Thursday, January 13, 2011

Is this how parents end up making their kids' science fair projects?

So Chloë is obsessed with the balls on one page of the Little People book Dad gave her for Christmas. It's a big, colorful board book, "My Town" (I think), with two-page spreads that show the outside of a school, garage, grocery store, etc., and then a sort of half-page you turn to show the inside. It advertises 275 new words to teach your kid, but "SUV" and "diagnostic computer" are some of those words, so we're not totally convinced about the purity of their advertising. But it's a cute book, full of things to look at and name and discuss, and (aside from Eric being disturbed that the "adults" are just kids with mustaches) we like it.

On the school page, there are kids in the playground playing with balls. And as I mentioned, Chloë is obsessed. The book is in the bathroom, and she loves to sit on the potty now just so we can look at these balls. "Ball," she says (back to one syllable!), and I open the book to that page, the first spread. I get tired of it eventually, and I point out the apples and the tree and the books and the cup and the computer and the bee. (I've been pointing out bees to her saying "This is a bee. It goes bzzzzzzzz," moving my fingertrip around like a flying bee and landing on her nose. Now when she's looking at the bee she says "Beeeeeeeeeeeee," flying her finger around in the air.) Eventually, I flip to another page. She waits for maybe two seconds and then says "Ball. Ball. Ball."

So I tell her to find the balls. She knows that it's on the lower right of the page, but she doesn't always get the right spread, and several times now she's turned back a page, looking at the lower right, saying "Ha!" with a laugh, like she does when we're playing peek-a-boo and she's trying to surprise me--and then been surprised when the balls aren't there. I feel so sad and sorry for her when she gets it wrong. I suppose she needs to learn to make sure she's right before she laughs in triumph, but it's so pathetic.

And so I've started cheating sometimes, holding down the pages to make sure she flips to the right spread. Is that wrong of me? I can blame it on the pregnancy hormones for now. (Apparently they turn me into SuperPermissiveMom. We've been having trouble getting Chloe to sleep through the night lately, and it's partly because I wake up when she cries, and before I'm fully awake I can't override my instinct to go immediately to her and give her whatever she's asking for, whether she needs it or not.) But if this keeps up I'm going to be fixing her block stacks so they don't fall and correcting her homework without telling her. I hope she picks a science fair project I won't have to do a lot of research for.

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