If you have a child in preschool or kindergarten, you probably know about patterns. Last year at some point, Ryan started telling us all about AB patterns, which he would explain to his highly interested but not exactly comprehending little brother are patterns like “black brown black brown.”
Ryan loves patterns. Ryan’s brain is as organized as that of a five year old can be, and patterns fit well into the way his brain works. While they were practicing patterning in preschool, he would build patterns out of legos (“look, Mom, this lego wall is red yellow red yellow! It’s an AB pattern!), and he would notice them everywhere (“the colors around my plate are an ABC pattern, Sammy!”).
Well, now he is in kindergarten and they have started discussing patterns once more. Only now, with the ripe old age of six looming around the corner, he is learning more complex patterns, such as ABB and AAB and ABCD. And once again patterns have become a key conversational piece at places such as the breakfast table, where Ryan holds forth over his cheerios regarding the joys of the complex AABB pattern.
“An AB pattern would be like this: fish, bubble. fish, bubble,” my patterning expert informs his enthralled younger sibling in between bites of peanut butter toast.
“Oh!” replies Sammy, nibbling on his own toast or possibly a booger, you can never be sure.
“And an ABC pattern would be like this: fish, bubble, water. fish, bubble, water.”
“Why do you have Brayden?” asks Sam, momentarily distracted from his meal by the fact that Ryan is waving a yellow construction paper fish in his face.
“Because, Brayden is helping me teach you about patterns.”
Brayden the fish came home from school with Ryan a few weeks ago, his yellow construction paper self carefully glued to a large popsicle stick during some recent art class. He informed us that this new member of our family was named Brayden, and we have spent the time since trying to discover what made him decide to name the fish Brayden.
“Do you have any friends named Brayden?” I asked.
“Oh, no,” he said.
“Well, why did you decide to name the fish that?”
“I don’t know, that’s just what I decided.”
Brayden makes frequent forays into Ryan’s playtime, and assists him during drawing activities when Ryan is filled with a great desire to create multiple traced fish upon a piece of paper. And now, apparently, Brayden acting as assistant teacher during Ryan’s attempts to bring his not-yet-four-year-old brother up to kindergarten speed.
“Now, an AABAAB pattern would be like this: Fish, Fish, Bubble. Fish, Fish, Bubble. And an AABBCC pattern would be like Fish, Fish, Bubble, Bubble, Water, Water.”
“Yup!” answers the young pattern protege, who has wisely chosen to just agree with his brother during these breakfast lessons.
“And an ABCD pattern would be Fish, Bubble, Water, Chicken!” I say, deciding maybe it’s time to take a firmer hand in my young son’s education.
Ryan, Sammy, and Brayden the Teaching Construction Paper Fish turn around to look at me.
“Well, it is!” I say testily, not pleased with having to defend my patterning against a five year old and an art project.
My sons turn away and Ryan resumes his lesson. Clearly I do not even deserve a response.