There are days when I wonder secretly if I had children just for the amusement value. Some may say that’s a horrible thought, but there are moments when I laugh so hard at the outrageous behaviour of my offspring that it just seems plausible. They are capable of creating amazing amounts of joy for no particular reason.
My three-year-old had a conversation a couple days ago that made no sense whatsoever. She was determined to express her thoughts regardless of whether or not we understood. It had something to do with a “plucky bood” and “taking friends to him's sleep.” It was one of those conversations (if you are a parent you will likely understand) where you have to repeat the words, get corrected, repeat again, corrected again and somehow carry the conversation even though you’re absolutely lost.
My partner and I have had these conversations with her many a time, and I have a sneaky suspicion our daughter may be doing some of it on purpose, just to see that “look” in our eyes. My oldest daughter does a fine job of interpretation. Not translating, but just the general gist of what she’s trying to say. I have no worries about her speech in general, as she’s coming along quite nicely with her sounds, although yellow is still “lellow”, I’ve been informed that particular sound might not be correctly learned until they’re five years old.
My youngest is in the first phase of “running.” This is a whole new load of amusement. There are highly trained adult runners who understand how to stand, how to bend their knees properly, where to hold their arms and tuck in their elbows. This is not my child. Arms flail wildly at her sides, toddling feet try to keep up with the momentum of the body, and our living room (once so calm) is now a terrifying obstacle course. Chairs become braking objects, running full force and smack dab into the cushions to stop. Toy dolls become pylons to circle around until a foot catches and suddenly carpet meets toddler.
I’ve never been one to “react suddenly” to falls and bumps, so my child will peer at us out of the corner of her eye when this happens, to see whether or not we are willing to pity her or cuddle her. If we accidentally make eye contact after one of these crashes, then the wails start, but more often than not she will dust herself off and continue on her marathon around the house.
And my oldest is just amusement altogether. She’s learning the habits of homework, so discipline and preparation and determination. Also, completion of tasks and taking responsibility for failings. This is a hard concept to teach to a 10-year-old. There is no manual for this, no practice sheets and suggestions. My daughter is a visual learner, books and writing, drawing and diagrams. This is just beyond her. So the challenge lies ahead to come up with a visual method to teach a mental discipline.
And it is amusing. Amusing in a different way than my other kids, but it is. There is still a huge mountain to climb to get to where she needs to be to be successful in life, and watching her accomplish tasks like these is entertaining. Her frustration sometimes comes out as “attitude” or “smartaleck” but I know it is rooted in the frustration of not quite understanding concepts that still many adults can’t accomplish.
It is a cliché to find the silver linings in the storm clouds, but my kids always seem to make that silver lining shine. To be having a horrible week, with frustrations and disappointments, and then come home to wild little kids that are free to express themselves with interpretive dancing, or 50 mph crazy chases throughout my kitchen, or the stubborn determination of a 10-year-old. My silver linings keep me going on all those horrible days.