Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slip of the Pencil...

Last weekend while reviewing Bean's homework I noticed her pencil had a slip of the lead, she had just spelled penises instead of pennies.  I call this a pencil having a slip of the lead because I spent a lot of my childhood unintentionally meaning things totally different from what I thought I had written, a slip of the tongue just with a pencil.  Sometimes when a you have a learning issue, like I or Bean does you have to somehow learn to laugh at yourself and just embrace your faults, like being a crappy speller.  While I was trying to stifle laughter and posting the hilarity on Facebook about Beans slip of the lead, I realized how alike our learning issues really are.

In first grade I spelled shit instead of ship, and the ex-nun of a first grade teacher was not happy with me.  Let me note, this woman was everything you could imagine an ex-nun to be, skinny, harsh, a slight mustache and a total lack of a sense of humor. In her mind girls were meant to sit, play and be quiet in all things and god for bid, literally, if you ever disobeyed.  For those of you that know me, I can feel you cringing at the year this must have been for cute, precocious, loud six year old me, and then I spelled SHIT.

I remember this day like it was yesterday, my six year old self sitting in a desk that seemed a little big, swinging my legs and making a  mess of a worksheet the teacher had just given us. I sat behind my best friend and used her as a shield against this woman, and frequently my friend would turn around to see me work, as I mumbled to myself I must have been a great distraction.
On this fateful day my friend turned around and immediately started into her classic you're in trouble "ooooooohh".
"What, what I pleaded", knowing there was something not right, that Mrs. Scary Ex-Nun would be furious at me for the minute she perched at my desk.
My friend giggled, "you spelled shit", she whispered it knowing the weight the word had to our six year old selves.
I frantically searched the page. "What where", I was near frantic.
"The ship, it is spelled with a p not a t."
Searching the page again I saw my error and desperately tried to erase the thick lead T on the page and replace it with a lower case p.  Out of no where my friend swung back around and I knew that meant our teacher was coming nearer. I worked as fast as I could to repair my dirty little pencils slip of the lead.  As the she demon of a teacher swept down on to me I handed her my paper praying I had corrected my error well enough and cowering in my chair hoping she would just move on to her next victim, noticing I was already thoroughly abused for the day.
She looked down on me, "Thought you would be funny, heh?  You are lucky to have such a good friend to help remind you, you are here to learn not make a joke of your work."

Now these are not the exact words, that was a really long time ago, but they are close enough to convey the total fear and embarrassment I felt at my pencils slip up.  Ship wasn't the last word I spelled incorrectly, I have done it multiple times in this post alone, but I am thankful for auto correct every day and Bean is learning to be too, she asked last night why she has to have spelling since the computer always corrects for her. I reminded her that she needs to know that when the little red line shows up for a misspelled word she needs to know the basic spelling of the word she wants to spell or who knows what she will be telling people in her spelling essay for the week.

Even though 100 penises might make a dollar and she may be decomposing in class, we will always share the grief and frustration of having pencils that slip up on us.

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