Some days are not excellent, like when your toddler bites another child, or when you find out that your child’s pants are (metaphorically) on fire, or the many times I’ve lost my temper or noticed that my kids have watched way too much tv today.
But, folks, I’ve been putting some Ws in the column, so I need to share.
Yesterday, M was looking for soccer shorts. She’s actually pretty good at this stuff, but she had been looking for a while when I stepped in to help her. She was getting a bit stressed out, because she’d need the shorts for this week’s tournament. So after thanking me for helping her, she started pointing out ways in which my attempts at helpfulness were pointless. For example, I started looking through her soccer backpack, unzipping compartment after compartment.
“Don’t look there!” she said.
“It’s worth a shot. That’s where I found your missing shin guards, remember?” I answered.
“But those are shin guards! I always take them off! But I would never just pull off my shorts and–”
She stopped mid-sentence as I triumphantly pulled out a crumpled pair of shorts.
Being M, she snatched them out of my hands and said, “Mom! Look at the shorts I just found!”
I told her that she was both awesome and brilliant.
J likes an impeccable report card, and there was a subject in which not perfection was not achieved. There was quite a bit of weeping. The teacher’s comments, to me, implied parental neglect. I secretly made an appointment with the teacher, expecting it to be painful. I was going to sneak in like a ninja to avoid causing anxious J more stress.
On the contrary. The grading system doesn’t coincide well with how the teacher runs the class, I was told. We’re doing exactly the right thing, I was told. J had started the class strong and had improved significantly, I was told. That one issue has been resolved, I was told. At some point, I started taking notes so that I could report the numbers and quotations to J to buck her up.
Several hours later, J confronted me. She’d seen me meeting with the teacher, and she was worried and embarrassed and angry at me for sneaking around. “What happened?!?” she demanded. I explained that I knew she’d fret if she knew about the conference, and I wanted to wait until I knew what was happening so that we could go through it all at once. Then I told her that it went great, and I pulled out my pages of notes and tried to start from the beginning. But she was already crying. I skipped ahead to the test scores. I showed her how well she’d done last year. “And then I did bad!” she interrupted. No, she’d done better in the fall. And with her most recent scores–“I went down!” she wailed. No. She’d managed to go up again. Really? She finally started to believe me, and I reviewed my notes from the beginning. She asked me if she could hang the notes up in her room.
But even better, a little while later she found me at the computer and gave me a long, hard hug. “Thank you for going to talk to the teacher. And thank you for not telling me that you were going to talk to the teacher.”
But wait, there’s more. The other day, M heard that I was at Target, and she asked, “Oh, Mom, will you please get me some Spandex for under my soccer shorts?” As soon as she requested it, I knew just what she needed. This outdoor tournament was coming up, and it was going to be cold, cold, cold. She had one decent pair of ankle-length leggings to help keep her legs warm, but with multiple games over two days, she totally needed a second pair. I agreed and grabbed a selection.
When I got home, she jumped up happily, then her face transformed into the special kind of brilliantly WTF face that you can only produce if you are going through puberty or menopause. “But, Mom, I asked for Spandex! I mean, thanks and good effort and all that, but I didn’t mean this; I meant Spandex. I need Spandex.” There was some back and forth in which I clarified that Spandex is the brand name of a synthetic material, not the name of a piece of clothing, like “vest” or “shorts.” She had had, in her mind, the kind of biker shorts-style shorts whose main function, for soccer players, is to conceal any vague impression of underwear, which can show through white uniform shorts. Which, okay, yes: I understand. She could use a pair. But playing outdoors in April, didn’t she want long ones, anyway? She grudgingly conceded that these would work out for the tournament.
And then, a little later, she said, “You know, I think it’s lucky that you misunderstood me, because long Spandex will work better this weekend. So, thank you.”
I’m also feeling like a winner now that we’re finally refusing the NY State tests. I’ve been railing about them for a while now, and I’ve been feeling guilty and hypocritical that we were doing them, anyway. Now that I’ve finally made the decision, it feels good. Come on, people! Join me! You can do it.
And finally, I feel like we’re winning something this weekend, because J and I are on a special assignment, reviewing LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester. I’ll have a complete review available on KidsOutAndAbout.com soon. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it!