Friday, January 15, 2010

Where are my Apples?

Or, In Which Our Heroine Learns Yet Again That Her Children are NOT, In Fact, Miniature Versions of Herself and Her Husband.

There are times when I look at my kids and wonder how on God's Green Earth they became the way they are. I know they physically look a lot like me and Rich, so I know they must be ours. And I am pretty sure that I have had a hand in raising them to this point. So where does this behavior come from? Where do their ideas come from?

This goes way beyond my kids' complete inability to find their shoes unless they are actually wearing them. (I swear, I don't remember being that hapless when I was a kid, but maybe Mom would contradict me on that.) My 13 year old son, who is no intellectual slouch, will stand helplessly in the kitchen and moan that he is hungry but that he doesn't know what to eat or how to make anything. What's that all about?

But I did not start this entry to complain about my kids. On the contrary, I am sometimes amazed and baffled by them, and that's what got me thinking this week.

Mathboy had to stay home sick on Wednesday. Now, your average 13 year old, when staying home sick, would spend a lot of time watching TV or playing video games. I seem to have very fond memories of doing exactly that at age 13. I got very good at guessing the price of those Egglands Best Eggs on The Price is Right, and I knew all about Luke and Laura on General Hospital.

I have a memory of one day when I missed the bus but was too afraid to tell my mother, because I knew she would yell at me for the whole drive to school. I don't remember how old I was, but I probably was not much older than Mathboy. Anyway, my solution was to hide in my closet until my mother left for work. I hoped she would think that I got out for that early morning bus without her hearing me leave. It was a ridiculous idea, but it worked. Mom eventually left for some appointments and I spent the day watching game shows and soaps. (I finally told her about this incident a couple of years ago.)

Enough about my misspent youth; let's get back to Mathboy's sick day. He did go back to bed for a while. He also took time to post his school absence on his Facebook page. That's teenager-ish, right? Then he got bored. So he turned to his bedside reading, which this week is ...
The Math Book by Clifford A. Pickover and Knotted Doughnuts by Martin Gardner. Then he started graphing out isometric worms, a math game discussed in the Doughnut book. Then he wanted to tell me all about them, step by step. Then my brain started to hurt.

Slacker that I am, I eventually distracted him with video games. He played some Bookworm and some Myst. He also made vocabulary flashcards in preparation for his Latin midterm. But most of the day, he graphed those worms. And he really enjoyed it. Fun times.

On the other side of the coin, we have Catgirl. First of all, as a complete extrovert, she is the only one is the family who can't stand to be alone. This, all by itself, can be a problem, as you may imagine. She also absolutely loves cheerleading. I have no idea where that came from. Not me.

Finally, and this is the kicker, she has been talking a lot about the upcoming school talent show. As a 5th grader, she is permitted to take part for the first time. She is insisting on doing it. She has noticed my lack of enthusiasm--after all, I quit Girl Scouts as a child because the troop wanted to spend several months of meetings planning and preparing for a talent show. I don't do talent shows. I don't remember ever really liking being the center of attention for something like that. So Catgirl has warned me "not to try talk her out of it because she has been waiting to be in the talent show FOREVER."

Uh, okay. So I can't talk her out of it. Instead, I am suggesting various group activities that could be done. She really wanst to sing--so why not sing a song from Glee or Taylor Swift with her friends?

This is where I start to wonder about her parentage, people, because her response was that "She wanted to perform all by herself."

What? Hunh? You want to go up on stage in front of all the kids at your school and sing a solo in the talent show? This would be my idea of a good torture for one of the circles in hell, and my daughter wants to do it? That reminds me: Mathboy sang that solo (a whole movement, by the way) at his Christmas Concert. And let's not forget the incident at the Montessori end of the year festivities in 2007. He had a solo, but he didn't tell us about it in advance, so when he took the microphone Rich and I were mortified and thought he was misbehaving. I still remember the shock when he started singing with the whole class as his back-up. Sheesh.

Where do my kids get the confidence to just put themselves out there like this? I don't think I ever had that. I don't know if I envy them or if I am scared for them.

Relax, Sydney. As the Yarn Harlot says: Here. Look at some soothing wool....
Lisa's Beret from Through the Loops, in Woolbearers hand-dyed Kona Superwash, the colorway Twilight. It's blocking on a plate suspended over my counter. I hope it doesn't fall over, because that's a new plate and it would smash on the granite. Excuse me, I have to go pad the area with dishtowels....

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