Thursday, October 21, 2010

teaching moments

although parenting is always chock full of "teaching moments", there have been an abundance of them of late with my wee family!  here are the TOP THREE:

let's start with that 4-yr-old...at her preschool they have been learning about and getting to meet "community helpers".  they had a policewoman, dental hygienist and some firemen on their truck come to their school!  very exciting days indeed!  nea has soaked up a TON of knowledge.  and last night as i made dinner, a dinner that resulted in my putting the meat a bit too close to the broiler causing some smoke followed by 2 of our fire alarms to start beeping, we saw firsthand how much she has retained!  after a few seconds of the beeping, the daddy started to open the patio door and i grabbed a broom to wave up by the alarm.  nea started yelling, "WE HAVE TO GO TO THE BASEMENT!"  but wren yelled, "NO THAT'S NOT THE TORNADO ALARMS!"  and then i yelled, "IT IS JUST THE FIRE ALARMS, NO BIG DEAL!"  but apparently nea only heard "FIRE ALARM" because she immediately dropped onto the floor and started to do an army crawl while yelling "MOMMA WE GOT TO STOP, DROP AND ROLL!  THERE'S A FIIIIIIIRRRRRRREEEEE!".  the momma and the daddy enjoyed a good giggle before i told her that she did an excellent job of doing the right thing if it were a real fire, but that it was not a real fire but just the smoke from dinner caused the alarms to go off and that she could get up and they would stop beeping in a moment.  and she did.  and they did.  and we all enjoyed a delicious meal together!

now, onto that 5-yr-old...who absolutely LOVES her school.  and teacher.  and friends.  everyday she has many tales of her day (which i adore hearing!) and there is always a lengthy description of "what" was done at recess.  and with "whom".  often it is a group of girls playing "flower power".  or trying to get away from the boys, which wren has found to be easy because she steps on an area and then tells them (no doubt loudly!) that "THIS AREA IS POISONOUS!  POISONOUS!  POISONOUS!".  when i ask who she played with i heard the names of every little girl in her class.  i love that she is "friending" them all!  often times girls have a tendency to "pair up" in even numbers - 2 girls.  4 girls.  never 3.  or 5.  but, cliches and what-not are not part of my daughter's current school world (thankfully!).  but one day she said that 2 friends were "fighting over" her...when i asked her what she did, she said, "well, i did like daddy does at home with me and nea, i did eeny-meeny-miney,moe. and "_______" won."  although i thought that was pretty good problem solving for a kindergartner, i mentioned that if that happened again, that maybe she could suggest that all 3 play together.  she smiled, put her hand on her forehead and told me, "momma that is a fabulous idea!  i love it!".

that same 5-yr-old ended her fall soccer season earlier this week.  she wanted to take halloween treatbags for each teammate.  when i asked her how many we needed to make she told me there are 6 on her team.  but that she thought her coaches should have one, too, so that makes 8.  she followed all that by telling me "i just did some serious math, momma!"  and on that soccer team wren knew 2 players and became fast buddies with the other 3.  but there was one teammate who was often talked about.  and they hung out during their games.  laughing and goofing and cheering on their team while on the sidelines and then subbing in together.  this friend was a very good soccer player and his dad was one of the coaches.  last week wren was doing something on the sidelines (not sure what) but there was loud giggling from the 2 of them and all i heard was the coach (/boys' dad) joke, "hey you two need to act more lady-like, okay?"  that, of course, made for more giggling!  and then in the days following wren would periodically say something like, "oh momma, coach told _______ to be more lady-like!  that was hysterical!  _________ is hysterical!"  and then during their last game they made up their own little "hand thing":  make a peace sign and then "bump" the backs of their hands together.  it was pretty cute!  after the game all the players and their families went for burgers to celebrate the end of the season.  i asked the coach if he noticed how well his son and my daughter got along.  he started to laugh and said that he has to hear all week between games/practices "when do i get to see wren again?" or "is today soccer?  will wren be there?"  yeah, that's cute.  cute in a friendly, same-age aspect.  not in a "hey let's tease wren about a boyfriend" or "let's tease _________ about a girlfriend" because really, i do not want to have "that talk" with my 5-yr-old.  and _______'s dad would prefer to not have that chat with his son!  but i did tell him that i have "a list" and that his son is in the "okay to ask my daughter out" column.  for now.  he asked what the other column is...and i told him it is the "no freakin' way are you going out with my daughter, do you remember how you were in kindergarten?!"  he laughed and told me that he suspected that wren will probably find lots of attention from the boys; and i quickly replied that his son probably would be pretty popular with the girls.  yes, cute - for parents to joke about outside of the ears of the children.  not so cute if someone else does it, okay?

and then their is the ever-present "demographics"...which, in the way i am using it, refers to the people who we will probably be in contact with for many years based on where our kids go to school, where we go to church, other extra-curricular activities we choose to participate in.  see, when you live in a small town, it is the same group of people.  the classmates wren has this year may change somewhat in 1st, 2nd, and so on grades, but it will be the same kids potentially from here until the graduating  class of 2023!  and when i have little chats with wren about friends, i try to instill in her the importance of getting along with everyone.  doesn't mean she can't/won't have a "best friend" at some point, or that we will be having everyone over for playdates and singing "kum bay ya" (although they might during youth group someday...ha ha).  but i want her to understand the importance of getting along with everyone.  we are bound to have many hours, days, years with the same group of kids & parents.  at school.  at church.  at extra-curricular activities.  i just wish that all parents would try to instill a sense of friendship in their own kids amongst all their class/team/group...but alas, there are some parents who have "adult reasons" for modeling (either in their actions or with their words) that it is okay to not talk to someone, or not play together, or not be friends...sometimes due to the parent not wanting to be friends with that child's parent.  but you know what?  parents do not have to be friends.  friendly?  yes, that would be nice.  but friends?  not necessarily.  acting all "holier than thou" can really bring out the mean in others.  and often times that is precisely what they are trying to avoid.  luckily, i am hopeful that "teaching moment" is still a few years away, for my kids at least.  although there are a few adults that i would love to have a "teaching moment" with...tolerance is a difficult road to walk at time.

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