The Word


When I am on call, I have “stress projects,” things I can pour my nervous energy into so I don’t drive everyone around me absolutely crazy. I have to stay near the house because I have to be able to access the electronic health record in a pinch.*

In the photo above, you see one of my recent projects. I painted the center of the door with chalkboard paint. This area happens to be where my kids spent their time outs when they were little and they took to peeling the paint off of the door in chunks. It was looking pretty rough. This was my fix.

Now that it was done, though, I was wondering what to do with it. Blank chalkboards scream out to be used. Inspirational quotes? Silly drawings? WHAT?!?!!? I was paralyzed with the indecision.

Recently, as my son was reading Harry Potter, he sighed a happy sigh and said, “Mommy, I love words!” 

Yes! (Virtual fist pump inserted here.)

“Mommy really loves words, too! Do you want to learn more words?” I was careful not to show too much excitement. I didn’t want to scare him off.

He nodded in the affirmative, eyes sparkling.

So now we have a game. Each week I write a new word on the door. Anytime he or his sister uses it correctly in a sentence (and not in a sentence that has been used before, I had to make that rule very quickly) they get a Jelly Belly jelly bean. 

As it turns out, sugar is a huge motivator and I am not ashamed to use it in small doses.

On a side note, I used to do “The Word of the Day” on their school lunch napkins but my son said I cannot do that OR write “I love you!” on his anymore because the other kids make fun of him. Boo! Silly other kids. And BOO for growing up.

*Often, when I talk about my projects, I get comments about how amazing and wonderful I am, how gifted I must be. Let me dispel that myth right now. I am just a spaz with a ton of nervous energy that has to be channeled into creative pursuits. The projects I do are generally easy. 

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112 thoughts on “The Word

  1. I used to play word games with the boys, and they would pick a nine lketter word out of the paper.
    We all had ten minutes to make as many three letters or more words out of the chosen one, and points were given thus:
    Five for the highest number of words, one point extra for words one had and the other didn’t, and another five points for any word they had (that existed) and I didn’t. At the end of the game, the winner would have his pick from the crisp or chocolate bar box. I ended up with two avid readers aged 7 and 9.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great idea, Doc. Jelly beans are a great motivator..:) When my kids were a little older I used to send them quotes every few days with the author of the quote attached. If they liked it they became curious and started researching the individual. Planting a few seeds here and there. Teaching history and literature without a book or classroom…:)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember sending a note in my son’s lunch and having hm be embarrassed about it too 😦 . Great fix for the door! I’m envious of your son’s love of words. With my son’s challenges, words are not always his friend. I can see that certain forms of communication will likely always be a challenge for him. Hopefully it won’t hold him back in life at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Little kids are like sponges, you are giving them the opportunity to
    learn. My boys went to kindergarten reading. Fisher Price magnetic
    letters on the refrigerator taught them letters & sounds.
    We graduated to grocery shopping with brown bags in my
    pantry. They got very good at it.
    When they both started school reading, I was patting myself on the
    back??
    Their teachers both told me that I had wasted my time. That by the end
    of 2nd grade they would all be at the same level.
    They both developed a keen love of reading. One ended up a managing
    editor of children’s publishing houses.
    As grandchildren arrived, I started “Grandyby’s book club.” They all
    were mailed books on a regular basis. Happy readers all to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boo to those teachers! How could giving your kids a head start on reading be a waste of time? And whose time was being wasted? The kids? Yours? “That by the end of 2nd grade they would all be at the same level.” How could they even guarantee something like that? Would they be holding the kids back from rising above that level?

      Sorry about the rant. Such an unkind comment to a parent just baffles me. I just don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I gave my kids a love of books & reading, which I treasured
        myself. It was a boo to those teachers! Kids growing up
        with books, I feel are better students. My daughter in law
        takes her three to the library very often. A great experience
        also.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. This is great! I love when teaching and fun and just regular life intermesh. That’s how it’s supposed to me! One thing you might consider adding to your project – maybe on the side of the door – is a cup holder for chalk… Maybe something like a toothbrush holder, the kind you screw on the wall that has a cup as well. I suggest this because I was a big fan of Montessori when I was raising the Girl Child, and something she maintained was that children are essentially creative. In a Montessori classroom (and I saw this with my own girl) they learn to make words before they learn to read words other people have made – and that breakthrough moment when they realize writing is a common language is just priceless! Anyway, maybe yours would enjoy that. (I see they’re already drawing on the board, so clearly you’re already somewhat doing it.)

    And … hey, I hope you don’t mind “unsolicited advice” … Really I’m just sharing something that worked for us. You do you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 😦 The school was so focused on making AR points for first four to five years, it took the joy out of my grandsons love of reading. Now, it is almost impossible to get either of them to read. To much negative connections to it when before the oldest always had a book in his had to read, now nada for both. 😦 I am wondering if play one of the suggested games if they would find the love again. πŸ™‚ Worth a try, right? Right now, I attempt to read to them while they play legos, bedtimes or such. Not always met with enthusiasm so have to do it randomly, hoping not to make matters worse.

    Peace and Blessings,
    ~Hoda~

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are a genius! I liked the fact that you turned the time out punishment spot into the happy creativity spot. πŸ™‚ We were at this remote restaurant in Latvia recently, nested amidst rolling hills and farms, and it had an incredible playroom for kids with every single wall in it – a drawing wall. I was finally able to have a peaceful meal to myself as they were drawing away on the walls. πŸ™‚ Wishing you peaceful meals also even when on call.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Couple of summers ago, I did some work on a home where the wife had chalk board painted cabinet fronts in her kitchen.I’d never seen it before. Came home and told my wife about them. she got interested…we currently have (5) of them. (Our kitchen is rustic/so they fit right in.) currently two of them have some favorite quotes some are used for reminders and short term goals, and the bottom one get’s used by our 2 yr old grandson for “doodling” Visitors have left poems/ drawings, etc. which is always fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had to laugh at your disclaimer. I’m the same spazzy, nervous, can’t sit still kinda creative. Over the years I’ve been trying to learn to accept compliments better, because I used to say things like, “Anyone can do this,” and I’ve learned that is not the case. πŸ˜‰
    We all do things that seem easy to others.

    At our house the Raggedy Anns sit in the naughty chair. They’ve been in time out for…oh, maybe..5-6 years, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There have been a few times one or another of my grandchildren has been hospitalized (pneumonia usually), knowing they would up & running when sent home. I have sent sharing care packages.
    Huge roll of paper, enough crayons, paints, brushes, colored pencils to share with the 3 of them.
    They were all happy for hours on end, it is still a rainy day play station. The patient always got
    a plastic artists apron. I can remember doing this the 1st time, and they all called yelling
    with happiness to say thank you. Their Mom was most grateful. A chalkboard is something
    I never added. These are all great ideas for children’s active minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Victo I was fortunate to be a stay at home Mom. Your high energy is at work,
    with your kids. While at the same time being on call, and working in the clinic? Tough job all
    around. You are doing triple duty. Take care of yourself, try to give yourself some down
    time. You are so great, but you still need time for you.
    Like a spa day, mini vacation away alone. You honestly deserve it.?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You just confirmed in me something I want to do with chalkboard paint..lol That’s an awesome word game. If I use a new word in a sentence can I have a jelly bean too? πŸ˜‰ You are talented. I know this by your photography alone, not to mention your writing…

    Liked by 2 people

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