Juliette The Gymnast -or- I Can Do That But I Don’t Wanna!
Backwards roll, front handspring, one hand cartwheel, press handstand, back layout with half twist, round off, cartwheel, tuck jump, backwards roll to pike, 180 split leap. Just beautiful! Of course I’m talking about the other kids. Mine is doing none of these. She’s the fiery little 5 year-old blonde chick lying on the mat in the middle of the gym like a bag of wet sand, refusing to participate. She’s still angry we left the house this morning without her Dracula teeth. Welcome to the world of advanced kinder gymnastics!
As parents, we strive to put our children ahead of ourselves. Do we have a choice? No, and that’s OK. I think it’s only normal for parents to want to give them the opportunities that they never had growing up. But the arrogance to think we know what’s best for them! I mean seriously! We can’t even remember to clear our browser history before we leave the house!… er… Nuvermind.
In a world of “everyone else knows what’s best”, who are we to say what’s best for our kids? We have no formal training, no masters degree in Parenthoodology? Even advice that is handed down from the patriarch/matriarch, for the most part, goes in one ear and out the other solely because we’re a bunch of jackasses when it comes to listening to others give us advice on how to raise our own children. However good our intentions are, you just can’t raise a child on good intentions. But it’s a start! Setting a good example? Aye, there’s the rub!
Our youngest daughter has accomplished at 5 years-old what I’ve yet to find at 47. That is, she’s reached a level of maturity that I look forward to having one day. On the flip side, this is a girl who, in one instance, claims to know what she wants to do with her life and in another is caught alone in the corner of her playroom with an iPad asking Siri to show her pictures of a baby unicorn pooping.
My wife and I try to keep our girls busy. Our youngest seems to have taken an avid interest in the parallel bars and balance beams while our oldest leans more toward the creative and musical set. She’s currently taking piano lessons and LOVES to draw… like her old man. Busy is good. I really don’t think raising a child has to be akin to Aerospace engineering (aka, rocket science). It makes sense to me that if a child is busy, she’s less likely to get into trouble. Idle hands are the Devil’s play things indeed.
Like all parents, I fall into the stressful-job-overworked-under appreciated-go-go-go category. If you don’t have kids now you’ll know what I mean when you do. Oh, you think it’ll be different? Good luck with that. Lemme know how that works out for you.
I’ve always found it funny that I think about my children often throughout the day with an exceptional fondness but by the time I get home and walk through the front door, greeted with “Miranda pushed me” or “Juliette won’t let me practice on the piano”, I want to turn and do my impression of Lee Majors, running as fast and as far as my bionic legs will carry me (along with that cool “dit dit dit dit dit dit dit dit” sound). Face it, we are deeply rooted in a love/hate relationship with our children. But before you book that family therapy appointment, know that it’s perfectly normal.
Despite my many visits to the brink of insanity, I do well by my little gymnast. She has compassion for others and a worthy little eye for mischief. I smirk as I write this thinking suddenly to this morning when she came to the bathroom door while I was showering to ask what colour Cinderella’s earrings were. I replied, “Uh, gold… like… yellow.” She runs off in search of a yellow crayon, satisfied with the information I’ve bestowed upon her. I smile as the soap stings heavily in my eyes thinking to myself how she’s done a front pike somersault right into my heart.