This parenting thing… where is that handbook again? There are more ups and downs lately than then new roller coaster at Disney. One moment, my heart is swelling with pride because a teacher is telling me how sweet my little Napoleon was helping her friend on her first day of school. Then, you see one of your character traits in your child that is quite clearly a character flaw. How do you help?
It’s genetic I swear. It’s why I write this blog. A gift to exaggerate… a twist of the truth… and I need to remember an absence of fact is still a lie. It makes for a wonderful story though doesn’t it? I come from a long line of exaggerators. I grew up thanks to my Mammaw believing that Elvis once sent her banana bread as asked her spread some chunky peanut butter on it. Hank Williams Jr. was a personal family friend, a little more believable since his home wasn’t that far away. For a very long time I believed my Dad had traded a six year old boy a lollipop for a bomb saving numerous people in Vietnam all courtesy of Mammaw. In truth, the best story that I ever heard my Dad tell about Vietnam is how my mother tried to kill him. (Another mild exaggeration.) He was a sniper. For Christmas she sent him a big old package. The package included as I remember a fruit cake and cologne. Apparently if they couldn’t see him coming, she wanted them to smell him coming, slowed down by a belly full of fruitcake.
Anyway, one of my sweet children is having a bit of a concentration issue at school. It’s led to some pretty horrific papers coming home. Those papers were in a subject that I still struggle with. As in, “Math, I am not your therapist…solve your own problems.” (I totally stole that from Pinterest.) She is my child. I know that pushing is going to make it worse. Gentleness is not the answer either, she’ll let it slide. I’m having a very difficult time finding that firm balance encouraging her to ask for help and knowing that these grades aren’t acceptable. Last night confronted with her papers, like a caged animal, she was twisting the truth to a point that I don’t even think she knew what the truth was. It was because she thought she would be in trouble for her grades. I felt for her. In high school, so I would be allowed to go to a state basketball tournament, I changed a D to a B on my report card. It took mom a bit but she got wise to it. I am officially paying in spades.
Last night I went to bed feeling like my genes and my example is at worst sending my child straight on a path to hell. I wish that was an exaggeration. The grades are something I can help her with. That’s something I can fix. The exaggeration… The child can take a statement and twist it back at you in an argument that would rival anything Johnny Cochran ever had the audacity to come up with. I hear her, I hear me. It’s awful.
My brother once flipped my mom off behind her back with that lovely arm motion. Whoops, she turned and saw what he had done. Tye’s response was that he didn’t know what it meant, he saw it on Top Gun and thought it was the signal for take off. Seriously Mom? You didn’t really buy that did you? That was one of the greatest lies of all time. He totally didn’t get in trouble for it. I so don’t want this to go that far.
Another problem, my child has a friend prone to
great exaggeration lying about everything from buying a new dog to bullies at school. I asked the school to keep them apart. They are in the same class. On one hand, it’s been a great example, how do you feel when this person tells you something that isn’t the whole truth? On the flip side, this friend is a wonderful example as to how to pull this behavior off without a hitch.
All this and I’m about to leave her for 16 days. If you have that handbook now would be an excellent time to share.