Monday, March 15, 2010

Pimples Develop Our Grammar & Reasoning Skills

My seven-year-old got in the car as I picked him up from an after school activity the other day. As usual, he was a walking ball of conversation, telling me about his day, all the things he did, all the kids he wanted to invite over to play and, because he must have been hungry, why he thinks Burger King’s chicken nuggets are better than McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Despite his reasons, when he likes the kids’ meal toy at McDonald’s better, he will certainly prefer McNuggets again.

As he spoke, climbing into the passenger seat of the car and shifting and bouncing around, I noticed something on his chin. It looked like he’d suffered a cut or scrape of some kind.

“What’s on your chin, buddy?” I half interrupted him.

He knew exactly what I was talking about and without skipping a beat said, “It was a zit, but Joe showed me how to pop it.”

I laughed, took a quick look at it, and realized it looked like it had been a clean burst. No blood or ooze left behind. This Joe character apparently knows what he’s doing. Then we carried on our one sided conversation about who pretended to be Darth Vader and who pretended to be General Grievous and who developed super you-can’t-kill-me-no-matter-what-you-do powers in the middle of their epic battle.

Moments like this can get lost in the events of any given day, but can really give you insight into your child’s life. In casual conversation, I was given the type of view into my son’s day that, before too long, he will begin to take great care to hide from me. After we arrived home, I thought about this conversation, what it told me about him and what I could read into it. Some people might be a bit concerned by their first grader’s zit popping. I took encouragement from it in a few ways.

First of all, my son apparently has friends he feels he can trust. Having a medical issue (even as small as a pimple) and feeling like you can rely on a friend for advice is comforting. It seems his buddy, Joe, was looking out for him here and I can appreciate that. There are definite social skills being developed.

Second, while I wish acne on no child, it’s nice to know he is obviously not the only one developing a zit or two. I think it’s safe to assume that Joe knew what to do with this zit from experience. At least I know he won’t be singled out and ostracized as the only boy in his class with the occasional pimple.

Third, his grammar was sound. "It was a zit." By using the word was, he is acknowledging that it no longer is. The concept of time and verb tense can be tricky sometimes for one of his age, but he nailed it on this one. An understanding of cause and effect also exists here. It's the little victories.

Last, and most importantly, this shows real problem solving skills. My son was faced with a problem. Having never dealt with a pimple before, he sought advice. Upon receiving said advice, he weighed his options and, having received what he felt to be good advice from a reliable, trustworthy source, he made a decision. He then committed and didn’t look back. The zit was to be popped, and pop it he did. Done. Back to play time.

Pretty soon, my questions regarding how his day went will be answered with a barely audible, “Fine,” and zero elaboration. My further inquiries of, “What did you do today?” or, “Did you learn anything cool?” will be answered, “Nothing,” and, “Naw,” and be met with protests that I’m being too nosey or suggestions that if I was really so interested in what happens at school I should just go back myself or accusations that I’m just trying to get information that I can use against him later.

So, I try to appreciate these little talks while I still can. I let him just get everything out and enjoy it. Who cares if General Grievous was already dead by the time Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader? I’m not going to dwell on it. To tell you the truth I barely even noticed he’d had said anything about them fighting each other. I’m not that anal about details. It doesn’t bother me one bit.

I said it doesn’t! Just drop it, alright?!

No comments:

Post a Comment