Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Despite being the offspring of two teachers, I've never been a very good teacher myself. I lack the patience, I dislike apples and my chalkboard penmanship is terrible. I gave it a run once, but the only good thing that came out of that was learning that the father of one of my students was Ace Frehley's tour manager during his Frehley's Comet Tour. I tried to get some juicy backstage details from her, but apparently that's not an "appropriate" discussion to be having during a fourth-grade Sunday School class.

My inability to properly teach is unfortunate, as it turns out that parenthood requires quite a bit of teaching. I didn't really think about the fact that Finn wouldn't just pop out knowing how to do everything. Short-sighted on my part. Whoops.

OK, that's not entirely true. I knew I'd need to teach him stuff like how to hit a baseball, how to pee standing up, and how to tie his shoes, but how to eat with a spoon? I didn't count on that one. Same with things like covering his mouth when he coughs - which would explain why he's not very good at either of those.

A lot of the stuff that needs to be taught is fun. We're doing a "preview" of driving at the moment, which is great. The boy's awesome at turning up the radio and breaking off the turn signal. It also turns out that he's a real Miles Davis with the car horn, though I have not yet been able to teach him how to maintain his cool through the extraction from the car. It's also fun to teach Finn the storied history of the New York Yankees and important life tidbits like the fact that tofu is disgusting.

Other stuff is hard is teach, like colors. How do you explain to a 22-month old that the thing that he's always known as a "truck" is now called "green"? The answer is: not well. He gives me that same look my boss gives me when I open my mouth before my first cup of coffee in the morning. That's not a good look.

And some things are just easier to do yourself, like the proper method of crossing a busy intersection. That's not the best place to have a rational discussion with your child about the relative importance of getting across the road versus eating the cigarette butt that he/she has just discovered.

Luckily, we've got daycare to handle most of the teaching. These kids have a curriculum that rivals my college classes - though of course, I was a Communications major at Penn State, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions there. They do show and tell, they explore their senses, they practice somersaults, and they even cover basic safety items - like crossing the street.

This is great, as it leave me free to focus on the other important items. Currently, I'm trying to get him to name his toys and animals. I think I've found the most important lesson that I may ever be able to teach him:

Don't name your favorite hippo "Mommy". That's not going to go over well.

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