The Putt Putt Gene
Posted by Panio Gianopoulos on Monday, March 19, 2007
I don’t know how anybody home schools. Only three weeks into taking care of Mathilda full-time and I’ve pulled back on the Greek/French/Spanish lessons. We still cover the core curriculum: she can count to ten, plead and thank, and identify the more edible and/or domesticated animals. But now that I’ve ensured that she’ll be welcome on farms around the world, no big new linguistic pushes are planned.
Maybe I was too ambitious. Or maybe grooming her for the CIA isn’t the best parenting move. Instead of aggressive linguistic coaching, I’ve switched to more practical instruction. Last night, for example, I taught her how to channel surf. She picked up on it immediately. With her tiny thumb pinned to the blue up arrow on the remote control, she raced through the 65 hotel channels (plus the five movie pay per views) over and over. After a couple laps, she was barely even glancing at the screen. I was pleased to see that she already grasped the fundamental principle of channel surfing: nothing is good. Or at least, nothing is so good that it’s not worth abandoning in search of something better. There’s a life lesson you just can’t learn early enough.
This afternoon, I expanded her physical education to include putt putt golf. For the record, Mathilda is an excellent mini-athlete (fast runner, highly coordinated, killer arm, and weirdly strong) but putt putt golf is not her sport. I think she hit sixty strokes before we were even off of the front nine. On the tenth she just walked over and dropped the ball into the hole. (“It’s too loud,” she explained, motioning to the raging waterfall.) On the twelfth hole she kicked off her flip flops and started galloping back and forth along the artificial green, her plastic zebra in one hand and the dimpled ball in the other. This seemed like a good time to stop keeping score.
Afterwards, we went and looked at the dozing alligators and fed the koi fish. “Did you have fun?” I asked. She nodded. Then she said, “Peter Pan doesn’t have wings. He just flies automatically.”
I beamed with pride. The non-sequitur: an art that can’t be taught.