Sun is out. Feel like I’m coming out of a strange fugue state. Could be all the leaf blower fumes or it could be…you know. If I ever get this posted, it will represent perhaps my biggest accomplishment this week. There was a lot of vacuuming and anxiety baking but little else this week. We tried to balance keeping the kids informed about what was happening and keeping our own sanity. It was like trying to tap dance on a single piece of glitter. It was exhausting.
The kids had a lot of questions. We did our best to answer them and not just let Alexa do the parenting. She is great at pretending to be ignorant and deflecting. It was interesting to try to distill down an answer and a viewpoint on a complex topic to something that both kids could understand. I think the debates could have been a lot more useful if they were held in front of a cafeteria of elementary school kids and the candidates had to do the same thing.
Enough politics, on to the couch and transfer station news.
While I’ll admit I’m still figuring out this parenting thing, I have been around for awhile. I’ve seen a few things. Maybe learned a few, too. I typically crush Alexa’s question of the day at dinner. So when the girls have questions, I’m usually pretty quick with the answers unless it deals with show tunes, classic Saved by the Bell episodes, or carpentry. Then I tell them to ask their mother.
But what if this font of knowledge built on flash cards and rote learning was actually a bad habit?
Cecilia finally made it to long division this week and I couldn’t have been happier. It was like slipping into a warm bath with a good book. Or a pit of vipers. She hated it. She liked her old (i.e., new) way of doing it. I wanted to tell her she was nuts. One hundred years and countless nuns could not teach math any better. This new math was a touchy-feely fad. Trust me, I’ve been around.
I didn’t say that. Instead, I had her teach me the new way again. I didn’t find it better or worse. Just different. And we discovered that together. If you always have the answer, you aren’t learning.
So just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, it actually has me rethinking new math. Clearly, the glitter is going to my head.
The girls made a cake this week. On one hand…no glitter. On the other…so, so many questions. I had to work really hard (and wasn’t always successful) to not shut them down or freak out that they didn’t know to take out the butter and eggs hours earlier. Room temperature doesn’t happen by accident, kids! I took a deep breath, suppressed a shudder when they almost used salted butter in the recipe, and let them ask.
This is what I wanted as a parent. Not only do I want to teach them there are no stupid questions, but to go further, and understand you only become smarter by asking questions. Asking questions should be a lifelong process. Too many adults stop asking questions. Curiosity doesn’t kill us. It shouldn’t embarrass us. It should makes us better. All learning starts with admitting your ignorance.
So, I swallowed down the abhorrence at the thought of using unsifted flour in a baked good and was thankful I was raising ‘why’ childs.
We received another email survey about school re-opening from the superintendent this week. I dutifully opened it, read it, and then just as quickly closed it. My brain just shut down. Michelle and I have been debating our answers for the last four days. There’s no simple, easy, or right answer to the school question.
It was a stark reminder that being a parent is the hardest job. No training. No pay. Responsibilities that are never easily defined and always changing. So what do you do? I have no idea and that’s also parenting. The best you can do is be adaptable. Be ready to respond to a an unending, ever-changing flow of complicated circumstances. And keep the wine fridge stocked.
Jan really didn’t get to do much in this week’s episode and, according to Amazon, my copy of 1,001 More Glitter Jokes won’t arrive until late May so I am fresh out of material and turning over the Saturday post to Michelle this week. I’m sure she’ll continue to reinforce the perception that our house constantly smells like fresh bread with micro-climates of rainbows and kids conjugating verbs in ancient Greek.
Someone at work this week told me that the pandemic experience is like being on a red eye flight where you lose your sense of time, you can’t sleep, your seat doesn’t recline back, and there’s occasional bouts of stomach-dropping turbulence.
This week was difficult for me. There were tough decisions to make at work, the official announcement that the kids would not be returning to school came out, the rapid pace and constant engagement had me feeling exhausted, sad, and overwhelmed.
Those of you who know me, know this is NOT my normal disposition, but this week it all caught up to me.
So what did I do? I went to bed early and woke up and went back at it the next morning. I know the family pokes fun of me for never being able to be still, but I feel best when I am engaged and know my purpose.
We may not ever fully understand the “purpose” of this pandemic, but I know my role with my family, with work, with myself and that is what keeps me going.
All that and the arrival of Saturday. We all know our roles on Saturday…