A Piper By Any Other Name

Piper mostly hates preschool.  Not the playground and the crayon thing but the academic thing.  If you have a preschooler, you may already know that they are doing long division by the end of the first week.  It’s insane.  Most of Piper’s classmates have been skilled and drilled since birth.  Half of them can already read. Piper can barely write her name.  It’s not that she doesn’t have the ability or that she isn’t bright, it’s that we haven’t really put our energy into her four-year-old academics.  She’s been busy making mud pies and memorizing Lady Gaga lyrics. Her father has taught her an array of armpit noise pitches.  We’re very proud. Every day her teacher sends home a note asking me to work with Piper on her name.  I haven’t paid much attention, but I’m pretty sure the note goes like this “Dear Lazy Mom Who Doesn’t Pay Enough Attention to Piper, Please take a few precious moments out of your busy day and work with this poor child on writing her name so that the other kids stop making fun of her on the playground. Thank you.”  I know that tone.  I’m a teacher, too. So, we work on the name thing.  We sit at the kitchen table with brightly colored paper and markers that smell of various fruit flavors.  And she does write a name.  It’s just not her name.  It goes like this:

So, I’m thinking of saving us all the headache and just changing her name.  “What do you think of going by Pirppirr?”  I ask.  Her face is hopeful. “Can I stop doing this then?”  “Yep.  Back to eating Playdoh and practicing armpit noises.” She happily runs from the table and I begin writing a note to her teacher informing her effective immediately of Piper’s new name. Problem solved.

8 thoughts on “A Piper By Any Other Name

  1. I had to putu my daughter in day care at a young age. At 6 months, she received her first ‘progress report’. I thought to myself, what could she possibly be doing incorrectly? eating? not holding her bottle securely? smiling? sheesh. Glad you beat the system 🙂

    • Oh, I hear you loud and clear. It’s tough to simultaneously balance the pressure from society and the system with your own values, especially if they don’t mesh. Of course I value academics, but I also value balance. First and foremost, I want her to love learning, which is rather immeasurable in a progress report. Thanks for reading!

  2. Melissa, This just warmed my heart. My 3 year old Tabitha shows no interest in learning to write her name. She knows Tabitha has 2 Ts and 2 As. She also knows that Tabby has 2 Bs. So, most days when she does decide to try to write her name, the squiggly lines are often in the form of TBBATA, not in this order, or any order for that matter. I have let go. I figure whenever she does, she will. Hopefully the teacher will be appreciate the ‘progress at the next parent-teacher conference which am dreading. Hey, at least she did not bite or scratch anyone.

    • Thanks so much for reading, Muthoni. I think both Tabitha and Piper will be writing their name by college, right? Now’s their time to play and entertain us with their antics. I’ve been contemplating this idea of progress and progress reports a lot lately. It seems to be driven largely by our over achieving parent culture, which we’re all a part of. Of course I want my kids to succeed, we all do, but not at the cost of other things I value also. Sometimes I need to stand still a little longer and not progress so much. Then sometimes Piper makes huge leaps ahead that I wasn’t even expecting. I just watch her in awe.

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