Yesterday was a day of learning. The bummer thing about learning is it’s often preceded by a wave of insecurity. At least when it comes to parenting. Not for you? Okay me either, totes kidding.
In the wake of the theatre production, we’ve found ourselves with extra time at home after school. It’s been sooooo nice. Five o’s. That’s a lot of nice. We take our time, snack before dinner, lollygag around the house, and eventually work in homework.
Just for the record, I’m not a fan of homework. It’s ghastly to expect children to sit through 7 hours of school every day and then bring that shit home with them too. Big projects? Okay, let’s tackle it at home. Mundane grammar exercises? Hell no.
Daniela’s become increasingly independent with homework, but she struggles with grammar. Lucky for her, I diagram sentences for kicks. There is something OCD about diagramming that really tickles my fancy. I have to be very careful that I’m helping her learn instead of just doing it for her. Yesterday she was instructed to (among 3 other PAGES of grammar homework) identify each word in a series of sentences. Subjects, verbs, predicate nominatives, direct objects, the works. Not her favorite — she finds grammar abhorrent — but she usually does well. Ten minutes later, not a pencil mark to be found on her paper.
I get it. We’re 2 weeks away from the end of the year. School is basically over. But we still preserver to the bloody end, right? Try our best and all? Nope. She’d thrown in the towel and stopped trying. I sat down to help her through it, but she dazed off while I explained. She slumped her shoulders and mumbled until I basically did the first two sentences for her. She wasn’t cooperating and I was getting frustrated, so I took a time out. For me. With a Peruvian chocolate, but that’s neither here nor there. I was feeling all “Why is this so hard?? What am I not saying to make her understand?? Why isn’t she getting this???” That’s when it hit me; I’m a mother loving WRITER and I don’t use this stuff! I craft sentences out of words EVERY DAY and yet no one asks me if my predicate adjective is modifying the right noun or whatever. I walked back into the living room with a smile on my face and looked her straight in the eye and said “Screw language. We’ll deal with it later. Let’s move on to Science.” She giggled and grabbed her science book. Science, she gets. Blows my mind.
Five minutes later I looked up from making dinner and her normally excellent posture was slumped once again. I walked over and saw the tears threatening to fall. I moved her science book aside, scooped up my growing baby girl, and we laid in my bed and talked about the day and some things she mentioned earlier that had bothered her at school. Her soul is sensitive and compassionate and so easily wounded. It was all just a little too much for her right then. I told her that sometimes, we just need to distract ourselves from the frustrations. Friend frustrations, homework frustrations, all around LIFE frustrations, and asked her how she would like to do that. She chose to read. I kissed her forehead and left her looking so small, yet so grown, reading in my bed while I made dinner.
I’ll be honest, I missed her while I was in the kitchen. I thought of some things I could have said differently, and wanted to go talk again, but something told me she needed her space. It was hard. Everything in me wanted to fix the problem for her, but I know she has to feel these emotions and find her way through them. She read alone for about 10 minutes then brought her book out to the kitchen and read while I cooked. It was perfect. She took the time she needed, and then she joined me. We didn’t have to talk, we just had to be together. Sharing space. I had texted Marco earlier and debriefed him on her day and that beautiful man came home with flowers. Just for Daniela. Baby girl felt so special and I fell more in love with both of them. The rest of the night was golden.
We learned whats important yesterday. It wasn’t homework — although the perfectionist in her asked to be woken early today to finish. And you know what? Today she was ready to try again. With a fresh perspective. And she did great. But the real lesson was in handling the homework, not in differentiating between parts of speech. My lesson was thinking it through before I reacted. I know there’ve been times when I pushed her to finish homework and we both walked away resentful and unhappy. I’m learning to focus on the bigger, more important lessons and in turn, that teaches Daniela to do the same.
Happy Friday. Do some learning this weekend!