- Shel Silverstein quote in the window of The Annapolis Bookstore. (Photo credit: me.)
Whenever we go downtown together, or to anywhere new at all, my husband prefers to drive. That’s because I will be craning to see the ornamentation at tops of buildings and marveling at the sunsets and filling my eyes with period signage.
He thinks I’m going to crash the car.
Listen- I have totally never crashed the car. Yet. I’ll own that ‘yet,’ though, and happily trade driving to him for the unrestrained romanticism of taking it all in.
I tell you that so I can tell you this, next: my second daughter is a dreamer, too, a daydreamer thought-wanderer head-in-the-clouds-er. I was her, at her age, so I ‘get’ her, but now I have to parent her.
Here’s but one of a million examples from our day: the vitamin marathon. After dinner, I bring all three kids upstairs. I dispense vitamins from the hall as I send them each to use the bathroom, brush hair, change into pajamas, find reading books, brush teeth, etc. I can get both her brother and her sister from “Climbing up the stairs” to “In bed waiting for reading” before I can get her to finish chewing her vitamin.
“Sweet girl, finish your vitamin.” She takes a bite from the corner. Mama, want to see how wide my mouth can open?
“Sure, after you finish your vitamin.” Okay, so Mama, I was thinking about Yesterday. And this is what I figured out. Yesterday is the day that already happened because you know about it, yes you do, so that’s why a day that didn’t happen to you is a No-terday. That’s a day that happened to someone else. We never talk about No-terday because it didn’t happen to us.
I love how her mind works. Will she ever finish her vitamin? “That’s cool, girlie. Let’s talk about that really interesting new word tonight when we’re snuggling. Are you almost ready? How’s your vitamin?”
Oh, yes! Yes! See? She holds up about 7/8ths of a vitamin. I’ve eaten lots of it! I’m watching myself chew in the mirror. My eyes change shape when my mouth bones go up and down. What are my mouth bones called?
“That’s your jaw. I bet it would go up and down lots more if you put a really big piece of vitamin in there. Want to try?”
Oh, no, because I don’t want to choke because once Louis choked and he’s not allowed to eat that thing anymore but I don’t remember what he was eating but I didn’t like it because choking looks like throwing up and do you know that Louis doesn’t wear hats to school very much anymore but where’s my hat, Mama, because I think I should wear it tomorrow so maybe Louis will want to wear hats again, too. Only his isn’t purple but maybe his mommy could get him one that’s purple. Will you ask her?
“I can send her an email tonight, but I can’t do that until I get you guys all in bed and so I need you to finish your vitamin, love. Can you do that for me?”
I AMMMM!!! And now she’s upset because I’ve asked too many times. Please know, though, that more than half the vitamin still remains.
Her teacher laughs (at me) every time she watches my girl go pack her bag at the end of the day. “Go pack your bag so we can go home,” I say. And my girl invents a character in the dress-up bin and hangs her bag around her neck like a cape and flies like a superhero. Then she comes up to me proudly: I have my bag, Mama! I’m ready!
“Did you put your food in it?”
Oh! She giggles, and flies away again but not towards the fridge, and Ms. Diane says, “Oh, she reminds me of my Olive. Fourteen years old and never outgrew it, just so you know. Daydreamers can’t live in straight lines.”
So I ask you, oh brilliant ones, how do you parent your dreamers? Besides, I mean, giving up the vitamins altogether and preparing for the scurvy?