Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spelling Bee

Bee Hives, Opelika, AL (painted in Waterlogue App).
Friday afternoon, Nate comes home from school and tells me he has qualified for the school spelling bee. I am ecstatic. Only two kids from each class have earned this honor. This is huge. This is the boy who was at odds with the public school establishment up through 3rd grade (he got in-school suspension the sixth day of kindergarten, for Pete's sake). This is the boy that has been diagnosed with a working memory deficit and ADD and "slower processing speed". This is the boy that struggled with spelling in 3rd grade. He has always been bright, but he has grown by leaps and bounds the last year and a half. I am so proud!

We couldn't be farther from LA, but still I have visions of him jumping rope to the rhythm of words like "obsequious" and "antediluvian" while Laurence Fishburne sits behind a desk in a leather swivel chair and coaches him.

***** I was in the class spelling bee in 7th grade. I made it to one of the final rounds and got eliminated on the word "gangrene". I spelled it like the color green. That would kind of make sense, wouldn't it? I have never forgotten the actual spelling of the word, or the bitter taste of disappointment. I decide that I am going to do what I can to help my sweet boy succeed.

***** On the way home from church Sunday we start quizzing Nate on spelling words. My husband keeps pelting ridiculously difficult words at Nate and I keep saying "he's in fifth grade". I don't think he'll be asked to spell "oligonucleotide" or whatever other behemoth of a word that dad has thought up. "Spell restaurant" says dad. It's too hard. Nate is afraid to even try.
"I'll give you a clue," I say. "It has some letters you can't hear."
He begins tentatively:
My dreams of him participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee go up in a puff of smoke, but we all have a good laugh. It was actually a really intelligent guess given the clue I gave him. I think he's probably on his way to being a darn good Boggle or Scrabble player.

As we continue on our drive, dad decides it is high time that the little boys learn to spell "Mississippi". We all chant "M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I" for a couple of minutes until Specs pipes up from the back seat, giggling, "I like the 'PP' part."

My life may not be the stuff that movies are made of, but it can be pretty entertaining nonetheless.

Epilogue:  Nate participated in the spelling bee this past Monday. He came in a respectable 7th overall; he ranked 3rd out of the other 5th grade spellers. He was eliminated on the word "daughter" which he insists he spelled "D-A-U-G-H-T-E-R," but maybe he was misheard. I'll never know because I didn't get to attend due to a previous commitment. At any rate, he got to use that "G-H" that didn't work out for him in "restaurant".

1 comment:

Tanya said...

Good for him!!! And you! :)
And the picture is gorgeous!