Jenny F Scientist (who I always picture in a lab coat, pencil skirt and expensive shoes) wrote -

"Speaking of  handwriting, I went to school in the Dark Ages when we did cursive handwriting exercises- and, in fact, I first learned something that was probably D'nealian and which has to this day left me unable to print legibly. It's this awful half-cursive. Anyhow, I once sent my spouse off to the store for salad fixings and he brought back a two-liter of Coke. That's how legibly I write."

Which reminded me of the following story.

Back in my own Dark Ages when Steve and I were living in Chicago, he was once wrote out a grocery list for me to take to the store and as he wrote I suggested things that needed to be added to it: feta cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce... oh and we were running low on the, uh, product that is, um, you know, water-soluble and located in the, ah, adult, that is to say, the intimate personal care aisle.

"The what?" Steve asked innocently.

"Oh just write it," I said. "But be subtle!" I added.

Thus, when I got to the grocery store and unfolded the list, I saw the words


neatly printed in letters about six inches high across the top of the page and

*code name

across the bottom.

Going Back To Wednesday

Holy hannah, I do love you so much. So many excellent ideas about Edward the (Unsub)Scribe. As for your questions, the short answer is: yes, everything you said seemed possible if not probable.

Yes, I looked up dysgraphia and my layparent's opinion is that he exhibits eleven out of the ten signs (I have a call into his OT to see if there is a reason we haven't looked into this sooner.)

Yes, he probably thinks that if he just holds out long enough it will simply go away (but! his teacher this year has sent home every unfinished assignment and he has had to complete it at the dining room table while Caroline - the ant who did not sing and dance pendant tout l'été - lies on the couch playing Angry Birds, loudly. So that's not working out so well for him.)

Yes, he no doubt thinks five sentences about his own tall tale character is stupid (he'll happily give you fifty, orally, on the cod industry, though.)

Yes, he is a perfectionist and as many times as I tell him to just take a stab at the spelling he will write and re-write and re-re-write a word that he knows looks wrong.

Yes, his thoughts probably overwhelm him until he doesn't know where to start.

 And yes, when it is a struggle to put your pencil to the paper and not press too hard or too lightly and try to keep in the darker lines while using the lighter lines as a guide and remember that the lowercase d goes that way not this way and you are supposed to start on the upward stroke for a capital B... I think content gets lost in the buzz and all he wants to do is be done.

As for Edward's opinion, I hadn't talked to him yet when I wrote about my brief encounter with his teacher but I am not much forwarder in my understanding now that I have done so. I told him that she expressed some dismay over the blankety blankness of his written responses and Edward seemed interested and concerned but also a little remote; as if I were describing the after effects of an earthquake on Java. Terribly sad, of course, but what can one do?

He reiterated his primary and oft-repeated complaint that it hurts to write. He also said that he thinks he needs to work, and I quote, one-on-one with an adult; which made me laugh until he started laughing too.

"What you mean is that you want some grown-up to follow you around like a sucker, pencil in hand, and do all the irritating scribbly bits for you."

"Well, yes," said Edward. "That would be great. I hate writing."

Which takes us neatly back to square one.

Edward came home last night with a big stack of corrected papers, mostly math but some written work as well. His teacher has obviously been letting him dictate some responses to her - did I say sucker? I meant dedicated humanitarian - which I think is damned decent of her considering the fact that there are 21 other little squirming bodies in her class. I don't think this can be a long-term solution but it did get him through their first unit and he felt good about the work he had done, which is my only real concern. Eventually this will be a non-issue; either because he outgrows it or we provide him with useful assistance or he simply reaches an age at which a disinclination to print things no longer matters. In the meantime I don't want him to get frustrated or distressed by his perceived shortcomings.

I told him last night that I got a G- (that's a good minus if you don't speak 1977 elementary school grading; Edward said, "Is that like a bad plus?") in handwriting when I was in first grade and I still have terrible handwriting and it really doesn't impact anything. You just do your best and keep going and assume that for the rest of your life no one will ever understand the affectionate/nasty notes you leave for them. And you will leave notes for yourself that you are never able to read either.

"Then why write them?" asked Edward. Good question.

Oh and speaking of his teacher, I think that she was just asking me if I had some insight on Edward - early onset teenage recalcitrance, recurring temporary paralysis of the fingers, alphaphobia - that would help her work with him, rather than asking me to solve the problem. Patrick did once have a teacher - one who loathed him, actually, and I believe the feeling was mutual - who asked me to get Patrick to stop saying he was bored in her class.

Stop being boring, seemed the obvious response, but I am a Minnesotan by choice if not by birth so I think I said something like, "Oh, oh dear, I'm so sorry, well, I don't know, um, I'll try."

Then I pulled Patrick out of her school.

The longer answer is: this will require additional investigation and I thank you for giving me lots of good places to start.

Huh. Funny. I wrote the short answer sentence and then the longer answer sentence and then I went back and filled in the bits in between, thus rendering the short answer a billionty times longer than the long one.

Me? I love writing.