Monday, June 17, 2002

June 17-21, 2002

JUNE 17, 2002

I've been excited about my son's growth spurt -- how he finally made it onto the bottom of the height charts this year, and lately how additional inches may explain his recent scoodgy behavior. Yesterday, though, we saw the down side of that additional height: At our church's carnival, he can no longer ride all the kiddie rides he loves. He's inches above the limit now for the little car ride that goes around and around, and the man wouldn't let him on. Ditto the little boat ride and the junior roller coaster. About the only rides his height allows him now are rides I'm too chicken to put him on. And so we did a lot of walking around, and some eating, and some game-playing, but not much riding.

I guess that's the way child development goes -- with every step forward, there's something left behind. He's way too old chronologically to still want to go on the little cars, and I guess it's a blessing that his lag in linear growth has bought him some extra time with those smaller-child pursuits. He's got no choice though, now, but to look down on those activities. Maybe by next year his mother's nerves will have caught up to his new big-kid-ride status.

+ + +

JUNE 18, 2002

From the "Did they really need to do a survey to find this out?" department comes the results of a study by the Center for a New American Dream that finds -- shockingly! -- that kids like to nag their parents for stuff. Researchers questioned 750 young people ages 12 to 17 and found that 60 percent keep nagging after the parent said "no," that 10 percent will ask more than 150 times, and that 55 percent eventually turn that "no" to a "yes." The researchers draw the conclusion that the youth of today is obsessed with getting the latest licensed thing, and parents are to blame for eventually giving it to them.

Clearly, these researchers have no children of their own.

If they did, they'd understand what it means to hear a child ask for the same toy 150 times. They would understand that it doesn't have to be a toy a child wants or will play with at all; nagging just gives some children something to do. They would understand that if you ask a pre-teen or teen if they bother their parents a lot and if their parents are to blame for that, they will invariably say yes. And they would understand that, if you asked parents how many times they have to nag their children to do simple household tasks, the number 150 would likely come up again.

+ + +

JUNE 19, 2002

We're going through crazy weather shifts here in the Northeast, the kind that guarantee that whatever clothing your mother suggests you wear in the morning will be way uncomfortable by the afternoon. I endured a long morning and afternoon on Saturday of being glared at by a 12-year-old in sweatpants who knew she was going to be SO HOT because her horrible, mean mama wouldn't let her wear shorts. And in the morning, darn it, it was too cool to wear shorts. But then, somewhere along the line, and depending on where you were standing and whether there was a breeze, it did indeed become too warm to wear sweatpants. And did I ever get the "I told you so's." I had to keep stopping and shaking her and saying "DON'T BE A TEEN-AGER YET."

She's already got the idea down that since I'm old, I'm always cold, and have no connection to her own youthful sense of temperature. And she's probably right. It's something every kid has noticed, certainly, at one time or another, that her mother's sense of temperature is out of whack. Mom makes you wear sweaters when you don't need them, jackets when it's positively temperate, wool caps when you'd rather let your hair swing free in the snow. Moms are such a bother. Kids must suspect that sometimes, we do it just because we can. They might be right there, too.

+ + +

JUNE 21, 2002

I've been occupying myself with filling my daughter's summer with things she doesn't want to do. Ever since we decided against camp and for hanging out in front of the TV with grandma, I've been in a little frenzy of coming up with worthwhile activities to save her from total spud-dom. One of those things she likes -- tennis lessons, twice a week. Most of those things she doesn't -- swimming and trombone lessons once a week, tutor twice, filling in at my office whenever the office manager has envelopes to stuff. It makes me tired just thinking about keeping all that straight. It mostly just makes her annoyed. But ah, moms, don't we just live for annoying our kids?

Her school, as it turns out, is helping with this endeavor by sending home a packet of math worksheets that must be completed and turned in at the beginning of the year, at which time the students will be graded and tested on the material. And she thought homework over the weekends was bad. A colleague reports that her fifth-grade daughter, in addition to the math package, has received a reading package that involves reading a book and writing about it in a journal; those notes will then be the basis of her first middle-school paper in the fall. Homework that goes from one school to the next! It's just too horrifying. Looks like schools just live for annoying our kids, too.

No comments: