January 26, 2011

Letters, Letters, Everywhere

So the thing about teaching your child to write his or her name, is that they can, and do, write their name. EVERYWHERE. Evie has actually been writing her name for a long time, both her "long name" (Evelyn) and her "short name"(Evie) and her other long name (Evelyn Clare). However, because she is a lefty we've been running into problems with backwards writing, so we've been doing a lot of practice over the past few months to straighten that out. And it must be paying off, because the other day I looked around the house and found that she had been helpfully autographing things for us. Walls, benches, books, the inside ends of of daddies rolled up architectural plans (oops!), anything paper that I've left out on my desk.
It's a rite of passage, isn't it. I remember Briton going through this phase. Writing his name on bus tickets and toys and the headboard of his bed (it's still there). And I know for a fact that I did it myself. I still have the copy of Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup With Rice that I wrote my name in eons ago. (I also still remember getting in trouble for writing in it, but it didn't seem to stop me, most of my childhood books have my name and at least a few little decorations scribbled on the corners of the cover. My kids are endlessly fascinated to find my childish writing in "their" books.)
I love to see it. Even when it's on the floor next to her bed. Ok, maybe not there, especially when it's marker. But yes, even there. Because it is a moment that will pass so quickly, something I want to have a physical memory of for those days down the road to come. Lately we've been using the phrase "next year in kindergarten" a lot with Evelyn. "Next year in kindergarten you can't bring monkey/Eliza/four small stuffed cats to school with you, we should practice that now!" or "Next year in kindergarten you cannot have a potty accident just because you didn't want to stop playing and come inside."
I say it flippantly, use it to my advantage. The things she needs to do before "next year". But sometimes, mid sentence, the pang of reality hits. Next Year. Next year she will get on the bus instead of just wishing or trying to sneak on. She will eat in the cafeteria every day instead of just on the special days when we go visit her brother. Next year she will get to go to choir and check out books in the library and have a lunch account and bring home HOMEWORK to do at the table with Briton. Its coming fast.

It doesn't seem that long ago that Briton was scribbling his name. Big B, little T, bubble dot on the giant I. And yet, yesterday he brought home three pages (single spaced!) of, if not neat, at least totally legible writing on the need to protect the whooping crane. He is making the transition to cursive and reading directions off of boxes to me because I haven't gotten my eyeglasses updated yet and I cant read the tiny print without them. (Children are handy like that)

How do we stand it? This growing up thing. It's beautiful and wonderful and gratifying, but oh so fast. How do we stand it? How do you stand it?