Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've written before about how Daisy follows rules to excess. I think the whole young generation is obsessed with being extreme, so Daisy, rather than snowboarding naked while drinking Mountain Dew, is all about following rules really really hard. Knock yourself out, babe.

The other night she was practicing her piano. We ask her to practice for 10 minutes each night, so Daisy sets a small timer to keep track of the minutes. After a couple minutes the timer made its "5 minutes to go" chirp (because every goddamn instrument and appliance in the house needs to beep its goddamn status at me at every goddamn opportunity. Extreme!)

"That's just the 5 minute beep!" Daily hollered.

"Wow, so it's been 5 minutes already? You're half done?" I asked, surprised that the first 5 minutes had gone by so fast.

"Yeah," she replied

"Man, didn't seem like 5 minutes." I mumbled.

"Oh... uh... that's because I only set the timer for 8 minutes instead of 10." Daisy explained.

"Really? Did you do that on purpose?" I asked, a little stunned.

"Yes," she said.

I calmly suggested that she finish the full 10 minutes and not skip minutes in the future. She agreed and went back to her practice.

HOLY COW! My daughter broke one of our rules! She cheated on her piano practice time, and had probably been doing this for a while.

I was obviously delighted.

I skipped into the kitchen where Hank had heard the whole conversation. I gave her the double thumbs-up.

"I'm HORRIFIED!" Hank whispered to me.

Somehow Hank failed to view the situation the same way I did. I saw a girl who was beginning to grow up a bit, by pushing the envelope in a small safe way, and trying to see what she could get away with in the world. Hank saw our daughter breaking our rules, cheating herself, and basically lying to us each time she shaved those minutes off the timer. Sort of seems like the "half-full" perspective to me, but that's ok.

Hank went and had a little chat with Daisy afterwards. She wanted to dig deeper into the why and the how long and the why not. Apparently this is the type of conversation one is supposed to have with a 9 year-old who is breaking a rule. There was crying and apologizing and self-flagellation, which is all reasonable enough.

Me? I'm proud of my little girl. I mean, I don't want her knocking over liquor stores to raise cash for meth, but I'm hoping that the slope between here and there ain't all that slippery.


meg said...

Boy that girl outs herself way too fast. I'd be asking why she told me. My first two are like that.

Even my 17 year old can't keep her yap shut when she's done something. She always has to out herself to me. I guess it's good she shares all her boyfriend stuff with me, but it's weird too. Cause I'm more like "Why aren't you going to second base, he's a nice boy" and her reply, "Don't be weird mom, we've only been together 6 months. It's not like we're in love. I'm only 17".

So there is good and bad things about these kids that tell you everything. I worry that everything is so black and white for them that the real world comes calling and it's a frying pan to the head. I say, be a little naughty. Mess up. Make mistakes. It makes you stronger. Even shaving 2 minutes off piano time. If that's as bad as she gets, you are one lucky man.

Mike said...

Meg, I totally agree. I want Daisy to distinguish between the little stuff that she shouldn't feel too bad about and the big stuff. She'll grow in that process by screwing up every now and then.