Friday, February 8, 2008

details

"Details, Donovan, we need to work on the DETAILS," Ainsleigh just said. "That means we need to pay attention to how we're coloring. And do a good job of coloring IN." A good friend of mine just sent us an infant seat that her baby hardly used, and it came in a box the perfect size for two under-6's to sit in and color. And of course a giant box you can sit in is fair game for turning it into a boat or airplane or red rocket or whatever. And so, armed with crayons and paper and scissors and tape, they are working on what Ainsleigh promises to be "a masterpiece, Mom." I'm so relieved.

Today was her 100th day of kindergarten and, as you may well imagine, was no light matter. She carefully picked out the dress and tights she wanted to wear. She begged to wear her silver sparkly shoes - something I've avoided until now due to snow and the fact that when she walks in them she looks like a penguin. But I acquiesced this time and you'd think I just told her she could eat candy for a month. And she requested that I just drop her off so she could "walk with my friends to my line." And so when she did, I was both proud and sad. Plus it was nice not to have to get out of the warm car into the freezing air.

Donovan and I went to Target today to get cookie cutters for the cookie-making pajama day we're looking forward to tomorrow. Joel is going snowboarding, so what's the point in doing anything but eat cookies in our pajamas?! While there, what would be more natural than picking up a couple bags of dove chocolate hearts? It's very interesting, the difference between driving around with Ainsleigh and driving around with Donovan. Ainsleigh likes to listen to music, and ponders things before launching into questions or a discussion. Donovan likes no music and CONSTANT talking. Everything requires commentary. On the way TO Target, we discussed his future employment options. He told me he wanted to be a fireman. And a dad that skateboards. Worthy callings, all. And then he said, "And Ains-wee...Ains-wee wants to be a baddo...uh...a baddo-WEE-nuh." Nice pronunciation, Dono. Knowing that Ainsleigh wants to be a ballerina doesn't take much. Knowing how to SAY it. Well, that's awesome. And then on the way home as we were eating above chocolate (because honestly, what kind of mother would I be to eat chocolate in front of my child without sharing? wait to eat it until later, you say? show some restraint, you mock? Pshaw) Donovan was being very grateful (as well he should be). "Dis chock-wit is weely good, mommy. It's....so-so." Huh? So-so...what could that mean...Awesome? "No. SO-SO." Hmm...also? What the... "No mommy. SO-SO. Wike packpack says. Yumyumyumyumyum so-SO-so." Ohhhhhhhh! Deliciouso? Yes. Thank you, Dora's backpack. My child is bilingually appreciative.

When I asked Ainsleigh what she did today at school, she told me that they had library and technology. "What did you do in technology today?" I asked (I love hearing her use the word 'technology'). "I drew a picture on the computer of a snowman living in the Arctic." Really? And what else do you know about the Arctic? "I know that it's cold there all the time. And that chinchillas don't live there." ??? Really. I didn't know that she knew the word chinchillas, let alone where they lived. I proceeded to ask her what chinchillas look like, and wouldn't you know it - she knows. When I said I was impressed she grinned and said, "Yeah, that's because I'm 100 days smarter than when I began kindergarten." Truer words were never spoken.

Last night, as I power-walked (as much as could be expected. so scratch the "power" part) I took a long look at how I've been acting toward my kids lately. I'm pretty embarrassed, actually. My patience has been at an all-time low. The yelling has been at an all-time high. I don't feel good about how things are going. At the beginning of the year, a friend was sharing her new year's resolutions and amended her list with, 'Oh yeah, and less yelling this year.' First of all, I was amazed that SHE had a problem with yelling (although, to be fair, her regular voice is so soft and calm, her yelling may be be the equivalent to my regular talking voice). Second, I thought it was a great idea. So I made a mental note and then turned around and yelled at Donovan for swinging his bat at Ainsleigh's head. Ok, it might not have been THAT immediate. But I wouldn't be surprised. So last night I decided to make a goal that TODAY I wouldn't yell. I need baby steps here.

I shared with some good friends this (rather pathetic that I need to even MAKE the goal) goal and was reassured by their commiseration and support. And then we began joking about sticker charts. And THEN I decided that I thrive on rewards, be they chocolate or otherwise. And so, if I can last another 3 hours, I'm putting a "motivational sticker" (thank you Target $1 spot) on my calendar for the day. And then maybe the next day. And for as many days as it takes to change my attitude (I just spent way too long wondering how long that would be). I've decided I need to be a better person. And if a sticker chart is my stepping stone to that, so be it. It's all in the details.

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