This is a post from my (new) “Daddy Daze” series, an anecdotal exploration of my odd little adventures in parenting in bite-sized chunks (for your reading enjoyment) and because the last thing this world needs is yet another doting parent blog.
Claire has always been a bit neurotic when it comes to her schedule. She likes to know in advance… to avoid surprises, if you will. When she was wee little this manifested as a kind of random meltdown when her schedule and routine varied too much. Now that she’s a preschooler it’s manifesting as a kind of calendar obsession. It started with me sketching out a few little pictures on our calendar: a pencil for her school days, a pumpkin for halloween, an octave-worth of piano for music lessons, and that type of thing. Now, that calendar seems to have become a pivotal part of the routine. She can plan her life (and I say that, because she does that exact thing) crossing of each day and counting out the “sleeps” until any anticipated event. So much for having an existentialist daughter, I guess.
Lunch Kit Directives
On my alternating Friday’s off — such as is today — I fill the role of “Dad’s Taxi” delivering the girl to her planned day of activities. She’s not over scheduled, except on Fridays it seems: a few hours at the dayhome, an afternoon at preschool, and then an hour long music class, all with just enough time between. Nearly every other day… nothing. But Fridays? Well, part of the pre-school delivery means packing a snack. But because of this busy schedule, I’m left to do that chore prior to the lunchtime-ish transfer. Today, en route to the dayhome I was given explicit instructions on the lunch preparation by… guess who. Claire sat in the back seat carefully detailing what she wanted in her lunch, why she wanted each item, and offering specific details about the allergenic qualities of peanut butter and why it was “not allowed.” Soon, I’m not even going to need to think anymore.
Everything is explained by magic these days it would seem. Capital-S Skeptic that I am, I find myself biting my tongue every time my own little serious daughter invokes a magical explanation for something she doesn’t otherwise understand. And then I get all torn: I mean, kids are sorting out their worlds and part of this is trial-and-error reasoning. But another part of it is parental guidance about what defines — and what does not define — reality. So, when you step out onto the front porch, getting ready to take the dog for an evening walk, and your daughter grabs your hand, holds you back and says: “Wait Daddy. A star. I need to make a wish.” And then she proceeded to whisper an incantation to the sky do you (a) smile at how cute she is or (b) crush her little world with an explanation of astronomy, astrophysics, and the probability of wishes coming true from the same? Or, when you encounter some inexplicable (to a four year old) bit of reality and she brushes off your offer of an explanation with a know-it-all reply of “It’s just magic, Daddy” do you (a) smile at how cute she is or (b) tempt her into a more critically analyzed explanation by questions that lead her to the same conclusion you long since reached? Regular readers will know I’m more of a “b” answer kind of guy.