Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Bursting with Pride

Not a lot of time to write, today -- I've got a bunch of things to wrap up before I head to New York City for 5 glorious days this Friday. But I just had to brag on my kids a bit. First, some intros with pictures.

Here's Miranda:

Miranda turned 5 back in September and will be starting kindergarten this August. She's flighty, sensitive, sharp as a whip, inventive, clever, manipulative, and breaks my heart with her sweetness and kind nature on a regular basis. Somehow, Miranda manages to be both independent (with us and our immediate family) and overly reliant on approval (with almost everyone else, particularly other kids) at the same time. This kid is gonna be an amazing adult, assuming her eagerness to please and be adored by everyone doesn't get her in trouble first.

Here's Trevor:

Trevor turned 4 back in April, and judging by his intellectual development so far he will be attending Oxford by Fall 2005. He's already reading (by our estimates) at about a 2nd-3rd grade level and has been spelling and typing words on the computer since before he turned 3. He's got tremendous focus and intensity, and often seems to be either a) contemplating some sort of plan for global domination -- don't worry, he'll be a benevolent ruler. He's a sweetie! -- or b) attempting to levitate objects from across the room.

I swear, these kids are simply the most amazing little beings on the face of the planet. Yeah, it's not always a picnic, but when it's good it's better than anything I could have ever imagined, and it makes the challenges more than worthwhile. But I just need to ramble a bit about something Miranda did today that made me insanely proud.

Our gym has a terrific child care and activity program. Fantastic, really: Enables us (especially Christine) to get plenty of time in at the gym, and the kids are entertained and active all the while (mostly -– sometimes it turns into TV time, which we're not thrilled with, but mostly they bounce around and play).

Anyway, Christine brought Miranda to the gym and dropped her at the Kid's Zone this morning. Shortly afterward, another mom dropped off her 3 year old. It was her first time in the child's room, and the kid was NOT pleased, crying hysterically from moment one, screaming for her mother, etc.

So, what does my daughter do? According to the child care worker that was stationed in the Kid's Zone, and with no encouragement or coaching from anyone, Miranda spent the next 20-30 minutes talking to the little girl, comforting her, singing songs, bringing her tissues, helping her wipe her nose and dry her eyes, finding toys to distract her, talking gently to her, telling jokes, and doing her damnedest to cheer the kid up.

Best of all, it worked. By the time the new kid's mom picked her up the kid was laughing and having a blast.

And here's the kicker: Christine finishes exercising and the manager of the gym wanders over to let her know just how terrific Miranda was with the other girl. So, Christine walks into the Kid's Zone and says "So, Miranda, how'd you do in the Kid's Zone while I was exercising?" expecting, of course, that Miranda would proudly boast about how she cheered up another kid who was upset, anticipating a reward for good behavior (typically a strawberry/banana smoothie).

But, no -- instead, Miranda says "I don't think I'll be allowed to get a smoothie today, Mommy. I didn't listen very well" (we've been focusing on listening skills a LOT lately, and Miranda knows we put a big premium on truthfulness...). Didn't even mention the good stuff until Christine brought it up.

You know, everyone wants their kid to be brilliant, get straight A's, be a star athlete, confident and gorgeous. We put a lot of focus on all these easy to spot, quantifiable things that ultimately place your kid somewhere in a nice, neat pecking order. And of course I want these things for my kids, simply because life can be much easier if you have some or all of them.

But I think above all else I want my kids to be effortlessly kind. Kindness is a sadly overlooked trait in children -- take it from someone who was shit on a bunch as a kid. People don't stop to think about it enough, and there's certainly no test for it. But this world could really do with a bunch more of it.

And here's my daughter just being a flat-out kind person, for no reason at all aside from the fact that she likes other kids, especially younger kids, and there was one who needed some comforting.

This whole thing makes my heart feel too big for my damn chest. How the hell did I get so lucky?

Needless to say, she got her smoothie. And I'm bringing her out for ice cream tonight, too. If Trevor isn't too busy subjugating all of humanity maybe he'll come along, too.

Mood: Busting my buttons
Now Playing: BT, "Emotional Technology"

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