Week 288: Scavenger Hunts and Enthusiasm

Generally I’m not one of those parents that obsesses over his kids’ milestones and deadlines on some developmental timetable. I figure if I keep them from being eaten by hyenas, the rest will sort itself out. That said, I did get a little concerned a while back that Sam couldn’t sound out words. I think half the problem is that she misinterprets any instructions we give her as an invitation to engage in a battle of wills, so that “b” and “d” become interchangeable no matter how exasperated we and the rest of the English speaking world got with her. But still, I figured some brushing up was needed before Sam hit kindergarten in a few weeks and if I had to engage in some subterfuge to get it done so be it.

Like so many other problems, I solved this one with a game. Specifically, a scavenger hunt where I would write out words on a slip of paper then ask Sam to identify the letters and sound them out. Once the code is deciphered she has to go and find the thing described by the word. Or sometimes she’ll take pictures of them with her camera. I started out simple with “dog” or “cup” but then moved on to more abstract stuff like “liquid,” “hole,” and “wooden.” Turns out Sam LOVES this game. She’s got all the letters down pat (except she sometimes mistakes an “e” for a “g” for some reason) and is working on combining them into sounds.

The really cool thing is that the other morning she came in and showed me where she had taken yesterday’s list and transcribed it in her own fledgling hand. So, mission accomplished. So far.

Mandy is exhibiting a bit less of the clinginess from last week, though she’s still definitely got a parental preference. She’s gotten even more vocal lately, though, and has taken to repeating whatever she hears. The funny thing is that she’ll often put her own spin and emphasis on things, which can make for a drastically different message. So while Sam and Geralyn may mutter “Have a nice day” while I’m on my way out in the morning, Mandy will pipe up with “Dad, have a GREAT day!” Like she really means it. And so I do.

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