A wise person once said to me: “Your first and second children are the entrees, and your third is dessert.” I don’t generally go in for all of that birth order nonsense, but aww! Isn’t that so sweet? The first two are your main courses, and the third child is the finishing touch that rounds everything out perfectly.
Except here’s the thing: my dessert doesn’t know her numbers yet.
You would think we would have known that, and yet there we were, at our teacher/parent conference learning for the first time that there may be a few things we have neglected to teach our daughter. Like numbers. And letters. And her last name. Some other stuff probably too. I can’t remember. My mind wandered. I’m tired. Sometimes I’m not even sure I remember all the letters.
Of course, we immediately ran home and tested this theory. We drew an “F” on a piece of paper and showed it to her. “What is this?” we prompted. “Which letter of the alphabet is this?”
She shrugged, “I don’t know. Five?” And then she joyfully toddled off to the living room to go push around her siblings some more.
Oh, how I remember the days of our first-born: the drills, the flash cards, every trip to the grocery store an around-the-world exercise in international produce I have no desire to try: “Can you say durian? DUR-I-AN?” Even the second child benefitted from an intense regimen of staring, undivided attention, and relentless expectations. Our third, though … our third is just so independent, so self-assured. I think we just assumed she already knew all the stuff we spent so much time cramming into the other kids’ heads. Doesn’t it make sense that education would trickle down from her siblings’ brains into hers? No? It doesn’t make any sense? OK, got it.
Other things we haven’t done with our third child include:
Dentistry (Those little Chiclets look just fine. Don’t worry, I gave them a pretty close eyeball.)
Doctor’s appointments (She’s up to date on vaccines, but not much else.)
Extracurriculars (Ha x infinity)
I will say this: going from two children to three makes all the little accomplishments seem so special. Having all the laundry done at the same time is my version of winning an Olympic gold medal. I have to keep opening the closets and just looking at it, victoriously. (Back pats!)
And anyway, we learned our lesson. Since then we have spent over 10 additional minutes of our lives teaching her what numbers look like. If all else fails, we’ll get to it when the others are in college, but for now, G is for mommy.
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