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Thursday, March 29, 2007

the tangential nature of the brat


I am rejoicing because I have just placed each of the kidlets into their own bed for a night which will, with any luck, be consumed by sleeping. This means, dear reader, I may actually get to sleep in a bed tonight myself – the first time in almost a week.

As I made my way down the stairs, containing my jubilance to prevent the accompanying sounds of leapage from rousing the newly bedded beasties, I allowed my brain to consider the possibility of attempting school tomorrow. I think I have given myself permission to take the day off even if they are all back to form. At least two of them really need an additional day to just recover from the exhaustive nature of ailing. Besides, it is Friday, and what is the sense of having a one day school week when all would be much more pleasantly served by having a brief respite before the complete immersion of Monday morning? But then, no matter which decision I make, it will leave me with guilt. I am good at second-guessing my decisions, so I should be used to the resulting guilt by now, but acclimation to the discomforts of the psyche is not my strong suit.

Strangely, this very topic of guilt (and my ability to peruse a few blogs I only get to visit occasionally due to increased sit-down time this evening) led me on another tangent. As a teacher, I am alternately amused and frustrated by my children’s inability to write about any subject for more than the minimum number of words. The amusement comes from their tendency to cover the integral point of the assignment in such short order. The frustration comes from knowing that this brevity will not serve them well on SATs and in a college setting.

Pursuing this thought, I pondered the beautifully written and lengthy blog entries I admire from so many. Part of me envies that ability. Me? I am prone to long-windedness or silence in conversation (virtual or otherwise), but when I write - be it poetry, blog entries, or little thoughts to myself - I tend toward minimalism. I say what I say using few words. Granted, I regularly use more words than I actually need, because it is often fun to do so, but I tend to skip the connective thought tissue. Part of me recognizes this as a potential strength. Anyway, the point here is that the very habit which frustrates me in my children’s writing is the defining particle of my own.

The tangent continues. Isn’t it often the case that the very trait which draws us to someone else is also the source of our greatest irritation in them? My oldest son is very inventive of spirit. This is a wonderful thing. And yet, when my husband brought home the MBTI description of his “work personality,” it contained a line that brought this son’s image to mind so clearly. To paraphrase: When asking a child of this temperament type to take out the garbage, he is likely to spend hours designing a new and better way of getting garbage to the curb that does not involve human intervention, but never actually doing the chore. Yeah, the irritant bares its fangs – same trait, different angle.

This then leads me to a memory of that very child’s 3rd or 4th birthday on which my mother gifted him with pulleys and levers per my request (after he had used an enormous ball of yarn, a tricycle, and several dining room chairs to create a complex alarm system for the lower level of our house). Have I created the monster or merely given him room to realize his potential? When did I stop allowing that kind of latitude? Was it when the population density increased, thus decreasing the square footage available for abstract thought? Was it when my body started getting older and less able to avoid the unexpected chaos? Have I truly stopped allowing it at all?

This then leads into thoughts of crackers; after all, cracker crumbs do get everywhere. Crackers bring the thoughts neatly back to the stomach bug, and I don’t even remember seeing Kevin Bacon anywhere along the way.

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3 Comments:

  • ((((((((hugs)))))))))

    Kevin Bacon oughta been in there somewhere, dangit! LOL

    Glad the kiddo's doing better?

    By Blogger Mel, at 7:29 AM  

  • Wait... were you talking about my son, or yours. Because it sure could have been mine.

    Did you get some sleep?

    By Anonymous OddMix, at 9:59 AM  

  • Well Mel, the last of the littlest three is finally acting human again toay, but the next one up came down with it last night. Being 11, he is more self-sufficient, though, so I did get to sleep in a bed for one night.

    Odd, I think it must have something to do with them both being the sons of computer geek types. ;) I did get some sleep for that first night, but the insomnia is trying to re-rear its head.

    By Blogger atypical, at 1:38 PM  

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