sound out the word "pass" even though it really sounds like he's saying an inappropriate-word, which he probably doesn't even know is inappropriate because he hears his mother say it. Which is actually, probably okay, because it is a word found in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. (All three of "my words" are found in both of those books of scripture, therefore they can't be so bad now can they?!)

As for Drew, just the other day he hollered to me,  "Mom, Look at my letter 'H'!" which he had made out of a truck, a trailer, and another truck. I was quite impressed.

I'm hoping that between Drew and his 'H's' made out of trucks, and Joshua and his profane sounding words, I may be able to eliminate a little of my mind chaos. AKA: constant worrying about anything and everything.

Because it really could be a lot worse. I could be 40 and pregnant. I'll take mind chaos over that any day.

PS. My two little brothers never had any trouble learning to read.


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