I've never really spent much time obsessing over The Kid's intellectual development. He seems bright enough to get along, and I just can't bring myself to think much about it beyond that. Also, I've spent most of my adult life working in a field that elevates the intellectual over the personal, to the point where you'll have someone who's just a real jackass, but is canonized because they are -- gasp, ohmigod, so smart. I can't stand that. Drives me bananas. And half the time, the person being worshipped for his (and it always seems to be a man) intelligence really isn't all that sharp anyway.
So until now I've been focused on making sure my kid doesn't grow up to be an asshole, not on turning him into a little Einstein. There's something vaguely ridiculous about the parents who are bent on teaching their kids to read, add, subtract, or do this or that intellectual activity at some outrageously early age. Anyone watching such a spectacle can tell the issue isn't the kid's development, but the parent's ego investment in their kid being special. Screw that.
So it doesn't really bother me that The Kid is five years old and doesn't yet know how to read. A couple of months ago he started adding strings of numbers together in his head, so I figure he's doing all right. Plus, I can tell he's just not really interested yet. Why should he be when he has me to read him Shel Silverstein's poem about the eyeball in the gumball machine?
But then I realized that it was the Leap Pad's fault. Ever seen one of those? The model he has plugs into the TV and there's a keyboard attached. There's a program whereby The Kid can punch in a letter and an animal starting with that letter pops up. Nifty, huh? He can also type words and have them repeated back to him. But today Mr. T alerted me to what appears to be a serious defect in the system.
It won't type dirty words.
Apparently the Kid went to type "poop" into his keyboard and the program refused to let him do it. He got as far as P-O-O, and the keyboard refused to allow him to enter the "P." Enter "L" to make "pool" and the keyboard complied. But no poop allowed.
Is this what matters have come to? Our sensibilities so delicate that we must foreclose a perfectly valid means of stimulating a youngster's interest in spelling? Isn't that half the fun of these things? Way to kill the love of learning, people.
Maybe I'll come out with a series of scatological flash cards for the beginning reader set. Dog knows someone needs to. The Leap Pad people won't do it.