Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What Would Ma and Pa Ingalls Do?

Our school district's Parents as Teachers program is holding screenings for three-to-five-year-olds, and WCK and I went to hers yesterday. The kids are supposed to go off with different teachers into different rooms, where the teachers conduct screenings on motor skills, language, and math, and then screen the kids' vision and hearing. WCK, of course, refused to separate from me, so I got to go along into each room. It was interesting to watch the testing process, even though I'd been looking forward to a free hour of reading, and WCK got points deducted from her score (yeah, the kids got scores) because she's a Mama's Girl. I'm pretty sure the question, "Is the child a Mama's Girl?" is right there on the official form for the teachers to check off. It will go on her permanent record.

I do mostly enjoy these screenings, because I like seeing what she's able to do, but I also get the feeling that my completely normal kid is being nitpicked. I'm going to go ahead and brag here and say that SHE ABSOLUTELY KICKED BUTT in the language room. Then we got to the motor skills room, and the teacher was dismayed when -- brace yourselves for this -- WCK could not twiddle her thumbs.

I know. I know. We need to look into a special educational program for her.

Actually, I have no idea if WCK really couldn't twiddle her thumbs, or if she was refusing to do it because she thought the idea was absurd. I can't say that I've ever asked her to twiddle her thumbs at home. The teacher looked at me sympathetically and reassured me that WCK would most likely twiddle her thumbs when she's ready. Apparently, thumb twiddling is not something you can teach.

When I have child-rearing moments like this, I always think, "What would Ma and Pa Ingalls do?" I'll explain.

The human race has thrived for thousands of years, and I am sure that, for the vast majority of our history, no one has ever cared about children's thumb twiddling. For example, Laura Ingalls Wilder never had fancy, developmental toys. She had a doll made from a corncob and a balloon made from a pig's bladder. When her parents were building log cabins from scratch and churning butter and fending off wolves and malaria and Scarlet Fever, did they ever turn to each other and say, "I don't want to tell you this, Caroline, but Half-Pint can't twiddle her thumbs!"

No. No they did not. And Laura Ingalls Wilder turned out just fine.


Karen's Sister said...

"... at which point, Laura ran away in tears, only to be confronted by a hungry mountain lion which was eventually frighted away by a soft-spoken pariah. And they ALL learned an important lesson that day."

Yeah... Ma & Pa

Sunshine said...

My boys are in their 40's and I have no idea whether or not they can twiddle their thumbs... Huh!

WCK's grandma said...

Shouldn't they test for tongue rolling/curling? the ability to greet with separated middle fingers, like Spock? raising one eyebrow? crossing the eyes? patting the head and stomach at the same time? rolling the letter R? I'd say their testing program lacks depth.

Jeanneoli said...

That is so funny! I will now have to run off and see if my kids even know what that means...let alone do it:-)