Being a parent of small children is incredibly humbling. And most of the time you don't see these humbling moments coming until they've smacked you square in the face...right between the eyes! I mean I've always known that I'm not a very patient person. But now that I've tried to teach a two year old to use the potty and a kindergartner to tie his shoes or waited while the preschooler buckles her own car seat (painfully sloooowly)...now I know it. Like really, really know it. I'm impatient. But that's not the point. The point is this. I had one of those unexpected humbling moments the other day. And I never saw it coming!
At dinner she excitedly explained the "experiment" to us. It's pretty self explanatory. Basically Ms Kathy showed them an object and the students were to predict if the object would SINK (S) or FLOAT (F) by circling the corresponding letter on the worksheet. Then the objects were placed in a tub of water and observed. Finally the students circled the correct letter. All very thrilling for the four and under crowd!
I quickly noticed that ALL of Charlotte's guesses were correct. Being the proud mother I am I praised her for her good work. (I mean clearly she is a genius.) Charlotte then went on to explain that she had spent her free play time watching Ms Kathy do the experiment with the first group of students. She gave up her play time in order "to get all the right answers".
I got a good chuckle out of this. I could just picture her vigilantly watching and memorizing the results. And then I stopped laughing. Because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! This one sheet basically sums up my four years at college. (Although admittedly the experiments I was conducting as a biology major were far more complex.)
A decade ago as a college student I was too busy studying and preparing and making sure I had the "right answer" to stop and play. No time for fun when there was work to be done!! Friends. Who had time for them?! Certainly not me. Ok that isn't completely true. Besides Joe I had two good friends. Both named Jen(n). Both are now physicians. Coincidence? Nope not at all. I was pre-med/pa and only had time for study buddies. I, like my preschooler, gave up opportunities to play in order to succeed. In fact I actually graduated college a semester early...by accident! I took too many credits each semester.
Am I proud of myself for graduating early and getting into a very competitive PA program? Heck yeah! Was it a major accomplishment completing college (while pregnant with my first child)? Of course. But do I wish I would have taken the time for fun too? Yep. I sure do. College is important and should be taken seriously. Don't get me wrong. But it's also a time to goof off and have some fun. I don't have many regrets in life but not enjoying college more...it could be considered one of my regrets.
And seeing these same all-work-and-no-fun traits in my four year old? That's humbling. Because clearly I haven't changed that much in the last decade. And I don't want her to be so focused on success that she forgets to enjoy life. I don't want her to think that she always has to have the "right answer". I realize some of this is just her nature. Who she is. But I want to make sure she realizes that it's okay to just play at play time and work at work time.
And sometimes it's even okay to eat ice cream for lunch...
I must be getting better in the patience department. At least a little. I allowed the girls to scooter to pick up Isaiah from his bus stop. Fifteen minutes of scootering to cover two blocks and I didn't lose it once! Now that's patience.