When I was growing up, 90% of my time and energy was spent on sports. The other ten percent was used up with SimCity strategies and reading sci-fi novels. But mostly it was sports. Any sport.
The girls have zero interest in sports, at least right now. Not even if it involves glitter. And that’s fine with me.
My life is better and richer now with musicals, bubblegum pop, trombone, dance recitals, and crafts.
Being a parent isn’t easy but a lot of it is common sense. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t try to give them your childhood. Don’t close your mind. Adjust.
There are many different kinds of pizza. Different doughs. Different toppings. But they are always squares or circles, right? What about rectangles? Narrow ones. I’ve been baking long, skinny Sicilian pies with Lloyd long pizza pans now since the end of January and my only regret is that I didn’t order more.
We had a little bit of friction this week over doing anything that smelled like school work while on spring break. Dad was for it. Ce was adamantly against it. It wasn’t every day. We traveled down to Philly to see the grandparents and I didn’t mention cell structures, prepositions, or the distributive property. But when we came back and they spent the first three hours of the day in front of the TV? It started to bother me.
Was I being too strict? Overbearing? Not letting them be kids? Maybe. But I also believe we are what we repeatedly do. And we were talking 30-ish minutes of work, not three hours. About the same amount of time they typically spend debating what tin of putty to play with while watching TV. Or the the equivalent amount of time they spend eye-rolling and belly-aching over my requests.
One of my jobs is to help the girls realize that being excellent at anything doesn’t just happen. It’s a combination of little things and big things. And it mostly comes from the monotonous day-to-day choices we make until little actions become habits. They will, fingers crossed, realize who they are by what they do.
Until then, they are going to hear it from me. Repeatedly.
It’s been a week and I’m still thinking about the paradox of struggle. As parents we know there is no growth without struggle. And yet…
It’s logical and illogical at the same time. It’s the Chinese finger trap of parenting. No parent would ever wish pain on their children. Not if they could prevent it.
And yet… we know that suffering in life is inevitable, and in many cases, more beneficial than helping them avoid it in developing successful, well-adjusted kids.
I think how parents ultimately navigate and resolve this paradox defines their success or failure. Do I help her spell that word? Do I chase down the bus with her forgotten trombone mouthpiece? Do I make them pick up all the spilled glitter with their teeth or just some of it?
What struggles do we save them from? What struggles do we encourage them to fight through?
I need to keep them safe but not sheltered. Teach, but not help them dodge failure. This parenting gig is not easy. Neither is getting through January without wine and cheese.
Being your own family’s best friend is reinforcing the centuries old wisdom in the Stoic quote ‘moderation in all things.’ The best of intentions can turn sour when the volume is turned up too high. Even love, generosity, and affection. We are trying our best to give both kids the space they need to continue to grow. This might mean (often) biting our tongue over their study habits. Or missing an assignment. Or misinterpreting the answer Alexa is clearly feeding them.
It’s one of parenting’s more difficult tasks to willingly let your kids struggle especially if you have the answer or experience to correct them. Always giving them everything in the moment is a recipe for a long term disaster.
Always make sure they know you love them, of course, but no need to be in their hip pocket all the time. You don’t need to learn the facts about ancient Sumeria with them. They know you care about them.
Care about he kids, not the ancient city of Ur. They had their own family problems.
We’ve been lucky, in one sense, during this pandemic that both Michelle and I like to cook, but we hit a wall this week. Through convenience or curiosity, we gave up and just threw everything in the borrowed air fryer. It became a challenge by the end of the week.
Here’s the list of things we loaded up and answered the question: “Will it air fry?”
Chickpeas (perfect and crunchy), pickles (eh), grilled cheese (yup), apple fritters (so good), salmon and broccoli together (yes, excellent sheet pan-style dinner), arancinis (italian riceball croquettes – pretty good), chicken nuggets (duh), tofu (not bad), fries (of course), sweet potatoes (double cooked worked best), s’mores (surprisingly good), tots (made for this), burritos, Brussel sprouts, chicken tenders, and cod.
You do what you got to do to get through 2020.
We are getting close to the first hard frost (we had a few mild frosts the past week) here in the Northeast and that will mostly put an end to my home garden. While the basil is mostly past peak, I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping it trimmed. It hasn’t all gone to flowers and there are still plenty of leaves that will need to be cut and used.
One great way to use up a lot of excess basil? Make pesto. Sure, you can use it for pasta but did you know both red and green pesto sauces also work great on pizza?