The Learning Curve: All in the Family

The Easter egg hunt still rages in the background as I write this post, with my seven-year old daughter and my 17-year old nephew battling it out for supremacy. They each have found 25 eggs, and there is one left to find, which creates high drama indeed. I wasn’t allowed to participate in the competition this year for the first time, so I’m rather sad to be left out, but it was a joy to see my youngest find a whopping 21 eggs herself (with a little assistance by her grandmother). That’s one of the joys of Easter, being able to see the surprise and wonder every time one of them finds an egg, the excitement and amazement blazingly evident in their eyes. To live vicariously is almost as good as finding those eggs myself. Almost.

Just the other day I realized my daughter Madeline has become quite a bit more expressive around others. For example, when I went to her school’s “Bunny Breakfast,” I noticed her calling her classmates by name, taking turns with using the items necessary to create the pancake bunnies (love that whipped cream), and during reading time directly afterward. Not too long ago she wasn’t very vocal at all, preferring to sign most things even if she could have possibly used the words for them. And just today I saw it again when she was trying to explain which program she wanted to see to start her day. First, she explained the name of the program, then she even said what episode she wanted… using words. She amazes me every day.

Then there’s my daughter, Alexa, my seven-year old who is going on 18, who is a master of making deals. Recently, my wife and I decided to limit their screen time to two hours apiece a day for both of them. We basically had to create this huge ironclad document so that Lexi could find no loopholes, but that doesn’t stop her from trying. Yesterday she basically skipped the commercials on Strawberry Shortcake, and left off the ending just so she was only using 18 minutes instead of 26. And of course the whole thing just creates more work for us, her parents. We have to keep track, and she keeps bugging us about how much time she has left. But I think it’s worth it in the end to make sure they do something constructive with their free time. Fast forward to later that night: The floor is littered with about 30 paintings the girls did in their free time once screen time was up.

And there’s me and my wife, and we are learning the most of all when it comes to dealing with the girls and their idiosyncrasies. As they grow and adjust, we grow and adjust with them, proving that the learning curve might slope pretty wildly, but there is still learning that takes place across all levels. What’s most difficult for us is remembering how we reacted to things when we were children, because these two, while they are just like us at times, are also very different from where we were, and from how we were. And it’s times like these, when family is around, that I am reminded of how others had to adjust to us and our own differences from them. As my two munchkins grow even older and learn in even more varied ways, I know that will shift how we deal with them as well, but it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come already.


On Parenting and Parenthood Archive


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