Stop Being So S-M-A-R-T

December 02, 2008 12:00 AM by

We parents think we’re so clever. I know, we whisper to each other like CIA spies in the still of the night. We’ll spell out the words we don’t want our preschoolers to hear. They’ll never know what we’re talking about. HaaaaHaaaHaaaa.

The truth, of course, is we parents are the d-u-m-m-i-e-s. What makes us think our kids can’t figure out some letters strung together, especially when we string them together in the context of an otherwise complete sentence? Whoever came up with this brilliant idea ought to be banished to confinement in a room with 12 hungry 2-year olds who haven’t slept in 2 days. Maybe the next time he has some genius idea he’ll keep it to himself.

For us, the realization that this whole spelling game was a waste of time came this weekend. Twice. First up, let me introduce my spelling-champ wife.

“Hey Doug, can you call my g-y-m to see if the nursery is open today?”

“Mommy,” came the shout a second later from Julia, “can I come to the gym with you?!” Big chuckle all around. Oh well, ha ha, Julia can spell gym. Smarty pants.

Of course, the next day was my turn. After dinner, we were debating the d-e-s-s-e-r-t options (that’s one word we know she can spell) when I remembered something we had in the cupboard.

“I could always make some h-o-t-c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e.” I think it took Julia less time than my wife to figure that one out. “HOT CHOCOLATE!” she shrieked (Julia, not my wife)The gig was up.

There’s only one solution. We’re taking away all toys
that help her spell and teach her the alphabet until she’s in high school.

Doug Most is a dad, a husband, a runner, and a writer and he does them all in Boston, where he is also the editor of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

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