I’ll Never Homeschool, My Kids are Fine, & Other Parenting Certainties That Have Gone Toe Up

When I tell you that I had no intentions of entering my family into any form of homeschool whatsoever, I feel like this is basically the understatement of the century. Not only was I not planning on taking them out of public school, but I was fiercely against it. A handful of the reasons for that unwavering conviction (***unwavering until it utterly crashed and burned) are listed below. Feel free to raise your hand if any of these sound familiar. Also please note that I can’t see your hand, so maybe pretend like you are waving to someone across the room so you don’t look like a total weirdo randomly raising a hand.

I’ll never homeschool because…

  • Public school reflects reality.
  • For the most part, our children make good grades and are being taught the appropriate curriculum in our schools.
  • We like our teachers and the school administration, we don’t have problems with any specific families or kids, and we are zoned to one of the best districts and schools in the state.
  • Children need social interaction with their peers, and hanging with a sibling 24 hours a day simply doesn’t cut it.
  • We cannot put each child in a bubble, and pulling them out of regular school is a futile attempt to avoid conflict that they will face in reality.
  • Every school has issues so why would I want to pay money for different issues?
  • Although we are a family of faith, we do not concur with highly conservative or fundamentalist views and do not want the individual beliefs of others pushed on our children.
  • I work full-time, so even if I wanted to homeschool (which I don’t), that would be impossible.
  • I have zero patience and the news would surely be at my home within days if we were to homeschool.
  • We just aren’t the homeschool type. I don’t eat granola, my kids don’t look like they recently escaped the set of ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ and F bombs are an integral part of my classy speech pattern. Public school is so our bag baby.

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For our individual family, it feels like these are seriously solid arguments against homeschool. As I said before, never gonna happen.

But there’s a seriously funny thing about using the word “never” with regard to anything in the Parentiverse. You unwittingly use the word “never” with absolute conviction in a sentence about something pertaining to choices you will or won’t make for your children. The Universe (God / Jesus / Your Preferred Divine Name Here) then catalogs those words, laughs hysterically, and proceeds to turn your world inside out just for the sake of proving you 110% wrong.

In addition to the “never homeschool” beatdown I would one day (a.k.a. now) receive, I would also be getting a bonus gift that would simultaneously lead to my eating the words below.

My kids are fine. I know this because…

  • They look happy and don’t seem upset.
  • They actually want to go to school (In truth, that one still weirds me out, but my kids have always been such complete nerdzillas.).
  • Their teachers don’t complain about their behavior to us.
  • They are in advanced classes, perform very well on average on their grades, and always score solidly on the state standardized tests (STAAR – the state standardized assessment tests that I have loathed with a fiery passion since we first experienced them several years ago).
  • If they had problems in school, we would recognize it because we are a close-knit family.

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The two sets of bullet points above have been covered in extensive detail during countless conversations with my husband, family, and friends over the years. Even as my spouse and I watched our children’s individual learning gaps yawn wider and wider with every semester that passed, we couldn’t fathom how a non-traditional program could possibly fit into our lives nor did we want to go that route. We agreed that it would never happen.

Apparently I have been using the word “never” a little too emphatically because God has since felt the need to put me on the fast track in order to change my mind. Here are some of the gems that we never saw coming that we have discovered firsthand over the past two weeks.

I’m so sorry that I didn’t realize years ago that...

There is zero emphasis on fast facts. Seeing teenagers count on their fingers is painfully commonplace. I’m not being facetious. They literally count on their fingers. Education has shifted basic mathematical teaching to a utilization of various techniques that attempt to optimize every potential learning style. The problem is that the kids don’t have enough time to get really good at any single style, so they never get the most basic of foundations for any concept. Fast facts aren’t engrained in their base mathematical learning, and this dramatically impacts their ability to solve complex equations with any level of accuracy or speed.

As an example, I watched my genuinely brilliant daughter solve very complex equations this week. Unfortunately these equations took her an excruciating amount of time due to all of the micro-calculations one would expect to be automatic by that point in her educational experience. When I say micro-calculation, I mean something incredibly basic like 4×5. A student at her advanced level should easily be able to recognize that 4 x 5 = 20, right? Well I absolutely assumed so, but I watched my daughter repeatedly solve basic problems like this… 4 x 5 = 4+4 = 8 so 8+4 =12 so 12+4 = 16 so 16+4 = 20. This is not unusual for children in modern middle school (a.k.a. junior high school), but it is absolutely bonkers. Unbelievably, I came to the terrible realization that we needed to reintroduce the same flashcards that we once studied when our children were in 2nd and 3rd grade.

