We forget that everything we know we have to learn somewhere. We assume that our children will pick up basic things through osmosis, but WE actually need to teach them. It's an easy thing to forget.
"Mommy, Miss Betty says I need to memorize my phone number," my four-year-old said sheepishly. I stopped and tried to remember. Did her sister know our phone number at her age? Did I teach her, or did she learn it on her own? Now she's seven and can recite everything from my cell phone number to our ZIP code.
"Wow, okay," I said feeling badly that I hadn't done it earlier. "Let's work on that."
So we did.
We wrote the number in bold print on a white piece of paper and made up a song with the numbers. We sang it in the kitchen. We sang it in the bathtub. We sang it in bed. She kept wanting to say "dash" for the dash between the first three numbers and the last four, so I had to rewrite the number without the dash.
Finally, after several hours of reciting it in every form possible she got it. The entire family let out a cheer from separate rooms in the house as they heard her loudly sing it from atop her pillow in her dark bedroom.
"Mommy," my older daughter said. "She needs to know her address too."
"Chloe," I said as I walked into her room illuminated only by a nightlight. "Sweetie, where do you live? Do you know your address?"
"Sure, Mommy. I live at the end of the street in a small house," she said in a singsong voice.