We had what was, to my mind, a perfect moment this evening after supper.
Bridget was building and playing in her fantasy world (Minecraft), learning how to spell words like “diary” and “no one” and “secret” and “allowed”.
Jack was finishing his math homework, relaxed and focused, having brought home stellar progress reports from the first month of school.
Hubby was sitting next to me on the couch while I knitted my scarf, occasionally sharing funny videos and articles with me. And playing with the dog.
The TV was off, unneeded. It’s amazing how much easier it has become to turn it off without cable, having our favourite series and films completely on demand without ads. Much preferred over the old stand-by.
And now, as I sit waiting to pick up our teenager from karate, Hubby is helping Bridget with her math, exhibiting much more patience and firm guidance than I could have with her. To be perfectly honest, I sometimes struggle to keep the emotional coolness needed to help with homework after a long day. I get frustrated trying to help her. But Mark understands her and how her mind works, to a far greater degree, in part because she shares many of his personality traits and likely has similar learning disabilities. Certainly, the diagnosis last year of Bridget having a mild intellectual disability fits, and while it’s not quite what he had to struggle against in his youth, it’s close enough. He can relate to her and be the firm voice that she needs.
I think kids just listen differently to one parent than another, especially when one tends to be a pushover (I blame years of being over-tired, particularly while anemic). Or they listen to certain authority figures differently than a mom or a dad. That’s why it takes a village to raise a child: it’s far easier to tune out the voice that’s around even fractionally more frequent, than the voice called in to take over, pinch-hit, or teach a skill set that is one’s own weakness.
It’s much later, now. Bridget is in bed, and by some miracle, she not only finished her math with her dad, she also VOLUNTARILY learned to — by the holiest of Holies — wash the toilet.
Bridget. Cleaned. The. Toilet.
This child, who whined and outright refused for MONTHS whenever I told her to clean the toilet, begging for other jobs to do (and doing them with less and less fanfare), sulking on the couch earlier, scrubbed the toilet with Scrubbing Bubbles’ disposable brush thingy.
I am in heaven.
And I made time to layer the front of the Necronomicon with papier mache — got creative with a little corn starch (and salt for preservative), seeing as I forgot to bring glue home.