Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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During her bedtime snack tonight, Skylar, up a little too late, was eating some salted peanuts and suddenly said to me, "You're a salty peanut." I protested, in mock fashion, that I was being unfairly treated. She replied, "That's good," then went on to declare that she and Kim were also salty peanuts and that, therefore, "We're all salty peanuts, so we're all good."

Then she said to me, "You're an eyeball." Again, I protested. This time she said, "That's bad," then went on to declare that she and Kim were also eyeballs and that, therefore, "We're all eyeballs, so we're all bad."

Eventually, Kim wearied of the lengthy snack and went to lie down while Skylar finished.

She held up alphabet pretzels for me to identify. Then I did the same for her. When I ran out of most letters, I used combinations overlaid, like F with C to make B. Skylar seemed to have no trouble understanding the breaking-down-into-component-parts idea.

Left with a broken piece like a stunted L and one short, straight fragment, I made a triangle and told her it was a Greek letter, delta. This occasioned a discussion of the fact that there are different alphabets. Kim had returned by this point to urge us bedward. She extracted the introduction to Hebrew and I showed Skylar the Hebrew alphabet, how it started with aleph and bet.

It was fun. I just wish more of my students were so eager to learn and so quick to absorb. I have to admit that being around Skylar has made me more impatient with college students, since I figure they should be able to outperform a four-year-old.

But then I read that New York Times Magazine cover story on very young kids getting athletic endorsements, which focused on a four-year-old skateboarder in Louisville. There were several comments in the story about how kids these days just do things faster then they used to. Well, Skylar sure seems to. Then again, the boy in the story was 35 pounds. Skylar is 60 and not a bit overweight. If only she had more interest in basketball. . .

Anyway, returning to Skylar's salty peanut vs. eyeball dichotomy, the pedagogic highlight was when, after Kim had gone to the bedroom, Skylar and I talked about how, really, we are all both salty peanuts and eyeballs, since we are all both good and bad. I used the phrase they use at her pre-school to sum the lesson up: "It's all part of being human."

Skylar replied, "That's right dad. When you stepped on Thing One's leg and broke it, that was just part of being human."


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