By: Brady Evans
My heart broke over Christmas break. I was with my son for two weeks straight because I’m in education and have the luxury of that winter holiday break. And there we were, sitting in the living room, kissing each other, and wrestling, and hugging each other, and talking when I decided that I’d sing some nursery rhymes. After all, at 20 months he seemed of-age. So I busted out the first song that came to my mind, “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” I saw my son, standing in front of me, smiling, and he immediately began the hand motions of the spider crawling up the spout, the rain coming down, and the sun coming out. And initially I smiled SO BIG and SO PROUD because he knew this song and was executing it so beautifully with such a grin and we were having this special moment. And then it hit me: I didn’t teach him this song. I didn’t teach him “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” He learned that from daycare. And tears filled my eyes.
What else does my little boy know that I don’t know he knows? What other vocabulary words, songs, lessons, and more am I failing to reinforce at home? What else did he learn from daycare and not from me?
Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I don’t want daycare to teach him. Of course I do. I toured daycares and asked questions about curriculum, lessons, and more (my husband and I are both teachers so obviously it was a priority) but that moment when he sang that song like he’s been doing it for months just hit me hard. I had a feelings of pride, gratitude, jealousy, and hurt all rolled into the tears that filled my eyes.
I know I can’t be the sole teacher of my child and I don’t have a monopoly on filling his brain with knowledge. I know sweet Benjamin will learn from other people throughout his life. I know my son loves his teachers and smiles adoringly at them and I know they love him. They KNOW him. They know when he’s happy or may be slightly feverish. They know what he likes (swinging, books, fans, and lights) and what he doesn’t like (dirty hands, tall slides). And I am thankful for that. I am thankful that I trust his teachers and caregivers to love him, take care of him, and teach him.
But I never will forget that feeling of not knowing what he knows. Seeing him, at 20 months, have this amazing skill he didn’t learn from his parents. It’s just another artifact of being in a family where both parents work very, very full time jobs.