Monday, September 29, 2008

Whistling for Ian

I was reading by the time I was four years old. I remember the exact moment. I was sitting in the back of our maroon, Dodge dart, little legs sticking to the black pleather in the hot Kentucky sun. I looked at the road signs. Suddenly, the shapes morphed into something I understood. I began to read everything my eyes could see. I consumed everything written, hiding my new secret and enjoying my miracle for awhile.

I knew even then, how important a miracle reading and learning were. I began to play 'teacher' to my little brother. He liked it better then being my living baby doll (at some point the photos will surface of my sweetie sibling looking lovely in a pink nightgown). Eventually his teacher sent a note home asking my mom for me to stop teaching him how to read, as I was doing it wrong.

I learned how to do it 'write' and became an English teacher. I recently found pictures of my students and lived again the life of 'Mama Ro', the crazy, involved teacher who adopted as much as she instructed.

As my own son is now in his first year of school, this miracle of reading and learning has taken on a new meaning. It has also taken on a new weightiness and pressure.

My son doesn't know all his letters. He can only write his name with regular clarity. He struggled so much with a reading assessment that no assessing could be done. It is impossible to know whether he can or can't learn to read and write. He is already a child on the edge of being left behind.

However, he has a young, energetic teacher with the patience of Job. He attends a school where the classes are small enough and teachers are committed enough that he will get individualized literacy support. He has parents who will do anything to see him succeed and hold his hand if he doesn't.

My first reaction, as with most things, was to attack it with every resource we have. I am in the process of setting up an incentive/learning center and bought some letter puzzles, magnets and fun games. I am ready baby.

My mother/sister/friend and home schooling goddess, Beth, sent home with Ian a magical book.

She also gave me a long list of ideas around the book. She gently, and in her usual grace filled way, reminded me of the miracle of reading and learning. Tonight the miracle began to come true.

I wish I could blog that he magically could remember his sight words, or that he recognized more letters. He didn't. He will. Just not tonight.

He was swinging his legs in his feetie jammies, noshing on a blueberry muffin top. Recovering from a chest cold, I was glad to see him eat and drink. We reviewed sight words. He knew 3 of the 9. It was time to read.

I read with no agenda other than to enjoy the story of this wonderful little boy and his dog. I put in every bit of expression and mother goofiness I could muster. I read for no other reason than to share this moment with my son.

Peter is trying to learn how to whistle for his wiener dog Willie. He tries and tries and tries again. Finally, he tries one last time and is able to whistle! At the high point, I whistled in jubilation along with Peter and my darling son. In the story, Willie the Wiener comes running to Peter. In our kitchen, Frankie the Wonder-Wiener-Dog, came running too! We laughed so hard I thought my baby would fall out of his chair. Frank just snuffled under Ian's chair looking for a muffin crumb.

"Read it again! That was g-weat!" (Rrrr's are a challenge.) So I did, reminded once again what miracles are reading and my little whistling sweetie.


  1. Moments like that are addicting.... more, more!

  2. More and more and more please. Although I am 3000 miles away, I feel like I am with you every step when I get to read these posts.


Thank you for commenting on Memorable Mama. Remember keep it clean. Keep it Memorable. :)