Sometime ago I wrote a post titled: Why It’s Okay to Ignore Your Kids. In that self-satisfied post (you can read it here) I talked about how children, when left to their own devices, can be suprisingly creative and resourceful. I
bragged explained that on one particular snowy day my kids did all sorts of amazing things while I was hiding in my library. And they did. It was magical. On second thought, however, I think I may have been just a little too eager to consider that one experience to be evidence of some universal law.
We are homeschooling again this year, and I’ve got to say, it’s going great. That’s probably because we’re still in what I call the “soft start.” In other words, we we’re mostly just hanging out together in our pajamas.
I was a little worried about what I’d do with the three littles while we schooled. After all, last time we did this, my littles were, well, really little.
But now I find myself homeschooling a 4th grader and a 7th grader while two three-year-olds and one four-year-old look on.
I needn’t have worried. Turns out they are pretty resourceful. Mostly they crawl around pretending to be feral cats (not a stretch), or fight over the iPad, or spend time on arts and crafts. Of course, for three-year-olds, arts and crafts consists of scribbling on EVERY.FREAKING.PIECE. of printer paper, or “making confetti” AKA cutting said paper into teeny-tiny-impossible-to-sweep bits. Scissors are new for them, so of course, this last activity is their favorite.
They come up to me about every, oh six seconds, to show me a new creation. I’ve pretty much mastered the art of ooo and ahhh without looking. For instance, the other day Alice comes up to me and says, “Wook Mama. Wook what I made!”
ME: “Oh, how nice! You worked hard on that. (without looking, of course)
ALICE: “Yep! I did! I learned how to do it!”
ME: “Well, good for you. You’re such a smart girl.” (Still reading Zoë’s next assignment)
ALICE: “I am smart! I know how to cut my hair!”
ME: “Yes, you do. Wait. What?”
I finally look up to see Alice examining her hair, from which she has cut five inches, in surprising symmetry, from both sides of her face.
Oh dear god.
Not only are my kids already the slightly sweaty, disheveled ones who arrive at Mother’s Day Out in what might or might not be what they wore yesterday. Now they’re the ones rocking the mullet.
“Where did you do this?” I yell at Alice.
She just keeps looking at her handy work.
“Show me where you did it! Where were you? Where is the hair?!”
Alice takes off running for her room upstairs and I take off after her.
“Show me. Show me!” I yell.
She runs past me, down the stairs, back into the dining room, with me in hot pursuit.
Zoë and Grey are STOMPING along after me, howling with laughter. Screw the circus, we’re like some demented version of the Sahara where elephants and hyenas cross breed.
So I’m pleading with Alice to show me the spot that I’m just sure is strewn with pounds of hair, as if it’s a missing finger I can somehow reattach and Alice is just standing at the end of the dining room table looking a little suspicious that she just might be in trouble and my “students” are hysterical with delight at this, my latest humiliation, and finally, finally, Celia says, “Mama. Mama. Dat IS where Alice cut her hair.”
I look down at the floor. The floor there SIX INCHES from where I’ve been sitting all morning and sure enough – there are wisps of hair, like blown leaves, everywhere.
Y’all. It’s one thing if your threenager sneaks off to a closet, or a bathroom, or even her bedroom to play beauty parlor. But it’s something else entirely if she does it AT. YOUR. ELBOW.
I have learned my lesson. I am contrite and repentant. Things have got to change around here.
I’m banning scissors.