Dixie has been able to write her name for a very long time. I say 'write her name,' but this isn't entirely accurate. When she writes it, it looks more like DitiB, but give the girl some credit--she is only 3 feet tall and has the attention span of a flea. By the time she gets to the 'e' at the end, she's mentally moved on.
Both girls are in that stage of gaining awareness of the concept of literacy. They can go through a book from beginning to end, know to read from left to right, understand that words have meaning and can identify about 2/3 of their letters. We've been working on the letters we don't know by picking a letter, drawing it on the Magna~Doodle and then coming up with words that start with the sound that letter makes. Sometimes I will draw a picture of that thing. Pretty innocuous stuff, no? Ha!
This was safe with the letter T. Also with L. C is tricky because of the whole is-it-a-C-or-is-it-a-K-or-an-S bit. Tricky, but still safe.
Then we get to P. Oh, P! Why, oh, why do all the dirty words (that a small child knows) start with P? Imagine the following:
Mommy: This is a P. This is big P, this is little p. They look the same! What words start with P? puh, puh, puh
a girl: Puppydog!
Mommy: Yes, that's right. Here is how you write puppy: P_U_P_P_Y. Say the letters with me
Mommy: Let me draw you a puppy! Okay, what else starts with P? puh, puh, puh
a girl: Penis.
Mommy briefly panics, then decides to just take it in stride and write the word. Notice how mommy opts not to draw a picture this time.
Mommy: Great. erases quickly. What else starts with P?
a girl: Pee-Pee!
other girl: and poop!
Maybe I should just wait till they go to Kindergarten and let their teacher deal with this? Ugh. Mommy writes pee-pee, erases, then begins to write poop.
Mommy: Do we start poop with a big P or a little p?
a girl: little--Poop isn't a name, silly!
No, but it could have been, Mommy thinks as she briefly reconsiders her children's name choices.
Mommy: See! It is easy--just P's with two O's in the middle.
Dixie: That looks easy! Mommy, can I try to write that?
Dear God, NO!
Dixie then proceeds to write 'poop.' When she writes 'Dixie' it may look like 'DitiB' but there is NO mistaking this word. I am beaming with motherly pride here. Now that she can write two words, we can make a sentence or two. Poop, Dixie! Dixie--poop! Or maybe even an entire book. Forget Go, Dog, Go! We now have Poop, Dixie, Poop!
No great childhood accomplishment is complete without the call to Grandma, of course. So Dixie calls Gma Jane to tell her that Dixie has something wonderful and exciting to tell her. I hand Dixie the phone, and she begins to share the glorious news. I can halfway hear what Jane is saying in response, and it does not sound as if she is reveling in our joy.
So I grab the phone and talk to her as I change Charlie's diaper. Apparently, Jane was hearing phantom prepositions because she thought Dixie was saying that she wrote with her poop. Jane has decided that my joyous tone in the initiation of the conversation means one of three things: 1) she heard it wrong 2) my sarcasm has reached a whole new level of giddiness in an attempt to mask my desire to bring harm to my darling child or 3) Gretchen has finally slipped.
Upon hearing a more accurate retelling of events, she is so relieved that she has forgotten to be appropriately appalled at what her only grandchild is learning while in my care. In the process of relaying the events, I (naturally) am required to utter 'poop' many, many times. As I reach the end of the tale, Charlie looks up at me, grins, and says . . .