OBSERVATIONS · slice of life · writing

Writing out the ABC’s

Isabelle made the connection between the ABC's and writing somewhere around 'chocolate syrup.'
Isabelle made the connection between the ABC’s and writing somewhere around ‘chocolate syrup.’

I’m the kind of person who types out almost everything. Babysitter instructions? Typed. Addresses for a day’s outing? Typed. A note to my next door neighbor’s kids tucked inside a bag of books? Typed (in cute font, I might add).  Even my shopping lists are typed!

Before my shopping lists are typed-up (and organized by aisle of the supermarket to minimize the amount of times I run back and forth in the store), they are hand-written. My husband and I jot items we need to buy on a notepad during the week. Often, I jot down the items I need to buy on the same notepad with my recipe binder in front of me.

And that’s what I was doing last night as Isabelle ate blueberries after dinner.  I sat down at the table with my recipe binder and notepad and wrote things down with a pen.

“ABC’s!” she said pointing to the notepad.

“Huh?” I asked.

“A-B-C’s!” she exclaimed again.

I looked at her blankly.  She pointed and then sang the alphabet song as if trying to get her point across.

When she finished the song, I dutifully cheered and said, “I heard the l, m, n, o, and p!”

She shook her head, not seeming to care I noticed she slowed down the alphabet song.  Finally, she got her message across.  “Mommy eye-ting.”

What could “Mommy eye-ting” mean?  I said it aloud, as I often do when I am unsure what Isabelle says.

“Eye-ting, eye… ting.” I paused.  Writing?  “Did you say ‘Mommy is writing?'”

“Yes!” she smiled.

“You’re right, Mommy is writing!”


I stopped and looked at her.  My eyes welled-up with tears.  She had made the connection between the alphabet song and what I was doing on the notepad as writing.  She recognized the letters I put on the page meant something.  Since she rarely sees me compose a text (I’m stretching it by saying the shopping list is a text!) by hand, it was like a light bulb went off in her head that said, ‘Mommy is writing something with the ABC’s.’

I stared at her with amazement.  Finally, I put my hand on top of her blueberry-stained fingertips and said, “You noticed something important.  I am writing down a list of things you and Daddy will buy at Wegmans tomorrow.  The ABCs are letters I use when I want to make words.  These words tell Daddy what to buy at the supermarket.”  I thought about saying more, but stopped.  I was verklempt.

“ABC’s! Mommy eye-ting ABC’s!”

And with that assertion, she sang the ABC song again.


19 thoughts on “Writing out the ABC’s

  1. I think you need to have a “tissues alert” on some of your posts. So wonderful a moment for you and your daughter. She observes and connects and knows. Wonderful and thank you for sharing this.

  2. Stacey,
    What a great story! Thanks for sharing! Isabelle is so lucky that she has a mother that is “listening” and following her lead!

    (And, yes, grocery lists are texts that need to be in store order in order to get the “right” items!)

  3. Wow Stacey. The connection Isabel made is perfect. You are modeling how writing goes at first — with a paper and a pen or crayon. I love the translation mommies do. Mommy eye-ting! Yes that’s what we do honey. And I agree with all of those above.. lovely, grocery lists are texts and you need to preface some of your posts…so we can get the tissues.

  4. I can feel your pride just beaming right through your words! What a HUGE connection Isabelle just made! I was also wondering the same thing as Bernadette – will this prompt you to do more writing by hand?

  5. There are so many times I wish I could get inside children’s heads and watch them think from the inside instead of the outside. I am just so fascination by the connections they make. Wonderfully tender story.

  6. What a moment to treasure! Your experience is another reason why it is important for children and students to see us writing!

  7. Aw, so precious! I just love watching my children make new discoveries. Admittedly, as they get older they are just as miraculous but not usually so momentous as this sort of occasion. Way to go Isabelle!

  8. Kinda makes me a little misty too. There is something about those moments when things just click on in a child’s life, they understand something new and there is a light inside beaming. Loved the story.

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