This week Cecilia created a set of flashcards to study for a social studies assessment. Not sure if I’m allowed to call it a test. Regardless, it might have been one of my proudest moments as a Dad and proof that the slow drip parenting method might pay off. I lived and breathed flash cards in school. If Michelle hasn’t found them yet and taken them to the transfer station, I’m sure there is at least one box of dog-eared index cards in the basement. I’ve been trying to get Ce to use them for years.
It would be nice if our kids just accepted our advice and could avoid all the pain and mistakes that led us to learn it in the first place but you quickly realize as a parent that this is not how it works. And, frustrating as it may be to watch them run head first into the wall, it’s probably for the best. To really learn, you have to really screw up. Best to do it when you’re young. A good parent lets them touch the hot stove. Rhetorically, of course.
But honestly, it would be easier if she had just made flash cards in the first place.
Sometimes you see yourself in your kids in the oddest ways. September brings school, soccer, hurricane season and, of course, the first school-borne viruses and colds. We woke up (early) Thursday morning to that dreaded barking seal cough echoing down the hallway. Even with the immunity armor of five years of day care, Ally still picked up a bug in her first few weeks of kindergarten. I suppose I should be relived it wasn’t measles or scarlet fever.
There’s a clear dichotomy in our family in how we respond to illnesses. Michelle flat out refuses to acknowledge she is sick. She has to collapse at 2 a.m. in the bathroom or be admitted to the ER before she might consider taking an aspirin. Being sick just doesn’t fit into her plans. Cecilia is much the same. Even if you witness her sneezing, she will adamantly refuse to admit she actually did. She’s only missed 3 days of school total so far.
I, on the other hand, treat any sniffle or throat tickle like a pending doomsday scenario. I start guzzling herbal tea and green smoothies by the quart as if I can drown the germs in hippie goodness and save myself. I’ll wrap myself in warm baths and comfy sweatpants. I’ll seriously consider going to bed by 4:30 if it will help me get better faster.
Allison takes after her Dad. She believes any dose of medicine is all the passkey to endless hours on the couch binging on Netflix, Saltines and popsicles. Who am I to disagree?
It can be tempting as parents to focus too much on those areas that need improvement in our children and lose sight of the forest for the trees. God knows, they often don’t make it easy. I found a unexpected reminder of this in Cecilia’s after-school program mailbox this week. [Note, it was dated 12/4, but maybe this was fate holding it for me until I needed it most].
This is an excerpt from the program’s “report card” for Cecilia: “Cecilia is extremely goofy. She loves to laugh and have fun. She has a sense of humor. Cecilia is attentive during group time, choice time and any other times at MAP where listening to directions is important. Cecilia always does the right thing. She is respectful to rules and MAP staff.”
Who is this child? I’d like to meet them! The child at home is not always the same as the child away from it. Or maybe they are and we just sometimes can’t see it through the coats on the floor, the messy rooms and the continuous battle over piano practice. I’m going to stick this piece of paper in a drawer and break it out on those occasions that I need a gentle reminder.
Or maybe I should keep it in my pocket? It might get daily use.