Although we found that our other kid could easily recite fast facts, we also discovered that he actually forgot how to solve 99% of the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems at his level without a calculator. Full access to calculators has been a standard in his classes for years. I agree that calculators are fab, but unless you are solving something extremely complicated or inhumanly possible, one should still understand how to solve those same problems via pencil and paper. Sadly, we are now working on reteaching him his entire last three years of math once more. Three. Years. He will get it again at a fast clip, but the truth is that he should already have it given the grades he achieved in those classes.

And then you have the nightmare that is composition. The kids don’t study grammar much (if at all) and consequently can’t write sentences correctly. They don’t capitalize words properly, and they don’t use punctuation. If they do use punctuation, it often appears in the most bizarre of places. One of my older children wrote a paragraph for me a couple of days ago that literally started with a comma. The comma was intentionally written before all of the words. Despite my obvious head explosion at the sight of such horror, she has since pulled this wild punctuation move multiple times (because apparently she has been doing this for quite some time). In. Sane.

Another fun note is that while I feel strongly that one is permitted to have moderate to severe crap penmanship, you still need to be able to read and write your own name with a real live signature. I don’t care if the rest of your class jumps off the block letter bridge. You aren’t in kindergarten and should therefore be able to sign your name like a big boy / big girl / adult. Countless young adults are graduating high school and college with honors yet they can neither read or write cursive nor can they sign their names with a genuine signature. I am waiting to see someone put an X on a piece of paper. When that happens, you will hear my scream of horror from whatever corner of the globe you happen to inhabit.

Don’t even get me started on spelling speling spellyng because it has gone the way of the dodo doedoe doughdough. It’s Crap Central, and wow that’s seriously not okay.

An unexpected fun game I introduced to the kids was “Can You Figure Out How the Dictionary Works?” Spoiler alert – they couldn’t. My brain almost popped out of my head watching my daughter attempt to interpret the apparent hieroglyphics that systematically covered the pages of the new Webster’s Dictionary I recently purchased for this event. I bought the book in yet another attempt to back the kids off technology. Sometimes they need to look up words, but we have always used apps or the internet. I had no clue what a mind scrambler I was handing my poor child, but she was fascinated to discover the hidden code (know to the seasoned few as “alphabetical order”). It feels like they are so dependent on technology that they have lost what should be an innate ability to problem solve, to recognize patterns, and to seek alternate possibilities.

Our children are extremely intelligent and should be able to do so much more than what I have seen over the past two weeks. Thank heavens that my husband and I still have time to break this disturbing and debilitating pattern that is afflicting our children, and we will do whatever we have to to make this change. We have to figure this out for their sake. I refuse to raise meatheads.

Each new discovery of the past two weeks has left me feeling more and more guilty. It has made me question my parenting and forced me to ask myself how I could have possibly missed so much. Thankfully I was sharing those feelings with a kind friend of mine, and her response was exactly what I needed to hear. “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What a gem of a comment and a beautiful soul! (The biggest hugs go out to you Lynda!)

She was right. Had we known, we would have done something differently. Maybe we wouldn’t have opted for homeschool, but perhaps we would have supplemented their educations. It’s spilt milk now (buckets and buckets of it but over and done nonetheless). Thankfully, we know now.

Although I know that we are on a completely new path, I still can’t tell you how all of this will work. I have no doubt that I will have plenty of mom fails in this arena, too. I feel like that’s kinda my special skill, but then again, it’s just how is goes in the magically imperfect world of parenting. However, we always continue to learn, and ideally, we do our best to help all of our little loves do the same as well.

I pray that your littles are happy and well and that they are receiving the best education that they can get. I hope that you are having better luck with regard to being able to help and coach them in that journey. And if you are experiencing anything close to what we are seeing, I want you to know that you aren’t the only one. I’m here if you need to know that you aren’t alone, and I sincerely believe that you can make anything happen if you can be brave and release the fear. We’ve got this, and the One who sees it all has got us. ❤️

Parenting is so easy, right?!? (…said no one ever) 😉

Best wishes to all of you. Jo

So I Just Waxed My Daughter’s Leg

Not legs. Leg. And not even the whole leg. It was basically half of a leg.

There’s a reason why “Wax a Leg” has yet to hit the Top Things to do in Houston or Anywhere Else on the Planet list this year, and that reason is this. It sucks. Big frickin’ time. Nevertheless this was one of the more significant dicey parenting choices that I selected for today.

