In this homeschooling home, there are ample opportunities for learning lurking around every corner. Recently, I happened to slowly slip around a dark and dangerous corner called, “Lessons in Alliteration.” This is my story. (Law and Order music ensues….)
This year, I’m working on teaching my first grade son about how authors can make the stories we read more interesting. One of those stylistic techniques is called alliteration. Alliteration is when you use two or more words together that start with the same sound. Hungry Hippos. Saucy Southerner. Fuming Flatulence. Mindless Mommy of Males Moment. You get the point.
Shortly after teaching this concept to my son, he took it a step further. “Mom! Why don’t we have food on Monday that starts with ‘MMM,’ food on Tuesday that starts with ‘T,’ and food on Friday that starts with ‘F’! Monday can be called ‘Macaroni Monday.’”
Sounded good to me. After all, I’m all about having a plan with which my kids are on board. So, Monday came and I excitedly boiled noodles and did my best to make ‘Macaroni Monday’ a success. Monday came and went and it worked like a charm! Macaroni Monday. Check!
Tuesday came and tacos were served. Wednesday arrived and waffles made lunch a breeze. Thursday dished up th….??? Wait a minute?! What food starts with ‘Th’? I was stumped. After a bit of thought I came up with ‘Thirsty Thursday’! Yes, that’s it! I was satisfied with the plan and went to the kitchen to whip up some smoothies for lunch. That’s when our alliterated menu planning fell apart.
The first grader didn’t think ‘Thirsty Thursday’ sounded good enough. The third grader doesn’t ‘like’ smoothies. The sixth grader insisted a smoothie, in itself, was not a complete meal. I was stumped.
We tossed around other possible ideas for a few minutes but to no avail. Thursday, in all of its (th)ness was causing a major problem. This hot-tempered, hungry housewife was rapidly running out of perfect patience for this long-suffering lesson. Alliteration lunches were getting chucked out the wide-open window.
This didn’t go over well with my first grader. He was frustrated. The alliteration lunches were his idea. Squashing the lunches meant squashing his genius.
At a certain juncture, the lunch went from a fun and enriching way to continue learning a concept to a Debbie Downer. As adults, we can often turn those corners without much problem. Most seven-year-olds haven’t quite mastered that skill.
So, after deciding ‘Thirsty Thursday’ would only be a small component of our lunch (appeasing sixth grader) AND that each diner could in fact decide for his/herself what drink he/she would consume (appeasing third grader) AND that we would continue with alliteration lunches as long as Thursday remained Thirsty and other food options didn’t need to alliterate (appeasing first grader)… breathe… we were all back on board.
This story of sustenance brings me to this punctual point. Mommying and teaching are often about knowing when to pick your battles. There are instances when ‘What Mommy Says Goes,’ and there are instances where I’ve had to learn to take the exit ramp on the ‘My Way or the Highway’ mentality. I could have squashed my youngest son’s creativity and drive for the sake of my ease in the kitchen. I could have cancelled all future alliteration lunches and said, “That’s that!” However, I usually need to take a step back and look at the situation.
More often than not, I want things my way because it’s just easier; and, as mommy, I have the right to pull that card. But, the look of gratitude on my first grader’s face when we solved the mystery of the alliteration lunch together far surpassed my desire to get out of the kitchen quickly. Patience paid plenty. Compromise created character. Thank-you, thorny Thursday.
So, the next time you’re in the neighborhood, stop by for lunch. You may just be served up a super sloppy serving of spaghetti… but only if it’s Saturday or Sunday.