Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CALENDAR (10/20/16)
TITLE: Another Year Wiser
By Francy Judge
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Jordan sat on the edge of the crinkly paper and swung her legs. While we waited, we named the mermaid decorations hanging from the ceiling. “Twinkle, Daisy, Misty.”
Dr. Leighton began the exam with simple questions. “What’s your name?”
“What do you like to do?”
“Play with my brothers.”
So far, so good. “Jordan, where do you live?”
Jordan stared like she was hearing a different language. “In a house.”
“That’s right, but do you know what street your house is on?”
“No, that’s the state. Is your house on Chestnut Street?”
“I think so.”
Dr. Leighton looked at me. “She’s three, so she should know her street and house number by now.”
I had failed as a preschool teacher. I should have had Jordan recite her address instead of naming mermaids while we waited.
“Do you know what month it is?”
She shook her head.
“Do you know what season it is now?”
Jordan looked up at me with her sad, full moon eyes. My heart melted.
Dr. Leighton tried to help her remember. “Is it fall or winter or summer?”
Jordan twisted her ponytail. “Summer?” I looked outside at the golden oak tree outside the window and wished this check-up would end. Finally, Dr. Leighton checked for the bunny in her ears and listened to the horse trot of her heartbeat. I was thankful for my healthy daughter and ready to leave.
As we walked home, I prayed that God would help me be a better teacher for my kids. I needed the calendar that Dr. Leighton has—the one that said every skill needed to be mastered by every hour of every month of every year. Jordan had so much to learn and the pressure was on me for rest of her years. One calendar at a time.
I remembered to prepare Jordan before her fourth check-up. “Where do you live?”
“And the street?”
“No that’s the town.” Once I got her to say the correct address a few times in a row, we tried the days of the week…to the beat of “Oh My Darling, Clementine.” Songs helped, but the repetition was boring for both of us.
Jordan was advanced in her reading ability and math skills. She could memorize scripture, but had a mental block when it came to answering the easy questions, the questions Dr. Leighton would ask. I wish I could’ve written a cheat sheet for her, but we’re Christians so that’s not an option, just a temptation.
My husband watched me and Jordan doing jumping jacks to the months of the year. “Don’t you have to go to her check-up soon?”
I whispered: “We have twenty minutes to cram for Jordan’s test.”
“I think she’s too young for the SAT or ACT.”
“You know how thorough Dr. Leighton is. We have to be prepared…I mean Jordan has to…”
“You shouldn’t care what she thinks. You’re doing a great job homeschooling our kids.”
“I know, but still. Jumping jacks are fun anyway. JAN-uary, FEB-ruary…March, April, May…”
Dr. Leighton proceeded with her usual questions, and Jordan proceeded with her usual wrong answers. I began to think Jordan was answering wrong on purpose. At least her sweet smile made up for the mommy fail.
“Try to work on her address and days of the week. At four years old, she should know these things by heart.” She smiled and added, “I love your kids. They are the sweetest and all have great smiles.”
Now that Jordan is twelve and on the high honor roll in public school, she knows where she lives and knows all her days and months and much, much, more, I get asked other questions at her check-up…
“So you ride bike a lot?”
Jordan answers, “Yes, every day in the summer.” I know what comes next.
“Do you wear a helmet when you ride?”
Jordan looks at me. She will tell the truth. “No.”
Dr. Leighton looks at me with her serious face. “She should…”
Another year, another mommy fail moment. On our helmet-free bike ride home, I’ll remind Jordan that God loves us.
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