Although I will remain perpetually baffled at God’s decision to have me personally bake and subsequently care for three small humans of my own, I do try to make the best decisions I can for those miniature people. The issue is that the term “best decision” has proven to be a severely grey area that is frequently clear as mud until said decision has either proven to be a good one or a mega crapfest of a choice. The jury is still out on the hair removal du jour, but here’s the story at this point.

When a girl begins to bloom into the beauty of becoming a woman… Blech! Did you just throw up in your mouth a little, too? Who talks like that? (Way too many tampon commercials – that’s who.) Allow me to try this again.

There is no blooming occurring. The issue is simply this – my kid has furry legs, and she is too old to look like she is actively playing the role of Mr. Tumnus, the friendly faun from Narnia. Being a southern girl myself, I’m of the belief that if you are to the point in your life where you need a bra and deodorant, it’s time for your legs to exit the wolf pack.

I seriously contemplated teaching her how to shave, but the idea of handing a razor to my kid sounded good NEVER. Admittedly it’s a quicker approach on a single session basis, but shaving is never a single session anything. It is a commitment to a daily(ish) dance with a blade sliding around one’s knees, backs of legs, and whatever other south of the border action in need of landscaping. Without a doubt, waxing hurts hard core at first, but anyone who has gone that route multiple times will confirm that it gets much better. In addition you have to wax once a month maybe. The pain of waxing decreases dramatically, but that accidental slice of the razor never fades in the slightest. Depilatory creams stink to high heaven, and laser hair removal is crazy expensive and also quite painful.

I really did give the various alternatives extensive thought before initiating the world’s crappiest mother / daughter spa session. Ultimately, I felt like a couple of distinctly unfun bouts of waxing would far outweigh future winter leg fuzz so bristly that wire brushes would feel envious as well as the countless accidental razor slices in the years to come. Sadly (but not surprisingly), my preemptive evaluations were neither here nor there to my poor little she-wolf cub.

Naturally she loved all ten thousand swipes that jerked countless hairs out of each square millimeter of skin, and she heartily requested that I please just beat her in a burlap sack for our next girls’ only event. Because we were enjoying that special time together so much, we opted to hold off on de-furring the remaining thigh and entire other leg (because we ran out of wax and it was too effing stressful to even consider tackling lamb shank # 2).

So now I have a tweenager that has one lady leg and one puppy paw. My poor kid. Incredibly she is still speaking to me, and even more incredibly, we actually plan to finish both legs whenever the additional wax arrives.

Did I make the best choice on her behalf? I have no freaking clue. As I said, this is a long game approach, so only time will tell. I do have another daughter waiting in the wings, so maybe we will test run shaving on her when the time comes. Whichever teenager requires less therapy will win, and we can then inform the other she-wolf cubs accordingly. Based on this post, I am confident that ample therapy will be involved for all family members discussed herein, so perhaps we should consider devising an alternate evaluation system for best leg hair removal practices.

I’m not asking for anyone’s blessing on this. We all fly the parenting dysfunction flag in our own magical way, so no one else has to agree. In fact, you are welcome to judge me. I get it. Really. Try though you might, nobody in the world judges my parenting with greater severity than I do. But I draw the line at furry bra-less daughters with that naturally fresh scent of b.o. that burns all surrounding nose hairs. I just wish that there was a less painful alternative for all parties involved. Being a woman is rough stuff, and the coming of age crap we deal with is not for the faint of heart (or leg). Thankfully, my daughter is quite feisty (probably learned behavior from all that time with the wolves) and can survive anything that heads her way – even her own mom.

Bear hugs to all.  Jo

***My daughter is a total bad ass and actually handled today with tremendous bravery. In truth, we discussed the plan before we began. Of course talking about the discomfort of waxing in no way prepares anyone for the reality of experiencing the “discomfort” of waxing. Regardless she handled it so much better than I could have ever expected. That kid is a rockstar, and I adore her beyond words – fuzz and all.  😉

May I Have This Dance? (NO!)

IMG_20170720_183919_01

Hey sweet thang…why don’t you come over here and have a seat by me…

While hanging out at my parents’ house today, my daughter went up to my mom to tell her how amused she was with their dog.  My daughter’s exact words were,  “He’s so funny!  He hugged me around my leg, and then he started dancing up and down!”

Oh.  Em.  Gee.

