Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Just because, that's why

You know, being a parent isn't always easy. In fact, I think it's safe to say that it's RARELY easy. But every so often, you get the chance to lighten up a bit and ease back on the reins.

This past summer, the Youngest Aardvark Child (who is approaching 14) made quite a dramatic turn-around in attitude and action. Don't get me wrong, she's still thirteen and acts like it, but that stubborn, belligerent streak seems to have narrowed some and it didn't seem like everything was a power struggle. Of course, once school started and the pressures of peers and homework came back, she backslid some, but even with that, things are still better than they used to be.

Take Saturday, for instance. Mrs. A and the EAC had already left the house to go set up the concession stand at the TCU game. The YAC was supposed to be practicing her oboe (30 minutes a day), but had managed to dawdle and drag and put it off for the better part of half an hour. I had been doing yard work and was headed for the shower. As I passed her, I once again urged her to go play her oboe. "Yeah, Dad. I will."

I came out of the bathroom about five minutes or so later to find her standing in the doorway between the living room and the hallway, watching TV.

"Why aren't you playing your oboe?"

"I have been."

"You haven't played very long. I was only in the bathroom for five minutes. Don't make me fight you on this, just get it done."

And surprisingly, she went into her room, closed the door and played her oboe for another 25 minutes without complaint or even a put-upon attitude.

That scene would have played out very differently last year.

For the past few days, she's been working very hard on a Social Studies project. She had to pretend she had formed her own colony and develop the charter, outline the climate and geography, make a flag, and put it all nice and neat on a poster board. Once again, unlike last year, she has worked more on her own without a ton of prodding and prompting. Last night was a late night getting everything together. She decided to make a flag from cloth instead of paper and so Mrs. A had to help her figure out how to mount it on the stick she had selected. Hot glue to the rescue. Anyway it was after 10:30 before she could go to bed. And since it was so late, we ix-nayed the dessert issue and told her just to go on to bed. And again, she did it without complaint or attitude.

So what did she get for breakfast this morning?

A big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate sauce on top. That's what.

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