The big fourth grade project is a report on Canada. This includes research, a typed presentation, and an artifact. One of the things I like most about Cecilia’s teacher is how she gives the kids the time and space to do things on their own. For better and for worse. Sorry, for better and for learning opportunities.
Watching Cecilia ‘type’ her slides was almost viscerally painful. Until she discovered dictation! We thought about stepping in but if we are going to let them figure things out why can’t she use all the tools on her Chromebook.
The toughest part for me to witness has been the design of the slides. I worked for almost 8 year as a consultant. I spent a lot time using PowerPoint. A lot. I would sometimes dream in PowerPoint. People would open their mouths and a perfectly formatted slide would pop out with their dialogue.
Cecilia’s slide dialogue would have been…difficult to read. She enjoyed different fonts. Explored different font sizes. Discovered rainbow fonts. She discovered Comic Sans. We had to have a chat.
As a designer, I will not let my child submit a report using Comic Sans. Time and space has its limits.
Mid-March in New England means a couple things to me. First, I start arguing with the kids that temperatures in the mid-40’s still means you need to wear something with long sleeves. Second, I need to consider chiseling out some furrows for planting the first peas. Finally, it marks the unofficial start of the spring road racing season. I’ve never met a competition I didn’t like!
5 reasons I still like running 5k’s:
Budget They’re not cheap, but they are cheaper than most other races and you typically get the same snacks for running a lot less.
Competing Many longer events are about enduring your way to the finish. 5k’s are about racing.
Fitness The 5k requires strength, speed, power, and endurance. You can effectively train for a 5k with a variety of workouts not just long runs. It will not only help you run better but also improve your overall health.
No Chafing The risk of nipple bleeding is very low.
Beer & Naps It’s just long enough and takes just enough effort that it totally justifies at least one beer and one short nap when you are done.
We totally took advantage of the beer and nap clause yesterday.
I get my 10 year parenting chip next month. Being a parent is not simple. Ok, the core of it might be. Show up. Love your kid no matter what. It’s in the margins where things can often go sideways.
I think the biggest thing that has changed since Ce was a baby is that I can’t plan it all anymore. And I love to plan. I think about what to make for dinner while drinking my morning coffee. I love making to-do lists. I never met a calendar app I didn’t like. I also tend to invest a lot of energy in hoping all those plans go smoothly. If they don’t, I tend to get a little cranky and stressed out. Stressed out parents make terrible decisions. It’s a vicious circle.
Ten years in and I’m now trying to learn from my kids and be better at reacting to life as it happens. Sound too simple? Maybe it is. But it does works. With a little practice.
It’s becoming clear as we work our way through fourth grade that while in many ways Cecilia is very similar to me (mostly reserved, easily embarrassed, great hair), she definitely does not learn like me.
This realization, simple as it may seem, has led to more peaceful parenting when she gets home after school. It’s up to me to adapt and let her know that one, her way is legit and acceptable and two, that no matter what, I’m on team Ce and will be there to help her even if it means new math, taking the long way around, or listening to endless facts about Canada.
My #1 job is not to force a certain way or take delight only in accomplishments but to value and love her for the nutty young woman she is becoming, no strings attached.
Neither of us is perfect, but starting from a place of compassion and support and not right versus wrong will hopefully have an impact on us long past fourth grade.
We began the process of killing off vacation Dad yesterday. We started back on the daily tasks, including piano and trombone practice. After a couple days layoff, things did not get off to the smoothest start. There were a lot of fits and starts and groans. But vacation Dad had to go.
I know I talk a lot about Cecilia’s ups and downs of learning an instrument but I find it encompasses so many fascinating aspects of both parenting and being a child. Take patience. Or, from Cecilia’s perspective, impatience. She wants to do everything fast. Grow up fast, do her homework fast, master a new skill fast. All of it.
I find myself constantly telling her to slow down. Don’t screw it up by going too fast. Spend more time on your work. Take pride in it. That’s the only way we can do truly great work. If your work is not hard, you’re not doing great work.
I’m sure (i.e., I hope!) much of this is age and will change with maturity. But jeez that would require me to have some patience.
I have a race later today. 10 miles. In February. In New England. Can’t wait.
One the biggest challenges I had with my Addison’s diagnosis and then the knee arthritis was being forced to slow down, and then, stop for a bit. I know many people have a tough time, for various reasons, calling them themselves an athlete. I had a really hard time not seeing myself as an athlete. For as long as I can remember sports and fitness were a daily part of my life. It was a huge piece of how I viewed myself, viewed the world, and approached my place in it. It wasn’t the only way, of course, but it was a big part to suddenly be missing.
I’m trying to teach the girls, or at least show, them that confidence is born out of doing hard things. So a 10-miler on a brisk February morning should be a good example. Their thing might not be sports, but the principles still apply. Rise to meet a challenge, don’t bring a misery mindset. I think we often mistake needing courage, confidence or self-esteem in order to try hard things. This feels backwards to me. We need to embrace a challenge and seek out difficult tasks to explore our own psychology and how we respond. Would I have the courage to take on fourth grade math, glitter slime, or the self-esteem for kitchen karaoke without it? I’m not sure I want to find out.
I spent the first seven years of my post-collegiate time in a job I really didn’t enjoy. And I knew it within days of starting. The fact that it took me almost a decade to pluck up the courage to leave probably tells you a lot about my personality. I do not like to make waves and I will suffer silently for long periods of time.
Cecilia is knee-deep in learning fractions and we’ve had the usual ups and downs. I’m trying to get her to understand the importance of asking questions. Sitting silently and suffering if you don’t know something is a huge waste of time. If you’re not asking questions, you’re probably not challenging yourself. Or, if you have all the answers, you are likely quite satisfied with yourself in your comfort zone. Neither is good.
Asking questions is a key part of learning a new skill and moving forward. I do not want them to be like me, too scared, shy or proud to ask for help and then suddenly look back at a huge swath of seven years of wasted time.