If the summer has taught me anything about my parenting, it’s that I’ve got a lot of room for improvement. In May I would have told you that I was doing alright. But, here in August I’m realizing my patience is thinner than I thought, my temper hotter than I imagined, and my overall stamina weaker than I had hoped. The questions alone are wearing me down. Earlier this week the Preschooler asked this:
Her: Is God married?
Her: Oh, I thought Mary was his wife.
Me: No, it’s confusing but Mary and Joseph were his earthly parents. God doesn’t have a wife.
Her: Well, I hope he finds one.
At that point, I almost mindlessly answered back, “Me, too.”
What in the world? I’ve seriously got to get back in the game and finish summer strong! We’ll have to revisit that theological topic some other day…
Another thing summer has taught me is that I can’t control the interests of my children. They seem to be set on pursuing activities as different as their hair types. For convenience sake, I was really hoping they would all three decide to be swimmers, or tennis players, or soccer players. Ideally we would find a “thing” and everyone would enjoy that “thing” and our evenings and weekends would be streamlined forever. But, I don’t think it’s going to pan out that way.
The oldest one loves dancing, singing, and swimming. Volleyball is her current team sport of choice, but she isn’t dead set on any one activity because she likes trying new things. The highlight of her summer was swim team and dance camp. The middle one can’t stand the idea of performing in front of an audience. She enjoys piano and has a natural interest in science and technology. She refused to do swim team this summer and would claim tennis as her preferred sport. The highlight of her summer was something called coding camp. And, then there’s the youngest one whose interests are yet to be sorted out. She quit the pre-team she was swimming on because she says she “drowned two times” at her last practice. She’s going to play soccer in the fall. I feel pretty sure she should pursue something theatrical, but only time will tell. For now, she loves doing “spearmints” and anything that involves imagination, curiosity, and making a mess.
So, at this point we’re all over the place. I think one of the hardest things about parenting children who are trying to figure out who they are, what they enjoy, and who they want to be is not imposing our own wishes on them. I’ve messed this up a few times already. I would love it if these girls would take to tennis and piano because those were the things I most enjoyed. I understand those interests. I know the terminology. I can relate to serves and volleys and scales and arpeggios. But, I’m realizing kids aren’t clones or robots. They’re small people with big ideas and dreams all their own. The great challenge is learning how to steer them without pushing, and everything in me wants to push and preach and demand certain behavior instead of listening and learning.
Speaking of interests… the Spouse is much more science-oriented than I have ever been. He started a new job recently where he is in a sterile setting compounding medicine for parts of the day. Last week we went by to drop something off and his technician made the Preschooler’s whole week by giving her a set of sterile clothing all her own. I’ve never seen someone more delighted to wear a hair net.
Of course the minute we got home she had to start “making medicines” using a bag of Skittles, water, and a syringe.
I think it’s a sure sign you should not, in fact, be making medicine for others if you can’t yet reach the sink. But, what do I know?
What I do know is that most pharmacists don’t taste test their own concoctions. I guess you would feel pretty good about the safety and/or taste of a new drug, though, if the pharmacist had her “tech” come over and give him/her a big swig of it right there in front of you.
The sterile gloves provided hours of entertainment in and of themselves. At one point in the car while we were waiting to pick up the older two the Preschooler was playing with an inflated glove and announced, “Look, Momma! I made a crown!”
I turned around to see this:
Me: Umm, that’s not a crown. I know it has a similar shape as a crown, but that is definitely not a crown. And, we need to put it down immediately.
And, so she did. But, I fear the “crown” will resurface at the most inopportune time.
This parenting gig is hard. Hard but worth it. I’ll be more coherent and probably better rested, but I’ll have a lot less interesting things to write about when this passel of girls is back in school a week from now.