Wednesday, April 21, 2004


My boy knows how to read some words, short ones generally. Recently his grandfather and he worked up this sort of poem thing that is about 25 words long. They emailed it to me. This issue fell dead for 9 days, and yesterday I printed out the poem. My son was able to "read" it perfectly. I assume he has memorized it, but it seems to me that he is using the printed text to remind him what the next word is (by looking at the letter it starts with). So I covered up the text and exposed a word to him and he read it, then did that and again and he read it. The words were "merry-go-round" and "town." He's also good at sounding out words. He may not be reading, but he is on his way.

Meanwhile he has been acting up at preschool for a couple of months now. Not severely, but, as the teacher says, 'testing.' He'll spin during circle time, or turn his back. He does it to get attention, and to test the rules, but also, I think, because he is somewhat bored. It's a good preschool and we are going to ask the teacher to challenge him more. More alarmingly, he has launched a campaign against "bad" Patrick. He used to convince other kids to trap Patrick, which meant cornering him and trying to restrain him. Patrick, to his credit, protests, runs away, and won't tolerate it. One of the moms is thinking of taking her son out of the preschool, and I think it is because our son has been convincing her son to help trap Patrick. So the actual trapping behavior has died down thanks to the teacher taking away our son's recess time if he tries to trap Patrick. Then Monday she overheard him saying he would throw bark in Patrick's eyes. Once again he lost his recess. The teacher said he was stomping mad. I am glad she takes a tough line with him.

The odd thing is that she say that sometimes Patrick and my son play together like friends. And I have met Patrick and he seems like a gentle, intelligent, kind kid. I think that if given a chance, they will be friends. We are going to arrange a playdate with Patrick and his parents, and the boy that my son has been turning into an anti-Patrick goon. It turns out that they all three share the same ethnic background (in whole or in part), and there are some words that Patrick can teach my son and the acolyte goon. Also, I want to have the playdate someplace extra-special from a four-year-old viewpoint, and have an extra-special treat for the three of them. That way, when they next meet on the playground, they will have something to talk about: "Those cupcakes were yummy, huh?"

I guess the lesson I hope to impart is that supposed enemies can become friends. This could be a really formative lesson for my son. Actually seeing someone in the "bad" camp transformed into a member of the "good" camp.

Blasted are the peace makers.
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