“Mom, Where do babies come from?” my daughter asked the other day. Alright already. Why are kids sooooo obsessed with this question? Especially when the answer is so banal. There’s no cabbage patch, no magical fairy with seeds, no pink-talking-stork with a postal cap and pickles. How much more boring can you get?
“We’ll talk about it when you are in 6th grade,” I replied, giving me two more years to think of a good answer.
“I Googled it.” She replied. Oh Darn.
“Really?” I asked. “Did it mention a magical fairy?”
“No,” she replied.
“No” she replied. “Pretty gross,” she added. Double-darn. Blasted, know-it-all, Google. Where’s the mystery anymore.
“OK,” I said. “Here’s the deal. Write down your questions. Put them in an envelope. Hand me the envelope. Then, when you’re in 6th grade we’ll open the envelope and answer them.” Forgive me for letting the teachable moment go. But I was pretty tired.
May All Your Dreams Come True
There’s a saying in life, be careful what you wish for. When I was laid-off last March, I wanted a job. Now that I have a new one, I’m working weekends to bring up a new website and my home life is in shambles. I’m too tired to appropriately answer my daughter’s very big life questions and my son’s grades are in the toilet—make that the basement toilet. It’s like I’ve become a part-time parent and corners are getting cut. Many families today, have similar challenges. How can we juggle it all? Homework? Sports? Activities? Workouts? Meals?
One positive note of the back-to-work schedule is that my husband has actually picked up some cooking. Sure, it’s Costco French Onion Soup and Wal Mart Pizza with not a veggie in sight, but it’s something. If you ever want to see what a spouse is actually capable of, just start dropping the ball. Who knew he was so talented at Frozen Pizza? I could have sworn he didn’t even know where the stove was.
The Perils of 7th Grade Literature
Another area of our family that suffers has been my son’s grades. They took a nose dive right after I went back to work. We had been enjoying nice hours after school doing his homework together at a leisurely pace. Those were the days.
For example in 7th grade literature, before I went back to work he had been reading, The Day No Pigs Would Die, about a Shaker boy on a pig farm. And, yes, it was as graphic as it sounds. Lots of pigs and lots of dying. Lots. One of his assignments was to do a Shaker Project. This was when we were in better touch and he actually told me about the project a week in advance. (A victory) So I asked for his project research ideas. He handed me a print out of a baseball game and a Lego man.
“Is this all you’ve got?” I asked.
He pulled out another sheet. This one had a “Shaker” ipod model that “shakes” with the music. He was very proud of himself. He’d researched “shaker crafts” on Google, so those must be authentic shaker crafts. Thanks again, Google.
“Couldn’t I make a Shaker craft out of Legos?” He said.
“I’m pretty sure they were not making their corn husk dolls out of Legos.” I replied. He was skeptical. But anyway, he pulled out a print out of a sock puppet and a wood carved toy train. We watched videos and made the sock puppet together. It was parenting bliss for me.
More recently, my son’s literature class has been Susan Hinton’s The Outsiders. A great book but again another 7th grade literature piece with violence and sad stories. (No magical fairies in sight) The book pretty much starts with a murder and has lots of “rumbles.”
We had time to read the chapters together but when it came time to write out the homework. I had to work on a work project. I tried passing the ball (or dropping it) to my husband. You can do this I urged him and told him that even though he wasn’t there for the chapters, it was pretty much the movie that we had all seen. And loved. (Some of us really loved.)
Drop, punt and catch. The two boys in my life completed the assignment together. I didn’t get to complete the assignment but watching them work together while I ploughed on my work computer from home, well, that’s another parenting bliss and it will have to do for now.