I feel I’m in a holding pattern, and it goes like this:
Get up. Get kids off to school. Walk. Shower. Work. Run errands. Get kids from school. Do chores and/or make kids do their chores. Supervise kids. Cook. Eat. Do the evening thing. Get kids tucked in. Watch television. Sleep.
Lather, rinse and repeat.
You’ll notice that nowhere on that list is anything like “worry about my boob,” “take a nap,” “misread various commercials in potentially confusing ways” (Aveeno lotion has soothing OAT essence, by the way… I would never recommend a lotion containing soothing CAT essence, but to each her own), or “get multiple Schoolhouse Rock earworms imbedded in my head.” But I’m a multitasker, so I often go above and beyond the approved schedule that way.
The girl child is working on a project, and it is going to make my brain explode.
Our school district does this thing called the Invention Convention, every year. In theory, it’s designed to get elementary-school kids interested in creative problem-solving and thinking outside the box. In actuality, it’s a Sisyphean parental exercise in trying to lead your offspring through a critical thinking process or at least CHRIST, SIT DOWN A MINUTE and PRETEND you’re working on this. Also, every time anyone says “Invention Convention,” it is your solemn duty to belt out a verse of “Conjunction Junction, What’s Your Function?”
Look; I don’t believe in parents doing their kids’ homework. Chickadee professed her intentions to participate in the Invention Convention last year, but greeted each of my queries about her project with a blank stare, and thus ended up not entering. It is not my job to do her project. If she can’t do it, there will be no project.
On the other hand, I’m not going to feed her to the sharks, either. When I first asked her what she wanted to do for her project? She answered, “I think it’d be cool if I could come up with a cure for cancer!”
How do you argue with that, really? I mean, it WOULD be cool.
But, ah, yes; I felt the need to perhaps just steer her a little in this process, sure. I (gently) pointed out that yes, a cure for cancer would be FABULOUS. But that such things are rarely whipped up by second graders, although IF a second grader was going to shatter that convention I was CERTAIN it would be HER, just as soon as she could master getting BOTH dirty socks into the hamper at once. But in the meantime, maybe we could just brainstorm some “problems” with current objects/tasks and some potential solutions.
The problems she wanted to tackle? She doesn’t like that she has to get up so early for school. Or that sometimes her brother looks at her. Or that she gets in trouble for mouthing off.
Okay, so, five hundred redirections later, we’d narrowed the field down to two different ideas. One that would’ve had a pretty easy solution (easy to conceptualize, easy to build) and one that would be fairly tricky. GUESS which one she decided she wanted to do? Go on, GUESS!
So, we went on an expedition to the craft store for supplies. And came home with our loot, and tried to figure out how to build what she needed to build. Most of her ideas require physics available only in the 5th dimension, or–alternately–body flexibility on the part of the user generally only found in members of Cirque du Soleil.
I spend a lot of my time trying to walk the fine line between “not doing the project for her” and “not wanting her to have multiple breakdowns when she discovers that what she wants to do can’t be done that way.” So we’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of trying to predict outcomes, and a lot of me saying “measure twice, cut once” which is totally lost on her but I can’t seem to stop saying it (and it seems a preferrable alternative to “I’m not spending another $20 on supplies so don’t waste these”).
Aaaaand a lot of her trying to wander off and watch television while “we” are working on her project. I then call for her and jab myself in the eye repeatedly until she comes back. We’re just having THE MOST FUN EVER.
But I am still looking forward to the Invention Convention (Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?) being over. Also? I’m just a bill, yeah I’m only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill….
But WAIT! There’s MORE! Extra special bonus Monkey footage, just for you!
The Big Project is taking up quite a bit of time, and while I TRY to give Monkey an equal amount of attention, the sad truth is that his sister is getting the lion’s share of my brainpower these days. All too often I am nodding and smiling and saying “Okay, honey” when I honestly have NO idea what he just said. (Oh, hush. Like you’ve never done that.)
Tonight, I was getting the water adjusted in the shower for him, and the fan was running in the bathroom (it’s sort of noisy), and Monkey’s MOUTH was running and mostly I was hearing “blah blah blah blah blah BLAH.” I leaned into the shower one more time to test the water, and pulled out from behind the curtain in time to hear Monkey say,
“blah blah BLAH blah blah your VAGINA!”
I stared at him, and he–unbothered at my reaction, and wiggling his naked tush in my general direction–continued putting his discarded clothing into the hamper.
“EXCUSE ME?” He turned around and met my gaze, eyes glinting and lips twitching. “WHAT did you just say about MY VAGINA??” His lips gave up the fight and his mouth spread into an angelic smile.
“I said, uh, your vagina IS PRETTY!” Ohhhh, butter wouldn’t have melted in the kid’s mouth. He was SO PLEASED with his fabrication in the face of imminent danger.
“You don’t… it’s not… you haven’t seen… GET IN THE SHOWER!” His cackles bounced off the tiles and muffled my own snorts and giggles. He’s going to make some nice girl very aggravated one day. I’m so proud.