Thursday, May 25, 2006

Parenting is hard in many ways. It's hard in so many ways that to count them would require irrational or imaginary numbers (Note to self, check math before submitting blog post).

First, there was the conversation I had with Daisy last week. Part of her homework was to take a practice spelling test. If she spelled any words wrong, she was supposed to practice writing those words two extra times. This is a weekly homework task, but the difference was that this week she believed that the practice tests were going to be posted on her classroom wall for the upcoming Open House night at her school.

Hank administered the practice test and soon afterwards I heard Daisy crying her head off and stumbling into her room. I checked in to see what was wrong.

Me: Hey baby. What's the matter?
Daisy: I *sob* missed *sob* two words *sob* on my *sob* practice teeeeeeeeest waaaaaaah!

Since I'm usually incapable of understanding normal human emotions, I typically respond to these situations by either trying to "fix" the situation or by trying to cheer up the sad person. This technique can be effective with babies but gets less and less successful as they get older (for confirmation, ask my wife how well this approach works on her!)

Me: Two words? That's not so bad!
Daisy: It's *sob* horrible! Everyone is going *sob* to see!
Me: Who cares what they think. You're a great speller!
Daisy: Noooooo! Everyone *sob* will see my mistaaaaaaaaakes!
Me: Baby, I don't think anyone cares what you get on your spelling test except you, and your parents.
Daisy: I don't want *sob* anyone to seeeeeeeeeee!
Me: If you saw Morgan's spelling test and he had mistakes on it, would you think he's a dummy or a bad speller?
Daisy: No *sniff*
Me: Then why do you think that people will think that about you?
Daisy: Beeeeecauuuuuuuuse waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

We went around in this circle for a couple minutes until she just asked if she could be alone. Having been entirely unsuccessful at "fixing" her mood or problem, I let her be. I don't know how I should have approached that particular situation and even if I did know, I doubt the answer would be the same the next time she's troubled by a bewildering emotional issue.


Other problems are alarming in a totally different way.

Me: That was a fun sleepover you had with Sally, huh?
Daisy: Yeah! I can't wait for my next one!
Me: With Sally?
Daisy: No, I think I want to have a sleepover with a different friend.
Me: (blissfully unaware of the ominously looming answer) Who should we invite next?
Daisy: James.
Me: *cough* James! Right, James. James James James. Well, we'll have to set something u....LOOK! A MONKEY!

(Note: Daisy knows that there's no monkey when I say this, but she's still totally unable to prevent herself from stealing a look.)

Gah! Sleepovers with boys! Although I'm pretty sure that she's not going to get pregnant at the tender age of 6, the idea kind of gives me the willies, or at least the heebie jeebies. So far, we've entirely avoided the birds and the bees talk and any related issues. I don't know how long that can last though, which brings me to my final Daisy conversational snippet. This one is from a few months ago while we were driving in the car.

Me: Daisy! I just heard that Liz had her baby yesterday!
Daisy: Yay! That's so exciting.
Me: Yeah! They've got a little baby at home now.
Daisy: And poor Liz has a big cut in her stomach.

The only birth story that Daisy was familiar with was the story of her own birth, which was via a Cesarian section.

Me: Well, actually, they didn't cut a hole in Liz's tummy.
Daisy: They didn't?
Me: No. (Aware of ominously looming issue. Squirming.)
Daisy: Sooooo, how did the baby get out?
Me: Well, the baby came out her vagina.
Daisy: HER VAGINA?!?!?!?!
Me: Yes.
Daisy: Are you sure?
Me: Yes.
Daisy: ....
Me: (please don't ask any more questions, please please please)
Daisy: .....
Me: How about some music!

I narrowly escaped. So far Daisy has never asked how a baby gets INTO the mommy, but I suppose it could happen any day now.

Parenting is hard.


Janelle Renee said...

The iMac I'm on was *this close* to being a projectile mocha victim.

There should be a program that scans blog posts for particularly hilarious sentences. When it finds one, it could have a little symbol (I typed symblog at first!) to warn the reader of the risk of explosive laughter.

Mike said...

Maybe I do subconsciously hate Macs.

zelda1 said...

It only gets worse from here on out. I will say this, crying over spelling words, much better than crying over boys; and spending the night with boys, well, really tough but much better than dating boys, at least, you can keep an eye on them, and finally, the baby from the vagina. Oh how that will soon need expanding from how they come out to how they got in and even now my son says oooh, I can't go there, you didn't, you found me, you never did that, I know.

Neel Mehta said...

Honesty in parenting... what a strange choice. I agree with your sharp use of distraction, though.

These days "James" could refer to a girl.

Mike said...

Zelda1, I know, I know! Seems like there are about 15 seconds of easy parenting, somewhere in between diaper changing and sex talks.

Neel, oh, it's a boy. A near eight year old boy!

carey said...

With my boys, I tried to make the whole baby/vagina/sex issue as clinical as possible from the gitgo, in the hope that they won't even consider having sex until they're 50. But it doesn't matter. My 11-year-old apparently gets erections when he thinks about fat people and sumo wrestlers (?!)

Mike said...

Sumo wrestlers?!?! That's just weird.