Learning… and Lying.

Warning: This is one of those bragging mama posts.  Sort of.  It’s really for my own memory, and to keep proud grandparents, aunts, etc in the loop.  Skip it if you’d like (seriously!), we don’t mind…. but it’s our blog, our memories. 😉

Our children are learning and growing by leaps and bounds.  A year ago, Elise and Avery were learning to recognize letters (had 10-15 of them down reasonably quickly).  They knew what a few of them “were for” (namely A for Avery, E for Elise, M for Mama, D for Dada and so on).

Today, they know all of their “big” letters and some of their “baby” letters, though that’s something that we’ve realized lately we’ll have to start working on since not everyone makes sure they write everything out in all caps 😉  But what’s more exciting (and bittersweet? scary?) for me is that they are OBSESSED with phonics.  Every day, most of the day, we talk about what letter everything under the sun starts with.  They know the sound each letter makes (or, I should say, one of the primary sounds each one makes – stupid English!).  90% of the time they can sound out the beginning of a word (always confusing C and K – but then again, how are they supposed to figure that out other than rote memorization?  Stupid English!), and we’ve started working on sounding out the ends of some words, just for fun.  Seriously, they think it’s the most fun thing we’ve ever done.  Today we talked a lot about “Cuh – Aaagh – Tuh” –> “C-A-T” –> “Cat”.  And then they started asking about all of the letters in each of the words they could think of.  Yikes.

A year ago, they were just figuring out numbers 1-10, recognizing most of them but not understanding the concept.  Shortly thereafter they started grasping counting (versus regurgitating words in sequence), and now they count up to thirty.  Sometimes they even realize that they can start over with Thirty-ONE, Thirty-TWO, etc but get stuck on the labels at each new set of ten.  Not surprising, since they usually only hear up to thirty.  When they’re in trouble and taking some time to regroup.  So quite frequently. 😉  They recognize all of their (single) digits, even in various fonts, “funny looking clock numbers”, etc.  They can start anywhere among numbers they know and count from there, and can compare sizes of groups and more versus fewer.

They also want to write.  Especially Avery, who REALLY wants to write.  She made essentially a zig zag line the other day (a series of peaks and valleys, if you will) and was so pleased with herself that she “wrote mama!”.  Lol, so she was kind of far from doing so, but man she was proud.  And hey, she did see in that artwork some of the characteristics of Ms and As!  So now, nearly every day we take turns writing their names (and other letters) hand-over-hand.  Avery often insists on drawing the horizontal lines herself, but sometimes that turns into an E with 5 lines instead of 4.  Not a bad start, though.   Perhaps as a friend suggested, it’s time for some tracing?

It’s shocking to me that they are so interested in literacy with such fervor.  I guess I always heard and knew that Kyle and I were both reading at 4, and so really – when you think about all that goes into getting to that point, I guess it makes sense that the early stages (yes, I know they are far from reading!) had to have started about this time, right?  I just hadn’t thought about that part before.  Maybe I thought we just blew out the candles on our fourth birthday cakes and could read?  I don’t really know.  But I do have to say this is surprising, in an I’m-so-proud-I-could-burst sort of way.

Lest you think it’s all flash cards and phonics quizzes around here (in actuality we’ve never done such things – though I’m game if the kid loves them!), pretend play has taken on new heights, too.  Yesterday after her nap, I was holding Avery and she talked. my. ear. off. for a good 5+ minutes about bear’s treasure chest and magic wand, and all of the things she could see in her hands and that bear was wearing that, well, weren’t there.  She told me of bear’s adventure as a princess which then segued into recollection of every Disney memory she could cram into the next few minutes.  It was adorable.  And hilarious, the things she remembered.  As in, she spent quite some time on how Elise and Avery were not good listeners and had to stay in their stroller and this time they are going to be good listeners next to mommy and daddy so they can walk and ….. blah. blah. blah.

But hey, at least there’s a bit of a moral compass in there?  Actually, there really is.  The other day when they asked to go play upstairs I responded, “Not yet – maybe in a few minutes”.  Elise forgot (ignored me?) and thirty seconds later said, “Come on Avery, let’s go upstairs!”.  To which Avery replied, “Mama said not right now.  Maybe in a few minutes.”  To which Elise replied, “Oh, ok.  Let’s play with blocks!”

What?!  Ohhhhh how I could get used to that instead of fighting and blatant disobedience.  And in case you start thinking them super-children, I will point out that I told ONE such story.  Because I’m pretty sure it’s the only time such a thing has happened.

Speaking of blatant disobedience…. it has started.  Outright, 100% believable, LYING.  “Experts” at Babycenter and other similar sites (which have their place, but are often what you might call inaccurate) say there’s no way your two (or even 3) year old can lie.  That the lion up in their room is just fantasy, they can’t tell the difference, it’s too abstract to grasp, etc.  Well duh, the treasure chest bear was holding in my aforementioned story is make-believe and not lying.  Thank you for that.

But my not-yet-three-year-old can lie.  Better than I can.  Yes, it’s true.  Elise in the last couple of weeks or so has quickly, quickly mastered the terrible art.  At first, she’d lie when she had done something wrong.  “No” came very easily, much moreso than us trying to explain truth versus lies.  But at that time, we could usually get the truth by rephrasing.  “Did you color on the couch?”  “No!”  “Who colored on the couch?”  “Elise!”  Oh ok.  Thanks for that.  Next time maybe answer truthfully the first time.

Not so anymore.  Any way you’d like to ask – yes or no questions, whodunits, or even open-ended questions (“Tell me what happened…”) and she INSTANTANEOUSLY can lie about it.  Even if we saw everything unfold and do our best to get it out of her.  Two adults versus one preschooler, and we cannot break her.

Now medical sites (or psych, etc) – more academic than anecdotal stuff – tell us to take great joy in this.  After all, they point out, it’s remarkable! and brilliant! and linked (in actual studies) to other knowledge-based-things! when someone so young can – in a matter of milliseconds – think about the consequences the truth would bring, think up an alternate reality (one in which they didn’t do, or someone else did The Thing In Question), answer questions based in that alternate reality, and do so from all angles.

Um, thanks?  But seriously.  What the crap are we supposed to do about it?!  Not a big fan of my children earning credentials in this particular manner….  Remarkable?  Maybe.  Remarkably frustrating?  For real.

Sheesh, this has turned into a novel.  But it’s like overnight (or so it would seem) they are like children.  Like old, smart, creative, and ornery children.  And it seemed worth noting.

But wow, they’re awfully cute – and incredibly sweet for most hours of the day.  We are so, so, so blessed. And to think, our adventures together are still young!


  1. I love hearing how the girls are doing. It’s great they are so into academic learning through play! What could be better?? 🙂

    Also, I’m glad to hear about Tangled. It’s on my DMC list.

  2. they were both very quick to tell me that your name started with a M and kyle’s with a D. Not J or K. i think there might have even been eye rolls between them as they corrected me. silly me, i forgot about your alias, mama and dada. i noticed a huge change in the girls that day from just reciting or repeating or being “mini-mes” that they have really become their own little people. it was so fun to just see what would come out of them.