Friday, February 10, 2012

Hurry Up…Take Your Time

No wonder my kids tell me I’m weird. The message seemed simple enough as I said it but once it was out I could only scratch my own head. I must have been losing my mind when I told my youngest to, “Hurry up…Take your time.”

It all began with homework. My youngest son had an assignment that took much longer than normal. The activities were the usual, cutting and gluing and trying to write numbers. But a ‘3’ written as if it were falling over lead to a conversation on how ‘3’ could look like ‘m.’ Fascinating I’m sure in the world of a young child, but after about 40 minutes of helping with homework I just wanted a ‘3’ that looked like…well…a ‘3.’

My son is at that age where something that’s funny gets repeated over and over and over again. I kept erasing that ‘3’ but it kept coming back with more and more of a tilt to the left. A combination of homework fatigue and a case of the giggles was drawing us further away from the goal of finishing. That ‘m’…I mean ‘3’ threatened to derail my normally efficient homework train.

Fearing a loss of focus I started giving a bit of a verbal nudge. At first I was subtle, which almost never seems to work with children. So I ramped up my efforts, explaining how we needed to finish and so he needed to hurry up. In response he wrote a ‘3’ that did not look like a ‘3’ or for that matter an ‘m.’ It was rushed and messy and really, really big. Good thing I had a really big eraser. It was as I brushed off the eraser crumbs that my insanity was revealed. I then told my son, “Take your time and give me a good number 3.”

Children have an amazing ability to take things in stride. For a short moment in time my son gave me a puzzled look. Then he went back to work as if nothing had happened, turning out one of the best 3’s I have ever seen on paper. I am not sure what message he took from my confusing statements. He never asked how he could possibly hurry up while taking his time. My oldest would have asked but he was not in the room (fortunately). My youngest simply just let it pass, looking for something else at which he could laugh.

Yes I said something odd once again, as I suppose parents are prone to do. No wonder my children at times laugh at me, treating me as if a bit senile.

Has being a parent driven you to say something confusing or outright stupid?

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