We had Parent Teacher Conferences on Friday, and it’s always lovely to hear that in a parallel Universe, my girls are respectful and delightful. They are delightful in my Universe, but respectful has been a stretch this week. A STRETCH, I say. The “perhaps work on this” list was wonderfully, um…short. My oh my, what a year can do. Sara’s reading caught up to her comprehension. Kelly’s reading has outpaced her comprehension, which was not news to me. I live with her. I know a blank stare when I see one. So when we got home, after showering them with adulations for their hard work, the conversation went something like this:
Mommy: Kelly, it seems your great reading is so great, we need to help your comprehension catch up a bit.
Sara: Kelly, do you know what COM-PRE-HENSION means? (Using her loud, maybe you don’t speak English voice.)
Kelly: Of course I know! It means that half the time I have no idea what you and Mommy are talking about!
Sara: Yep Mommy, she knows what it means. And no Kelly, you don’t. (Re-institute aforementioned loud voice) YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THINGS KELLY.
Mommy: OK Sara Felice, I think I can take it from here…
Later that evening, with great advice from Kelly’s teacher, we read a story and tried to lead her with concrete questions into a place where she could easily make an inference. We used a Fancy Nancy book…come on…slam dunk, right? I INFER this kid loves to be fancy, and not much else. Duh. We read about Missy Fancy Pants selling her things to buy a fan, only to learn her little sister wanted her necklace, which she sold to a friend, and then bought back to give to her sister. Alas, she didn’t earn enough money for the fan. No problem; her parents were so proud of her for putting her sister’s wishes above her own, they bought Nancy the fan as a surprise. Sorry…I’m boring you…you’ve clearly studied this text in depth. Perhaps even written a manuscript or two regarding it’s contextual underpinnings representing the rampant consumerism which is eating the roots of our culture. Understood. I’ll say no more.
Mommy: Kelly, who are the characters?
Kelly: Fancy Nancy and Jo-Jo.
Mommy: What was the main plot?
Kelly: Fancy Nancy had to get the necklace back from Wanda so she could give it to Jo Jo at her birthday party.
Mommy: GOOD! So what do you think was the POINT of this story? Was there a lesson you learned (pensively looking at Daddy…hoping for inference to magically appear)?
Kelly: Oh yes, I know the lesson. If you don’t have enough money to buy something you want, like a fancy fan, don’t worry about it. You can always get an adult to buy it for you.
And this pretty much sums up life with Kelly: comprehension is a relative term, spanning the space between the the list of things she wants and the calculated measures she must employ to get the adults in her life TO BUY HER THESE THINGS. Any suggestions on which book to try next? Preferably one which doesn’t involve a pretty little girl receiving presents? Essays of Warren Buffet for starters? Discuss…