For a long time, elephants have been my secret weapon. Somewhere around the fourth sequential ‘why mama’ my answer has something to do with elephants. They also come in handy when he insists on asking questions he already knows the answer to, or when the why makes no sense at all, when I’m too tired of it to continue asking him why right back.
But why do cars have to stop at the stop signs?
So that the elephant that’s running down the street doesn’t stomp on it.
Or, for the twenty seventh time this last weekend,
But why don’t you know when it’s going to rain next, Mama?
Because the elephants haven’t told me yet.
But why is that bag of flour, Mama?
It’s a bag of flour, Cameron, because it is a bag, and inside of it is flour, not elephants.
Elephants also join us when we’re reading a story. Just to see if he’s listening, just to have fun, I’ll substitute an elephant for something in the action. Norbert the Nutjob swung his elephant of doom! This often earns giggles, and a correction. But if I do it too often, Cameron will demand,
No more elephants Mama! Just read the words that are there!
Well, for story time last night, Cameron and I had made a deal. He would read ten words, and get a happy face for reading on his responsibility chart. Yay! He chose his tractor book, a board book for littler kids, and not really a story, but oh well. So, he dutifully read words that I pointed to. Tractor. Wheel. Harvest. But on one page the weight of the machine is compared with … you guessed it. Elephants. Cameron stopped me before I pointed to another word, and said that he wanted to pick his own this page. Okay, fine. He hmmmed, and finally pointed to … yup … elephants. He tried valiantly. I helped, telling him about ph saying ffff, and helping him to ‘chunk’ the word like they do on Starfall. Okay.
El. Eh. Fffffff. MAMA! It’s tooooo haaaaaard! Aaaiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeehhoooooooo, it’s too hard, I just can’t do it!
I waited until the squealing and squirming stopped, and said, “That’s okay Cameron, it is a hard one, but I’ll help. Try, and you’ll see. You can do it. “ As he whined, I sounded it out, ‘chunking’ it, and finally I supplied, “Elephant.”
His eyes twinkled. The whining stopped immediately.
Don’t say elephant Mama! Just read the word on the page! Do it, do it Mama, read the word on the page!
I knew as he dissolved into gales of laughter, with repeated requests for me to read the word, that he’d gotten me good.