Saturday, September 10, 2011

Finding the Silver Lining

School commenced this past week, and my Pocket Rocket started kindergarten.

I love him to pieces, but I'm also a little relieved he's out of the house for three and a half hours a day. In a way, he reminds me of a border collie that has to be kept constantly busy, or else it starts eating shoes and furniture. When my puppy starts devising ways to amuse himself, nothing good ever comes of it.

For instance, several weeks ago, I was lying in bed, trying to get the baby to sleep when I heard my husband yelling at the top of his lungs. I raced downstairs, and then I freaked out, too.

The entire family room was caked with greasy, white, melty globs of coconut oil. It covered the floor, the couch, the air conditioner, the media center, clothes I had just ironed, pillows, tables, toys... The place looked like a snow globe that had settled. Indeed, that was just what our Whirling Dervish had planned. With its solid, snowy appearance and moldable texture, coconut oil seemed like the perfect medium for starting "a snowball fight." And from all appearances, he flung it with much gusto at his elder sibling. (At least my older son had the good sense not to participate.)

The kicker is that the little stinker didn't seem at all abashed -- not even while my husband and I were chastising him. Quite the opposite, rather. He was so pleased with his new game that he was still trying to demonstrate to us exactly how it worked.

He's the complete opposite of my oldest child who maintains a healthy appreciation for law and order. No, from the very beginning, my second child has been Shiva, the destroyer of worlds. The first clue came when he was just a little over six months old and he removed all the knobs from a dresser in a hotel in under four minutes. This marked the start of a career in demolition and destruction.

So now my mischief-maker is in kindergarten, and I've been concerned for months that he might not do well in a more regulated setting.

"How was your day?" I asked, when he came home on his very first day of school.

Delightedly he enthused, "Awesome!"

"What did you do today?"

He happily replied, "Oh, nothing." Then after a few moments, he continued quite proudly, "Guess what?! I got to yellow today! But I didn't get to red! Isn't that great?!" (Note: Yellow is a disciplinary warning for misbehaving kids. Red is real trouble.)

I sympathize with his teacher. Truly, I do. In a hundred years, I don't think she'll ever meet another child capable of creating as much chaos as mine.

At the same time, though, I couldn't help but think how nice perspective can be. Only my kid would see the sunny side of being disciplined. I had to smile at his self-confidence. Whereas other kids might be mortified or discouraged, his self-esteem had only been boosted by the event. Being able to find the silver lining is a lovely quality. I hope he never loses it.

Piracicaba by Tiago Hoisel

I know I've linked to this image before, but I really think this is my kid.


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