Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where, Oh Where, Has My Six-Year Old Gone?

I got an alarming phone call this morning. I dropped both of the girls off at school before the 9am start time and went home. Around 10am, the house phone rang. I never answer that phone because no one of importance ever calls on that line. Only telemarketers. Arrena uses that phone to talk to her friends. Chris and I use our cell phones and we are in no danger of using up our minutes (now texting is another issue altogether...). But, Billy grabbed the cordless and brought it to me, pushing the "talk" button just before he thrust the receiver into my hands. I listened and it was an automated message from the school, informing me that Kimmy had an unexcused absence for today. I panicked. She's too innocent to think about skipping school and where would a six-year old go anyways? And even if the thought of skipping occurred to her, she loves school. I saw her walk in with her sister, so where could she be? Could she have been snatched? Could they have lost her...again? I grabbed my cell phone and dialed the school and reached the attendance office and said, "I just got a call that my daughter has an unexcused absence for today, but I dropped her off this morning, so I want to know what is going on." She put me on hold for what seemed like forever. I was imagining crazy scenarios, pacing, ready to race out the door to get to the bottom of her disappearance, and determining that the first course of action should be to summon Arrena to give an account of her sister's whereabouts. Finally the lady came back on the line and said it had been a mistake, that Kimmy was, indeed, in class. Her teacher had marked the wrong student absent. So, then I spent the next quarter of an hour getting my blood pressure back down to normal.

When I went to pick them up from school, Arrena got to me first and had to spill the beans that Kimmy had lost her first tooth while at school. My poor little baby! I have dreaded this. She has such a cute little smile with her little baby teeth all lined up. I hated the thought of her losing those teeth. She hates it too. She sees the hodgepodge in Arrena's mouth (adult teeth, baby teeth, gaps where there are currently no teeth) and she wants no part of that. And now she has this little lisp that she didn't have before. It's quite alarming. It's like I took one child to school and got a whole different one back! She does look cute, but I will so miss that smile of hers. She's growing up on me! I took her out in the back yard the other day and took some pictures of her. I knew that she would lose that tooth any day and I wanted a few last shots of that dazzling grin. I hope you enjoy them too.

I am amazed at her, though. She is picking up reading like you would not believe. She has surpassed Arrena, though I hate to say that. She sometimes gets frustrated with Arrena's reading speed and will cut her off and read things FOR her. I can't tell whether Arrena is relieved that she doesn't have to read or if she is jealous that her sister can read better than she can. But, I think Kimmy owes a lot of her success TO her sister because she has learned from Arrena. Last year in Kindergarten, she was learning three-letter words with short vowell sounds and that was about it. All the books they read consisted of two and three-letter words with short vowells and a few sight words. That's not an easy feat, to write a book like that, if you think about it. Kimmy has only been in first grade for less than a month, so I doubt she has aquired this much additional skill at school already. She was reading to me the other night and I was AMAZED at the words she could read without help. I believe some of it is that her sharp mind makes logical jumps. She sees where a story is going and fills in the words that should logically come next. But, the rest has to be her recognizing the words. I jotted down some of the ones that amazed me: showed, himself, nobody, baskets, palace, smiled, climb, perhaps, and mystery. Those may seem easy to you, but to a child whose previous books have consisted of lines such as, "Pam is a cat. The cat sat on my lap. I pat the cat," it's not too shabby! The other thing I like about her reading is that she puts feeling and inflection in her recitation too. And she's quick too. She is supposed to read for ten to twenty minutes a night for her "homework"--I have been having to make her read two books (or one more difficult book) because she goes through them so fast. She is highly intelligent. She can tell you about most any animal. And if she doesn't know, she goes and grabs one of her myriad of animal encyclopedias and finds out! It's hard to find the balance of being proud of her and encouraging her while at the same time, not making Arrena feel bad, as though she were in her baby sister's shadow.

No comments: