On the way to camp this morning, Matthew told me that he needs a white t-shirt for something his bunk is doing one day next week. No problem, I cheerfully replied, because I always have a stash of plain white t-shirts in various sizes (purchased when they’re on sale at the craft store).
Now THIS is something that they don’t tell you in the parenting magazines. Someone ought to publish a book with some more useful parenting tips than how to get a preschooler to eat more more than just pretzels and string cheese. Here are a few pointers that I’ve had to figure out on my own over the years:
1. Your elementary schooler is going to come home with a request from his teacher for a shoebox, coffee can, plain white t-shirt, ziploc bag the size of a small SUV, or something more obscure like a goat heart. And because this request has been sitting, crumpled in a damp ball in the bottom of your child’s backpack for several days, you will have approximately 12 hours to procure this item, label it nicely with your child’s name, and present it to the teacher.
2. At some point, your child is going to embarrass you with a tantrum or a swear word they learned from you. Probably in a nice store or in front of your boss. When it happens, here’s hoping you’re surrounded by people who have kids too, so they will pity, rather than judge you.
3. There’s always going to be some annoying mom somewhere, who has a kid who walks, talks, is potty trained, reads, lands a back handspring and does algebra before your kid. Remember that every kid reaches milestones at their own pace. And that this braggy mom just sucks.
4. It’s possible that your child is going to have some weird habit that perplexes you. For a while, one of my kids insisted on stopping at every car in the supermarket parking lot so he could read me the license plate. And for a solid two years, the other kid couldn’t fall asleep unless he brought some random item (which he referred to as his “sleeping things”) to bed with him. We’d find him with an Uno card stuck to his sleeping face, his hand in a cardboard box, or his sweaty little preschooler fingers wrapped around a ladle when we’d kiss him goodnight. The moral of the story: embrace the quirks, because if you don’t, you’ll question half of what they do.
Any more questions?