Three things that came together recently:
1- The Kid had a sleepover the other night. Big fun!
They played with LEGO, jumped on the trampoline, drank hot chocolate, read about sharks, played in the yard, and might have even slept in there somewhere.
At breakfast, I was making pancakes, and they had made up and were singing to each other a song asking how many pancakes they could eat.
This led to a conversation (between them) about really big numbers. Sextillion. Googol. Googolplex.
They’re in second grade.
2- While going through Facebook memories, I found one from several years ago where I was showing gratitude for having the education and the means to know how important preschool is and to send him to a good one. (No rigor or that bullshit. But that’s for another day.)
3- I read a piece that another mom wrote, talking about how her 8-year-old daughter often asked to bake or cook, and the answer was often no, because it was going to make a mess or it wasn’t safe or any one of the myriad of reasons tired parents say no.
And then the mom went to see what the girl was doing instead, and she was watching an episode of Chopped, Jr.—same idea as the regular version, but with kids. Apparently some of them quite young.
The mom had an epiphany that the girl can’t do those things because she, the mom, had been saying no and not giving her the opportunity. She changed that and while the kitchen was often messy, her young daughter learned to cook really well in a fairly short time.
How does that all come together?
The Kid has such an advantage over so many other kids. Because his parents aren’t stressed about basic necessities. Because he’s been read to his whole life. Because when he asks questions—regardless the topic—he gets answers. Because we’ve been able to say yes to most of the things he’s been interested in. Because we have enough self-awareness to let him pursue his interests instead of pushing him to pursue our interests (whether current or from our youth).
And you know what? I want that playing field to be more level. Not just among disadvantaged groups, necessarily. But I want kids—all the damn kids—to be given the opportunity to learn and imagine and become, not just because they go to school and get what they get at school. I want home to be a place of nurturing, of growth, of learning, of exploring, of safety. So kids can feel confident and stable and loved. Which will allow them to be kinder to others. Which would lead to a whole ton of adults who were emotionally secure and aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
Nothing but good can come of that.