Saturday, September 06, 2008

sign sign everywhere a sign

Now where was I? Oh yeah, I was saying that parents are very good at reading signs. (And if I wasn’t saying this, I really meant to say it but I didn’t because my laptop has been quite sick and only recently been released from the hospital where it underwent major surgery. Thanks for all the cards and good wishes.)

Anyway, I believe one of the things we develop as parents is superhuman sign-reading powers. No, I don’t mean road signs and I don’t mean signs about long-haired freaky people or even the dawning of the age of Aquarius signs but rather the more subtle signs that tell us the future or enlighten us as to reality. For example...

My daughter is throwing her body down into her pillow and popping back up for another dive and yelling to the Olympic judges (in Mandarin Chinese I can only assume) “watch this next one” over and over and over again. This is a sign that, contrary to my first impression as she was nodding off into her chicken dinos at lunch, the child is not in fact tired enough to take a nap.

The house is peaceful and quiet and suddenly I realize I can no longer hear Nora playing contentedly in the bathroom sink with her plastic cups. This is a sign that she has found the tube of Neosporin which makes no noise when its contents are squeezed out and smeared into a map of the Great Lakes and all their tributaries across the bathroom mirror.

My kids come home from school to the smell of snickerdoodle cookies baking in the oven. They think this is a sign that Mom is in a good mood. Their Dad knows better. When he gets home and sees the cookies he asks, “So, what’s wrong? Having a depressing day?”

The edge of the bathtub is completely covered with different sets of tiny little underpants and shorts—all of them wet. This is a sign that Nora’s potty training is going well. After all, every accident is an opportunity for learning. Right?

Nora has begun playing with books as if they were every toy in the toy box. She stacks them and builds bridges with them. She pushes them around in her shopping cart. She puts a pile of books in the baby cradle and covers them with blankets. She pulls every single one of them off the shelf (and have I told you we have hundreds of books?) and speed-reads each for about 20 seconds and then chucks it over her shoulder and grabs the next one. This is a sign that she will always love books and will someday become an editor.

I sit down to write a blog post and find myself thinking only of all the crazy things Nora has been doing all week. This is a sign that school has started and the boys (including Gabie, my usual go-to guy for blog material) desert me for most of the day. This makes me sad and a little lonely sometimes, but when I so much as indulge in a passing thought of homeschooling my kids, I get a feeling of utter panic in the pit of my stomach. This is a sign that we are doing the right thing for us right now.


Karlene said...

Although I am a strong proponent of home schooling, I even more strongly believe in a parent's right to read their own signs and choose their own way. Good for you. :)

Jen @ Rolling Through Looneyville said...

Nice post.

I LOVE the paragraph about Nora and the books. She'll become an editor :) Love it

Deb said...

I'm so glad your laptop is out of the hospital, and hope the recovery is complete! It saves me from checking your blog 3 times a day after over a week of withdrawal symptoms. It wasn't pretty! How has the beginning of school been? My Andrea is in kindergarten, and is bored, bored, bored when she comes home at 10:53 am and is alone until 2:15 when the others get out - I am apparently not as fun as the siblings are!

tjhirst said...

I love that I have learned as a mom to read the signs in the faces of my family. It is reassurance that I know what is best for them and carries me through when I feel mounting pressure from the outside that makes me doubt my decisions. Signs stabilize me from second-guessing. And they are their when we seek after them.