And she wasn’t kidding.  Between this today and the Dominatrix Barbie avatar scene from yesterday, this kid is killing me.

Don’t Eber Eber Worry About Lyrics

 

 

Here is my sunshine tidbit who cleared away my grey skies a couple of days ago via her own unique version of a song (that apparently came equipped with a seriously distracting microphone / flashlight).  It is a well-known fact that two-year olds have a long-standing contractual clause against continuing to do anything and everything you ask once they suspect that it’s something you actually want to film. They never eber eber cooperate. I’m so glad that this little one made an exception this time. 🙂

***Thank you Taylor Swift for giving us this brilliant sassy song!

Movies – The Terminator – How to Kill a Cyborg & a Classic at the Same Time (Day 18)

Who among us doesn’t think the words “family film” when remembering The Terminator.  Everyone you say?  Well there’s a reason for that, but it’s not the one you think.

Many would assume that this movie has yet to solidify it’s slot in the family film genre solely based on heavy violence, adult language, and visible nip / hiney action.  While those elements do have merit, I have no doubt that the key determining factor that ultimately locked up the R rating designation was that the movie makers had pre-teen / young teen kids of their own and knew that those almost adult humans would ask ten thousand questions during the whole film thus driving the surrounding full adults insane if they were allowed into the theater.

For other parents reading this, I have a few comments I would like to share.  First of all, my husband fell on his sword and hung out with our tidbit kid in the other room as she watched a painfully bad kid cartoon.  I have reached max capacity on my cartoon swine viewing limit and have determined that life is too uncertain to spend one more second of it with that freakin’ pig.  Take Peppa back England!!!

So it was just the bigs (the older kids) and me watching The Terminator.  Once again take a deep breath judgy parental pants because we are actually pretty strict on what we let our kids see.  There is a high lame factor present on their shows.  However the Terminator and Alien were the first R rated films my parents let me see two hundred years ago, I didn’t die or go on a killing spree (yet…), and I am following the tradition.  These movies are kind of like R light.

I don’t sweat some bad language here and there.  Although my husband and I weave in and out of our own personal mine field of F bombs, we are careful to keep the verbal arsenal under lockdown until the kids aren’t around.  But these kids do go to school with lots of other kids, and we recognize that they hear the words daily.  I’m not indifferent to it, but there comes a point as a parent when you have to wake up and smell the fochaccino.  I think of it like someone talking smack about me behind my back.  If I never catch them, then I don’t know and I will remain peacefully oblivious.  But if I do…

Watch.  Your.  Back.

On the sexuality front(al), my kids know where babies come from (adult humans obviously pollinate), but we still steer them away from anything super steamy or laced with heavy innuendo.  I had already seen the movie multiple times before and therefore knew when the film was going to get all nudey booty.  Miraculously there just happened to be freshly baked cookies exiting the oven in the kitchen at the same time!  It was as if a mystical force knew what was about to happen and planned it that way.  And by mystical force, I mean me.

As for the violence, The Terminator was hard core violent in it’s day.  However it would barely scratch a PG-13 rating nowadays.  So that’s the dish.  If you are still annoyed, why are you continuing to read this?  Look away!

And now, after all that, I’m going to give you a small sense of what it was like to watch this action classic with them.  I will walk through the key scenes of the film, but this will be done via telling you the questions they asked  me and the answers I gave in return.  I’m only going to share a teeny fraction of these as I don’t have the patience to type them all, and the internet isn’t big enough to encompass that much data anyway.  This is a novella of a post, but I want to document this now.  I need to know exactly what to teach my grandchildren to say as payback years down the road.

***Spoiler alert – If you haven’t seen this movie, what is up with that?  Also I will be loosely telling the tale, but I’m absolutely going to ruin the whole thing for you if you keep reading.  Given that this is exactly what my kids did to this movie for me, it only seems fair.***

I didn’t write that text.  It was part of the shot.

(Opening scene – intro shot)

KID 1 – Is this in the future?
ME – It says 2029 A.D. on the screen.  You know what that means.
KID 1 – So yes?
ME – Seriously?
KID 1 – So yes?
MY HUSBAND (We are one minute into the movie yet he clearly can’t take it anymore and thus sticks his head around the corner) – It’s 2017 now!  Yes – it’s in the future!!!

(Fast forward to present day which happens to be the 1980s at that point – naked Arnold a.k.a the Terminator appears, flashes his hiney, and goes on the hunt for some threads)

Because of course Arnold would definitely wear the same size clothes as any of these string beans.

