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As a Teacher, I Also Had a Very Short List of Potential Baby Names
I always worry what effect my being a teacher will have on my son ‘s normal emotional development. I usually comfort myself with a little reminder that, given the two families he ‘s coming from, the child never had a chance anyway. But recent events are giving me pause to rewind and reflect.
I teach computer technology at the school my son now attends. His father is a soccer instructor, and of course, our son attends classes (for free!) with Daddy. People have always just assumed he ‘d be some übergeek-meets-jock, Steve Jobs/David Beckham cross-breed. When they found out that, at age four, my son had yet to lay a hand on a computer mouse, people responded with shock. I prefer to let him experience things when they ‘re age-appropriate, you see. But lately, my son is making me think he ‘s a forty year old man in a kindergarten body.
He ‘s really into maps. And streets. And Google Earth. I ‘m thinking of having him come in and co-teach a few classes for my fourth and fifth graders to give them some pointers. My son never has a mild passing interest in anything. He latches onto something and goes all Rain Man on the subject, and he ‘s like a dog with a bone until a new, stranger, even headier subject comes along. When it was traffic signs, I thought, oh, that ‘s cute. He didn ‘t just have them in his train set; each one became a little personality with its own life story. Then he moved on to cars. My son literally learned to read by sounding out and memorizing the spellings of car manufacturers and models. Maybe I should have been on notice when he knew better than his parents the difference between a Tacoma and a Tundra and could accurately identify them, even at a distance. (We ended up going with the Tacoma, by the way.)
From cars, we made a seemingly natural progression to street signs. He was already gawking out the car window at every other vehicle on the road, so I guess one day he just lifted his eyes slightly heavenward and discovered an entirely new vocabulary. But the day he suddenly noticed that all those street names were gathered in one place was the dawn of a new era of fact collection. Maps. Oh my.
He was enthralled and entranced, and I think perhaps a little miffed that we ‘d kept these things a secret for FIVE WHOLE YEARS. (Yes, what WERE we thinking?) Now, if something even looks a little like a map or globe, he must grab it, study it, BECOME it. I admit to being a little concerned. On the other hand, the other day when he was testing his father — only a naturalized American citizen for a year and a half now — on the states and their two-letter abbreviations, I did feel a pang of relief. After five years of teaching fifth grade here in California, I see how well-prepared he ‘s going to be for that test five years from now.
Did I mention that the child is in kindergarten? So yes, I feel a bit troubled. It could be bad enough being a teacher ‘s kid. And maybe it ‘s tougher that his Dad also teaches a lot of the kids at our school too. But to be incredibly geeky in a way that kids won ‘t appreciate until sitting next to the Human Encyclopedia in class becomes a coveted spot rather than a cootie-ridden doom? Thank God the child is cute and — if I may say so myself — quite a hit with the ladies. He ‘s funny and charming and a pretty good singer. So I am thinking he ‘s probably not on the autistic spectrum.
So what do I do with this? The boy is clearly more intelligent than his father and I put together. Some day that kind of smarts will rise up against us and could be used for evil if we don ‘t groom him carefully in these early years while our vast experience and knowledge of random stuff will hold us over until he figures out that we ‘re lower forms of life on the intellectual food chain. So I stifle my urge to quell his infinite thirst for knowledge. And I hope his preoccupation with geography is not part of his plan for world domination.
Oh my. I just realized his middle name is Stuart. And I sometimes call him Stewie.
Some family fun:
In the picture at the top, Cameron discovers a specialized globe at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It showed migration patterns or something. He stayed there for twenty minutes. Until we moved him.
This is what a new American looks like with his new pickup truck: