Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5/18/2010 My Mom

In school, Gabriel's class had to write something about someone very special to them. His got started the week before Mother's Day, so clearly it was a very strong hint without locking in the few children whose primary caregivers might not be their mothers.

As usual, they had to write an outline and organize it with "many, first, next, then, clearly..." phrases -- structure that a kid like Gabriel uses absolutely literally and that will strangle his imagination for years, rather than extrapolating a basic framework from it. Then they write and "publish" a final version from the outline.

In any case, despite Gabriel's increasingly sloppy handwriting, I was able to make out some surprising statements. It's fascinating to see from a relatively objective viewpoint what your kid thinks of you, what he remembers about your time together. It might be very different than what you think -- or hope for!

My mother is special for many different reasons.
First, she assists me a lot. One of these things is to help me find paper whenever I need it.
Next, Mom and I do things together at home. We sure do a ton of baking!
Then, she teaches me a lot. My mother educates me with complex math.
Last, of course she loves me. She gives me lots of hugs and kisses.
Clearly my mother is very special (crossed out) important.

This is amusing and informative on numerous levels. Getting Gabriel paper so he can draw his incessant schematics is very, very, very important to him. I bought him a binder today to keep all his designs in -- that should rank up there!

Next, We don't bake that much together, we just don't have time. I love baking with all of them, but getting it all together to do so is much less frequent than I'd like. Yet, he remembers it. That's fascinating. (In other schoolwork in which he had to write what he liked about me, he remembered the few times we built tracks together -- that stood out far far above other things I'd done far far more often with him.)

Next, I teach him complex math?? I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about. Indeed, he talks all the time about electronics and some of the math behind it (e.g. today, "Mom, do you understand truth tables?"), and when we're baking I never hesitate to pose a problem to him ("what's half of 2/3?"). He has yet to ask me a math-related question in which I'm forced to say "I don't know, ask Dad," as I have to say all the time when it has to do with voltage or capacitance. Good thing for that graduate degree in computer science, or my 8-year-old would think I was a high-school dropout. OK, so I can help him with binary arithemetic now, but it'll only be a matter of a few short years before I haven't a prayer of answering his math questions.

But best for last. "She gives me lots of hugs and kisses." And this is completely true. I'm very demonstrative with him, perhaps even moreso since I know those days are numbered. As he approaches puberty, our physical relationship will necessarily change. Right now, I still own him, and can grab and hug and kiss him and cuddle with him and have him sit on my lap all I want.

I notice when I pick him up at CDC that I'm more rough-and-tumble than most Moms; like when I pick him up by one leg and carry him outside while he hollers and his friends howl in laughter, or when I pin him to the floor and tickle and kiss him, again eliciting guffaws from his friends. So I do tend to play physically with him, perhaps moreso than many Moms, and perhaps that's what that comment reflects. All Moms hug and kiss their kids of course! But this comment is surprising from Gabriel of all kids.

There will come a point that he won't want hugs and kisses from his wrinkled old (and short!) mother. But right now, it seems that means a lot to him, and that means so so much to me.

Katrina set a family record last night: 6 throw-ups, and all the baths, bedding and clothing changes that go along with that. She started around 11:00, and the last one was about 5am. She didn't even wake up for the last one; I heard her crying out and ran into her room and picked her up, and her head fell back, limp in my arms. I changed her bedding and PJs, wiped her off, and she collapsed back to sleep.

Dave and I were so tired from the numerous efforts (he'd bathe and dress her while I searched the house for more bedding and ran laundry) that we both stayed home from work today. This was nice actually; it's remarkable how different -- dare I say eays? -- life is when it's just us and one (mostly) sweet little girl. Indeed, she doesn't tantrum much when there aren't brothers around to impress! Then she developed a temperature this afternoon, so we're going to tag-team going to our jobs tomorrow.


1 comment:

Louise said...

I would love to see a video of you picking Gabriel up by one leg at school!