FOR ALL of the poise and skill they show on the pitch, in the concert hall, and on the boards, R. and Q. lately have taken to reminding us that they are 11 and 6. It’s as if they don’t want Mrs. D. and me to get too smug in our parenting achievements. And it’s working.
R. is questioning every last request, comment, and direction, whether it involves her chores, her clothes, or her bedtime. “Why?” “Why not?” “No, I don’t.” “Yes, I do.” “But, Dad/Mom …” These are flung at us constantly, in response to the very smallest and most insignificant statement on our part. It’s a grinding ground war, and each instance of resistance represents another few inches of depth in the trench she continues to dig with dogged determination.
LEST YOU think that R. is the only Dadlibbing daughter with artistic tendencies, rest assured that Q. is beginning to make her mark as well. At age 6.
A wonderful, dedicated mom at Q.’s elementary school is staging a couple of student-starring musicals next month to raise money for our Parent Teacher Organization. She recruited volunteers to help backstage and landed my piano teacher as the shows’ pianist. And she announced auditions in order to separate the actors into two groups: speaking parts and chorus.
What Mrs. D. and I didn’t realize until the night before was that Q. was supposed to memorize lines from one of the scenes for her audition. Each of us spent the remainder of the evening and some of the next morning running lines with her. By the time she left for school, script in hand for further study, she was doing pretty well. But she’s in kindergarten, after all, so we were all kinda, “Yeah, we should have started helping her earlier, but she’ll have fun in the chorus, and she’ll have plenty more chances in the years to come.”
HAVING MADE it to midnight, I was hoping to start 2013 by sleeping in. Alas, I woke up at about 6 this morning and tossed for an hour before arising and trudging downstairs to see how destructive our New Year’s Eve party had been.
Mrs. D. had put away the leftover food while I got the girls prepped for and into bed, but given the late hour, she hadn’t done much else. So what awaited me were a dishwasher to empty, a bar to disassemble, a gaggle of wine glasses to wash, piles of dishes to scrape and clean, and a couple of tubs of leftover beer and Prosecco to bring inside and cram into the refrigerator.
I made coffee, turned on my iPod, and went to work.
THE GIRLS had a choice yesterday: Help Mrs. D. with a massive cleaning of the house inside, or join me outside for the final leaf raking of the year. They bopped back and forth a few times before settling with me in the front yard, where the year’s most ironic statements were made.
R: “I’m going to start a leaf-raking business!”
Q: “Me, too!” Continue reading