P-Hoe-Toe, P-Hoe-Toe

Sound that out with me.

Make the P sound, then say Ho (pronounced Hoe). Finish off with To (pronounced toe). P-Hoe-Toe.

Those were the sounds my son made yesterday when we were driving home from my appointment. Long story short, I was talking to my counselor, mentioned the brown bread and asked Jen to bring some by to give him. When she got there, Brendan clung to me so I took him back into the appointment with me.

He was riding home with me from that when he started sounding out those letters: P-Hoe-Toe.

I was trying to figure out what he was saying and looked all over for a sign talking about potatoes. I figured maybe he was having a rough time with it. Keep in mind, my child is 4 years old and attending Pre-School – not kindergarten! The last few weeks or so, he’s really been looking at signs and words in books, sounding out the letters and making a serious attempt at figuring out what the word is.

Just about the time the light turned green and I had to turn with the mild traffic, I found what he was looking at and trying to read:

DSCN0056

I nearly lost control of Rendy and crashed into someone else. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed. Of course, I should. My older boy, Caiden, already does so well at reading, it’s placing him in the middle-to-end of 2nd grade (he’s in the middle of first) and this isn’t just reading, it’s comprehension as well. I’ve watched Brendan trying to sound things out for a little bit, now. It shouldn’t have been any big deal – but it was. The joy of learning and finding new things in the world was evident right in front of me (or behind me, rather – he was sitting behind me).

I explained to him that when you see a P and an H together, it is pronounced like an F and then showed him what the word really was: Photo.

I called Jen and asked her to bring a camera and take a picture of the sign for me. I didn’t tell her why. I told her we’d meet her at another store. When she got there, I left Brendan with her (snuck out) and went to get Caiden. I figured he might need mommy time.

I was already emotional when I got there and, as I watched him through the small window to his classroom, it got worse. The teacher snuck him out to me 15 minutes before class ended. I explained I was just checking on him, I could wait patient and she said, “No. You’re not supposed to see what we’re making.” Then it dawned on me – they were making mommy/daddy presents in class and I stopped by to peek. Silly me.

I sat with Caiden in the hallway and talked to him about his visit with Coach. Two new things that I didn’t know.

First, he gets a new bottle of water after his visit with Coach. Unfortunately, Coach had no water yesterday so my son didn’t get any. He was sad about that.

Secondly, in lieu of a “swat,” he gets a choice. He can do a plank for 5 minutes or get a swat. Apparently, Caiden doesn’t like planks and would rather get a swat. He did say that he cried all the way back to class but that was it. He stopped before he went into his classroom.

While he was talking about it all, I got teary-eyed. Finally, my son stopped and asked me, “Mom? Why are tears coming out of your eyes?” I answered, “Because I am sad you had to get a swat. I worried about you all day!” With a finger wiping my tear away, he came up with this one, “You don’t have to worry about me. I took it like a big boy. I only cried a little.” It was all I could do to not gush in tears right then and there. My son accepted his punishment and moved on as if nothing happened and here I was, still crying about it.

I spank my boys. When they deserve it. When they’ve been given every opportunity to change their behavior or when I have “had enough” of whatever it is they are doing. They know. They get warned. They get some indication that mom is about at the end of their rope.

I ain’t perfect and I’ll never be. I do try to do what I can to make sure they grow up responsible, good boys. I don’t cry when I spank them.

Why should I feel so badly when he gets a “swat” (as they call it) at school?

On our way out, I decided to stop in the office and meet this Coach. I asked the Receptionist if he was around and he was not. However, my son decided to strike up a conversation with her. He told her all about what he did wrong, how he got a swat and that he only cried a little. In his words, “I only cried a little this time. Last year, when I was a baby in Kindergarten, I cried a lot more.” The Receptionist was beside herself on how my son was handling the fact that he got a swat.

And then my darling, dear sweet and loving son decided to pipe up with one more tidbit for the lady behind the desk, “Mom cried more than I did.”

WHAT?

SHHH!

Seriously kid?!

*sighs*

With that, I ushered him out and we drove home.

Home, to where safe and sound is at. Home to where I have children learning how to read – not receptionists giggling because mommy cried more than her own child!

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