Alex turned two on Friday, which meant a donut for breakfast, cupcakes at his party, and a sugar-high aftermath that we got to deal with for the rest of the weekend.
It also means he’s officially being launched into the world of chores, like it or not. I’m talking simple, age appropriate chores like helping unload his dishes and put them away, dusting the baseboards and changing the oil in my car.
Chores are one part of my (and most other parents) plan to not raise jerks and to turn these little blobs into contributing members of society. Some days my kids actually have me believing that it’s working, but those days are few and far between.
I keep a note on my phone in which I enter questions I have for the pediatrician between appointments so that I don’t forget. Usually they’re small things I want to ask about — diaper rashes, etc. — but last week as I was adding Alex’s clogged tear duct to this list, I noticed my latest entry for Evelyn:
Don’t get me wrong, Evelyn has an awesome personality – she’s sweet and funny and has quirks that I find absolutely hysterical. But sometimes when she Just. Won’t. Calm. Down. … or when she sneaks up and yells in my ear for no reason at all … or when she just refuses to look me in the eye, I wonder what kind of psychopath I’m raising.
I brought it on myself, really, as this scene has always been my absolute favorite of any movie scene. Now that at least once a day I have to tell Evelyn to look at me like a human child, it’s lost a little of its humor for me. But only a little.
Of course, wondering how they’ll turn out ultimately leads to wondering what my kids will grow up to be.
Evelyn would make a perfect engineer or architect … her mind just works that way. But she says she wants to be a lawyer, a police man, a farmer, a professional trumpet player, a firefighter, Ella Fitzgerald AND a shark, and I’m certainly not going to try and alter her dreams.
I have no idea what Alex wants to be, but I do know the only vehicle he can identify on this page is the yacht, so it better be lucrative.
I just hope whatever dreams they choose to pursue are realistic, as Evelyn’s obviously are.
In one of my last posts I said I want my kids to learn that if they think they can, they can. Which is true … but I also want them to learn how to tell when it’s time to move on.
For example — my dream was to be an Olympic gymnast.
At 7, I believe most future Olympian’s should be able to at least turn a cartwheel. At 7, I could do this:
I also had the personality of an Envirocloth, and I’m pretty sure Olympians have to likable. No one would put that face on a Wheaties box. (Also, what do I need to do to get that metabolism back? What I wouldn’t give to look so sickly and scrawny again.)
I eventually moved on to a new dream of being the piano player at the Mayfair food court. That one I probably could have realized, had I kept up with the piano lessons. Now I just play to my kids at night after I put them to bed. At one point I also wanted to farm sheep on the corner of Dorn and Rybeck, be the first ever piano player in the UW Marching Band, be a professional bowler and be a famous actress, despite having no interest in or talent for acting. I think I just wanted to meet Leonardo DiCaprio.
What I finally ended up pursuing was writing. Ten years ago I self-published a novel. Now every time I open it up and read it I want to pull my hood over my head and roll around on the floor, the writing is so bad. But it was a jumping off point, a learning experience, and for those reasons I don’t regret it. I’m glad I was encouraged to pursue it, because I enjoy it, can actually do it, and despite all evidence to the contrary I still believe that someday it will pay a bill.
But I often wonder what my parents would they have done if my Olympic dream had never died. When I turned 23 and was still performing the world’s weakest headstands, they would have had to sit me down for the difficult talk that it was probably time to hang up the leotards.
Evelyn loves dance, but after getting a sneak peek at her recital performance yesterday I wonder if it might be a good idea to introduce her to something else, just to give her options…
I don’t really blame her … I’d like to lie on the floor during all of my organized workouts, too. But I think she may just in it for the costume, which certainly didn’t work out well for my field hockey career.
Oh well, at this point I don’t really care what she grows up to be as long as she doesn’t continue on her path of turning into Clifford.
As for Alex, he’s going to have to dust a lot of baseboards before he earns enough for that yacht.