Although it goes barely noticed, I have been trying to straighten things up around the house while I am on Winter Break. I even took two boxes to the thrift store, and that sure felt nice.
One of the books that came to the surface this week brought back so many sweet memories. Nubbins and the Tractor
This is written by Freda Sinnickson and the copyright date is MCMLI which is before even I was born.
This was quite a favorite book around here, maybe 20 years ago. It is a sweet story about Nubbins, the farm horse, who is about to be replaced by a modern tractor. However, one morning, the tractor won’t start, so Papa tells the older son to call the garage and wait for the mechanic, then tells the younger one that he and Nubbins will have to help with the work in the field. Just like old times!
Nubbins is quite pleased with this turn of events. He can barely hold still to have his harness put on, and he and Tommy work hard all day long.
This was pretty much our family’s idea of a horse at the time. We live in town, but we sure liked this story.
We read it over and over and over and over.
It so happened that it came time for son Lucas to have his check-up at the WIC Clinic.
By a great bit of luck and planning, this trip was just Lucas and Mom, the brothers stayed home with Dad. There would be no distractions for his examination.
This appointment coincidentally fell on his 3rd birthday, so I was proud to tell the nurse that he was Three Years Old.
He was in great physical shape, all his measurements above the 60th percentile, and he could balance on one foot, and show other ways for his body’s ability to move about.
Then she began the developmental tests. She put a pile of blocks in front of him and gave directions for what to do with them, stack them, put the Red Block Under Mom’s chair, the Yellow Block on the windowsill, etc.
He did each assignment with ease.
Next came tests on paper. He could draw a closed circle, he could point out the square and the star. He even knew the one with five sides is a pentagon. That’s what comes from having an older brother playing with the shapes toy.
Then she put in front of him a page of drawings of animals, such as might be seen in a coloring book. She asked him to name each animal. He went all the way through the first two rows and never missed a one. In the middle of the third row was a picture of a galloping horse. He hesitated over that picture, then answered Nubbins. She asked if he was sure? He looked at me with a question in his eyes. I asked him “what IS Nubbins”? so he answered “a farm horse”. The nurse gave an exasperated sound and said I was not to help him. He went on with the rest of the pictures and never missed a one.
I glanced over at her grade chart and saw that she had marked that he missed a picture. I stressed that he had Not missed the picture, he just gave the name of the horse from our storybook. She said that to have missed only the one is still a very good grade, not to worry about it.
Next came his verbal ability. She asked questions, he answered them well, in complete sentences, like a little gentleman. Like he had been taught by both parents.
Finally, it came time for her to be talking to me, the stay-at-home mother, who lived for these moments to be bragging about how fine the boys were doing.
And for this meeting there was just one son to concentrate on.
I answered all the questions with high praises, while Lucas sat quietly in his chair playing with the wooden blocks he had been using earlier to follow the nurse’s directions.
It came time for him to be getting restless, and when the nurse turned the page of her booklet, I could tell we were almost done.
The next question directed to me was “How does he get what he wants?”
I was confused. What he wants? The boy has everything we can afford plus a stay-at-home mom. Couldn’t she tell he is really smart?
So I asked her what exactly did she mean?
She thought for a minute and said that if there were treats in a cupboard up high, and he wanted a cookie, how did he ask for it? Did he walk over and point and whine, or what?
So I look over at my middle son, who was only 3 years old after all, and I asked “Lucas, How do you make a proper request?”
He looked from me to her and back again.
Then he answered slowly and clearly “I have to say Please”.
The nurse almost fell off her chair. The boy continued, “Is it time to go now?”
She said that she could tell he is well cared for, and we work fine with him.
In a few minutes, we were walking home, holding hands to cross Main Street.
In typical Lucas fashion, he carried a question with him.
“Mom, do other horses have names like Nubbins?” because the horse in that picture did not have a hat on like the one Nubbins wears, but I didn’t know its name.
I’d give the kid a perfect score, then and now.
~~love and Huggs, Diane
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