KID 2 – Where are his clothes?
ME – He’s from the future.  I guess he lost them in time travel.
KID 2 – They don’t wear clothes in the future?
ME – I can’t go into the delicate nature of time travel right now.  Please just watch the movie.
KID 2 – But he’s from the future?
ME – Yes.
KID 2 – Why is he there?
ME – Please just watch.

(Other naked guy soon to be known as Kyle Reese appears)

And in another lucky happenstance, he meets a homeless guy with perfect sized pants just waiting to be stolen – praise be!

KID 1 – Another naked guy?  Is he from the future, too?
ME – Yes.
KID 1 – Are there going to be more naked future people?
ME – No.
KID 2 – So he’s from the future?
ME – I just said that he’s from the future.
KID 2 – But why doesn’t he have clothes.
(Beats the heck out of me kid but I will say anything to make this stop.)
ME – They burn up in time travel.
Kid 2 – Oh….

(***Addendum to post – My husband read this entry after I wrote it.  He said that they explain in the movie that you can’t take anything with you when you time travel, so that’s why they are sans underoos.  I probably would have heard this explanation as well had I been watching it in a kid-free zone.)

(Both men have donned their totally tubular 80s fashion, and it’s time to search for Sarah Connor.  Lucky for Sarah, she is already fully integrated into the 80s look as can be evidenced by that hair.)

And this, kids, is what we call the feathered look.

KID 2 – Is she from the future?
ME – No.
KID 2 – But he is from the future?
ME – … (staring blankly and locking the words from my mind in my mouth)

Hey baby. You come here often??

(More movie stuff as the Terminator methodically tracks down every Sarah Connor he can find in the phone book and pops a cap as needed.  Meanwhile I get to explain the mysterious “phone book” concept to my kids, and their reaction is one of shock, awe, and palpable embarrassment for all that once was.  More movie stuff.  We see Kyle Reese is also Desperately Seeking Sarah.)

KID 2 – Why are they looking for her?

(Kid 2 broke me at last.  I could no longer endure the endless questions while I waited for her to see what was going to happen.)

ME – Okaaaay so the big guy is a dangerous robot from the future who is trying to kill that lady.  The other guy is trying to save her.  In the future, the robots take over the planet.  She will have a kid that will help save the humans.  The big robot guy goes back in time to try to kill her before that happens, and the other guy is trying to stop him.
KID 1 & 2 – He’s a robot!?!?
ME – Yes.
KID 2 (in regard to Arnold on screen) – Is he a robot?
ME – Yes.
KID 2 (in regard to Kyle Reese) – Is he a robot?
ME – No.
KID 2 (every few seconds for the next 15 minutes whenever any guy appears on the screen) – Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?  Is he a robot?
ME (in response back every few seconds) – Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.  Stop asking.  Pleeeaaase.  I’m begging you.

(Fight scene in club.)

Watch me whip…Now watch me nae nae…

Excuse me but did you just pull a “stop short” move?

(Escape.  Car chase.  Escape.)

I’ve got my eye on you!

(I’m not even going to begin to run through the eyeball removal questions. Needless to say, there were no further inquiries regarding the Terminator’s robot status after that.)

I’LL BE BACK

(A few minutes later, Arnold delivered his famous “I’ll be back” line.  I explained the significance to the kids.  Now the only people who have used the words “I’ll be back” more than Arnold would be my children. Throughout the rest of the film. End. Less. Ly.)

Used homeless guy sweatpants AND a tie-dyed top? Save some sexy for the rest of us!

(More escaping amidst many more painful questions.  Sarah and Reese hideout in a swanky roach motel.  As he starts to reach for her cookies, the timer goes off and we head to the kitchen for a few minutes to get ours.)

(We return from our brief cookie hiatus to find the couple running from the Terminator yet again.  I run through the “robot from future going after girl from present as guy from future attempts to save her” dynamic for the twentieth time.)

(More running…  More escaping…  More running…)

KID 2 – Is he ever going to die?
(Seconds later)
KID 2 (again) – He’s never going to die.

(At least she asked and answered both parts of that one.)

(Cue the countless “why won’t this thing die already” scenes.)

Arnold had to lose a lot of weight for these last few scenes.

KID 1 – What!?!?
KID 2 – I toooold you.

(More running and then we enter the factory with other big machines.  The irony hangs out just waiting to do its part.)

Don’t leave me future sweatpants guy!

