Monday, January 14, 2008

We're on a first name basis

So, shortly before Christmas we had a conference with Alena's preschool teacher, Ms. Kerry. She discussed with us how Alena had performed on some "tests" she had conducted with her; how Alena was doing socially in the preschool setting; and outlined what they would be tackling in the second half of the school year.

As a whole, Alena got much praise. She knew all the shapes she had been asked to identify except for the rectangle; she knew all the colors that she was asked to find, including gray; she can name each and every letter of the alphabet (which impressed her teacher); and, in terms of gross motor development, she's right on target.

Her one area for improvement was learning how to write her name. To be honest, I wasn't sure if she was capable of such controlled motion with a writing device. Apparently, it's a feasible task. As a result, we've been moving in that direction, and she's recently mastered the letter "A".

Ms. Kerry told us that in this last part of the year they'd work on writing skills, continue focusing on a letter of the alphabet each week and learn their parents' names and home addresses.

Since she knows everyone who lives in our house shares her last name, that just left us to teach her our first names and our address. I figured names would be easiest, so we started there. Needless to say, a mention or two of "Jason" and "Yvette," and they've stuck.

Alena sings her name song she's learned at preschool. It allows each child to say their name and their friends to repeat it in the chorus of the song.

Should she ever find herself lost and needing help to find her mom and dad, she knows it's "Jason and Beyette" she's looking for. However, she also feels the need to test the waters in using our names.

"Beyette, do you need a napkin?," she'll ask me at the dinner table; more concerned with my response, I think, than my actual need for a napkin.

"Yes, thank you," I respond.

She's feeling me out, I know. Seeing how I'll respond. Will I hesitate? Will I correct her? Really, I'm more amused than anything.

Her pronunciation of my name is enough to make me laugh to myself. Her random, out-of-nowhere choices as to when to call me by name make me smile as if she's trying to catch me off guard. Once she determines I've not skipped a beat, we're back to "mom" business as usual. Typically we have one or two of these "Beyette" episodes a day.

I suppose some might find her using my first name disrespectful or out of the norm. I know, though, she means no disrespect by it, and is testing it out, just like she tests out any new skill, concept or boundary she's happened upon. Two's have tantrums, three's test.

And at the end of the day, after she's asked, "Beyette, is tomorrow a school day?," it doesn't matter what she's called me, she knows I'm her mom.


Gina said...

It must be strangely fascinating to hear her say your name. Sometimes it surprises me when I hear someone say my name. I think, "Is that really what people call me? Is that how they know me, as Gina?"

Weird and random.

Anyway, I can't wait to see you guys!

Brittany said...

Don't feel bad Yvette, sometimes I'm still on a first name basis with my mom (and it's still just to get a reaction:)I love these pictures by the way!