Originally published by Home Educating Family. Reprinted with permission by HEF and the author (that's me).
You know how irritating it is when you gestate a human for ten months and expel it from your nether regions only to have someone comment how much your infant looks like your husband? You can smile all you want, but inside you’re seething a little because come on, you gave up your very life and soul and brain cells and coordination and sleep and those size four jeans – the least that baby could do is look like you, right? Sadly, the burning desire to personally populate the earth with clone troopers of yourself never seems to dwindle from that point on. So, they look like Hubby or maybe Great Aunt Ethel or Heaven forbid, Uncle Krusty, but maybe, just maybe, they’ll share your love for books, for gardening, for expensive footwear, or all things cheese.
But maybe they won’t.
There have been some cute things running around Facebook lately about left brains and right brains. This confuses me because I don’t really seem to fit in in either brain. Great, I’m a No Brain. I knew it! Curses. I’m being picked last for the dodge ball tournament of brainiacs. As usual. And weirdly enough, whenever I am clearly one-or-the-other-brained on something, my daughter will be the very opposite.
Case in point:
Me: “Let’s go on a nature walk! We can take hot cocoa in travel mugs and pick up leaves and sketch pictures of rock formations!”
Daughter: “Nah, I have to finish reading about millipedes.”
Huh? Wha? What language is the young whippersnapper speaking anyhow? Here’s another conversation I recently had with my very left brained daughter:
Me: “Get off the computer already! I have to pin education things on Pinterest because it makes me feel like I’m a better homeschooling mom!”
Daughter: “I’m not done with my science lesson.”
Me: “Science? Who told you to do some science? I don’t even require science in this here homeschool!”
It’s like we are on a totally different planet sometimes. Then, there’s my other daughter, who is definitely right brained. (See? Everyone has a clear brain except for me. My brain can’t decide whether to organize my junk drawer or paint unicorns on the walls. Make a to-do list or write poetry? Research something or invent a cookie recipe? Do you see my problem?)
Me: “Hey, daughter, could you get out of that tree and try to accomplish something today?”
Other daughter: “I am accomplishing something: I’m learning to speak caterpillar and braiding my hair.”
Me: “I think we need a science lesson.”
Other daughter: “I think we should skip that idea and you should go invent a new cookie recipe.”
My third child being a boy – one of those strange, unexplained enigmas of the male species – I have yet to figure out which brain he has. It’s been flipped upside down like a pancake so many times from his ninja practice that I’m not sure there is anything left but green jello inside his noggin. But he’s awfully cute, so we’re hoping he’s not college material.
But in all seriousness, it’s hard to have children who are in every way possible, opposite than you yourself are. If you are a night owl, you can bet your bottom dollar you will have one of those types who spring out of bed at five a.m. and bounce through the house singing at the top of his lungs while you stumble to the coffee maker and place your lips under the dispenser. I’m a big reader and someone lied to me when I had my first baby. I know! Can you imagine lying through your teeth to a pregnant lady? They said – get this – if you read to your baby and your children grow up watching you love books then they will become readers themselves.
No, they won’t. They will just turn the volume on the television up louder and learn to get away with all sorts of mischievous shenanigans while Mommy is absorbed in a political thriller. I’ve followed this erroneous advice to the letter. Why, I’ve even gone above and beyond in my fevered pursuit to educate my children and make them into bibliophiles! I’ve read so much I’ve burned dinner, forgotten to bathe babies, not shopped for milk, boiled kettles dry, and nearly starved the dog, but do you think my children are big readers? Not hardly. They take after their dad yet again and tell me they’ll wait for the book to come out in a wii version. It’s like they haven’t seen my sacrifice at all…it’s a pickle.
The rebellion of my children doesn’t stop there. They don’t always like the same foods, the same activities, the same hobbies, or the same life goals. Example: I want to have a quiet bubble bath. They do not want me to have a quiet bubble bath. I want them to sleep a full twelve hours every night. They insist on getting by with nine. I have a fear and loathing of crafts. They seem to enjoy the evil little activities. I love to write. They would rather bang their foreheads against the table in a strange synchronized melody. They like K-Love. I like Bon Jovi.
I suppose there are some things we have in common. We all like Everything Bagels, movies, dogs, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We may argue on the movie choice (I refuse to watch Homeward Bound II one more time. Ever. Everrrrrrrrrrrrrr. They refuse to watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers one more time. Ever. Spoil sports). We may argue on the snack food during said movie (I don’t like popcorn. I like sugar snap peas. They object. Spoil sports). But at the end of the day, our socked feet piled up on the couch together where you can hardly tell whose toes belong to whom, and the tantalizing smell of Everything bagels in the air, we are a family. Different. The same. Together, we make our world go round.