(Kyle kicks the bucket in a last ditch effort to blow up the cyborg.  Fail!  Half a cyborg body remains and drags it’s torso after Sarah.  Since captain sweatpants didn’t finish the job and managed to leave her with shrapnel in her leg (as well as one other parting gift she won’t soon forget), she can’t run and therefore crawls away in turn.  She pulls herself through a huge machine clearly used to press large somethings (I believe that mechanical engineers refer to these giant pieces of industrial equipment as “those really big thingies that smoosh other not quite as big but still really big thingies.”).

KID 1 & 2 – Noooo!
KID 1 – Oh come ooooon.
KID 2 – Oh yeah.  She’s gonna smash him!

(Sarah climbs out of the mega smoosher.  As the torso of the cyborg reaches toward Sarah, she pushes her body back from his clawing hand.  She desperately feels (blindly) around a wall (that she cannot see at all in the slightest) because that’s (naturally what you do when you are terrified out of your mind and have access to a massive piece of industrial machinery that only two people on the planet have a clue how to use and that’s) where she locates…

My bet is that he was just trying to style her bangs differently.

…and presses the button.  The smoosher smooshes away the last of his scrappiness.)

(Get it?  Because he is now scrap metal and before he was scrappy.  <— This is what it would have been like if we had watched a comedy instead.  Nothing says humor quite like a five minute joke explanation to break out why a two second line is funny.)

KID 1 – That hand is gonna be like Thing from The Adams Family.
KID 2 – Yay!
KID 1 – So there is no more future now?
ME – … (dead pan stare as my jaw hangs slack)  (I had explained it too many times already.  Here we were at the very end, and they still missed the whole damn story.)

(Final scene – a few months down the road)

KID 2 – She has a doggie!
KID 1 – Awww.  Wait.  Why is she pregnant?
ME – Hmmm.  I don’t know, but the movie is over.  Who wants the last of the cookies?

Seriously?

1497269925242Because clearly that’s all the next person would need.  Not okay.

And that’s the reason for the lesson on volume my kid just received.

***MoJo***


The Trash Can Band

On average, my kids tend to be relatively happy when I pick them up from school (perhaps because they are leaving school), but every now and then, they have something extra exciting to share, and I can see it in their eyes before they even open the car door.  A couple of days ago, I saw that very look on my daughter’s face.  She jumped into the car with a massive grin so big it would have made the Joker envious.  I thought maybe it was Free Kitten Day at school, but of course that wasn’t happening until next week.  And then she revealed the big news. “Mom!  I got into the Trash Can Band!”

Naturally, I burst into laughter.  It was my instant reaction, and of course anything that makes her that happy makes me extra happy (excluding cutting her own hair or shirt, indoor basketball / indoor moon sand, and that time they got the sock stuck on a window ledge fifteen feet high).  I wasn’t trying to make fun of her or step on her feelings, but her smile disappeared and twisted into a hurt grimace in an instant. My heart broke when I saw her face fall.

Far be it from me to recognize that the best way to improve an initial misunderstanding is to go with a different approach, so I dug myself further into the emotional rabbit hole.  I went for levity yet again – my go to defense mechanism when it comes to diffusing an uncomfortable situation. I explained that I wasn’t teasing her by laughing, but I hadn’t been aware of her love of the trash can musical arts.  To the surprise of no one in the universe, she became angrier and it devolved from there.  I switched to overt and clear validation of the “Well that’s so exciting!” and “I’m so proud of you!” genre, but she had already tuned me out and the moment – the joyful happy “I can’t wait share this with my mom” moment – was gone.

Kids are like rubber balls that bounce right back.  She was onto a different topic and back to normal before our car had even made it back home.  I, on the other hand, continue to wrestle with it days later.  I keep trying to get that excitement back. I want it for her. I want it for me.

How long will this keep circling around in my mind?  Her birthday is a couple weeks away, and I will probably end up buying her a metal trash can and drumsticks. I have visions of purchasing all of Amazon’s Oscar the Grouch paraphanalia because no one appreciates the magic of trash cans more than that surly muppet. Maybe I’ll switch from an SUV to a larger truck designed to move and empty dumpsters. Given the amount of garbage my three kids have left in my car over the years, this may be a logical vehicle change anyway.

Raising kids is like aiming for moving target.  Sometimes you are spot on, and sometimes you just miss the mark.  All I can do is try again, and hopefully I will get it right the next time.

That’s it from me for now.  Ironically, today is garbage day, and I have trash cans of my own to tackle.

***MoJo***

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