It was Michelle’s birthday yesterday and I was thinking about time. And the lessons we can learn from kids and the lessons we can teach them.
Birthdays to the young are huge and momentous. They are anticipated and planned with all the focus and energy we wish they’d put into learning new math.
For parents, our birthdays are…maybe not as special. We’ve been through it all so many times before.
A parent’s relationship with time is different. Kids have such a limited sense of time. They can be arrogant about time just through sheer ignorance. But adults can also be too dismissive because we are just too comfortable.
Maybe we can help each other appreciate it. Not to wish away minutes in a rush to get older and not to simply let it slip from our grasp.
This was a better week. I decided to stop fighting it, lean in, and embrace the glitter. Actually, it was watercolors that led me to the realization that I had started creating rules for the wrong things. And those rules appeared to exist just to stress me out more.
The girls love any art project but they really love painting. I hate painting. It’s messy. It gets on their clothes. They don’t clean the brushes. They violate basic rules of color theory. Essentially, it’s inconvenient and tiring for me.
Why are all my rules negative? The world’s upside down right now so why not a rule about embracing the mess? Why not a rule encouraging their curiosity? Maybe more of those types of rules would help me relax. I could use a rule about more relaxing.
I’m not abandoning rules completely. That just leads to finding glitter in your bed or all the glue sticks being left uncapped. Rules can help with a lot of things. They’re important. But arbitrary rules made up for my own convenience…that just leads to (more) day drinking.
This is what my Dad-brain thinks about after marinating in a vacation week stew of trampoline parks, turnpike traffic jams, and puddle jumping…
Our kids like broccoli. We’ve trained them from an early age that a meal includes a fruit, a vegetable, and a main item. Most often they choose broccoli or edamame as the vegetable. This training, however has had an unintended consequence. They only like a very specific kind of broccoli. Microwaved frozen florets. The only thing worse is frozen cuts. Fresh broccoli or steamed broccoli or roasted broccoli might as well be a different thing altogether.
I’ve tried reasoning with them but you can guess how that went. I’m not sure why this bothers me. Feels like an insult to broccoli though.
Like I said, vacation week, Dad brain.
Sometimes you make a parental decision in the moment that seems innocuous but actually ends up having far-reaching consequences. You might turn on the ‘Cats’ cast recording as a joke one day in the car. You might let your oldest learn to tell time. You might let your youngest put on their own band-aids. Or you might let them watch one live-action Disney show. All terrible parenting decisions that continue to haunt us to this day.
Here’s one more. Seven years ago we included a rather distinctive ‘golden’ egg in our annual Easter egg hunt. When Ally came along, we couldn’t find a matching golden egg, so we added a silver one. We were nervous about swapping out the golden one and producing awkward questions about the Bunny’s operating procedure that might trickle down to other holidays.
Each year, that golden egg decision rises higher in our worst decisions rankings. They start talking about it soon after St. Patrick’s Day and the trash talking, scheming and strategy only grow more fevered throughout Lent. Who will find it? What will be in it? Where was it last year?
If only Cece put this much thought and effort into her multi-step math problems….