I have a super power.
It is my, what I like to call…
I found myself having to whip it out this week in fact.
I came downstairs the other morning to find Joey sitting at my computer playing a 21 Pilots song on his ukulele.
This is the face I wanted to pull.
I also wanted to do a lot of this
But instead I did this (or something a little bit like it).
Maybe not quite so disapproving, but more bored acknowledgement is what is
But before I go on, let me set the scene.
A few weeks ago I booked Joey into an upcoming holiday program that was based around expressing your life in a musical way. All very esoteric, but fun sounding none the less.
Knowing that music is one of our weak points, I thought it would be both a great way to help fill a gap, and have Joey spend the mornings with some mates being creative. It would also be a good round-up to the end of Young Voices choir, and would hopefully keep that musical spark alive a little longer.
What happened next surprised me.
Cue full on 10-year-old preteen sullen, sulky, scowly grump!
I was a little bit shocked.
He is not normally a sulky child. But I spent the next 2 hours with a very unhappy boy. He didn’t want to go, hadn’t asked to go, and was very disappointed in me for booking him in without asking. I was put into parenting purgatory, the waiting place of all parents who don’t know whether the decisions they have made in life will lead them to heaven or to hell.
Had I done the wrong thing? How does this fit with child led learning? How is this me allowing him to be autonomous? What am I going to do, I have already emailed his mates parents and some of them have booked on as well?
But that is a whole other blog post for another day.
Come Monday morning, and he decides he will go. He was after all looking forward to seeing his friends, and we had just come off a week of similar kinds of situations, where he thought he would hate something I signed us up for and he had in fact loved it.
Cue this face.
I dropped him off and he seemed happy enough to be there, and the angst of the previous fortnight had faded away. I manged to catch up with him later in the afternoon, at another activity and he seemed to be feigning his own indifference to the morning’s workshop.
But the next morning, we had moved beyond indifference to fully embracing what he had been learning.
He’d searched up a song he wanted to learn.
He’d taught himself the chords and the strumming pattern.
He was perfecting the song and searching up new songs to learn as well.
I was very excited indeed. I had been released from purgatory into the realms of parenting heaven.
But I didn’t want to show that excitement, nor gush over what he was doing because he wasn’t ready for that. He was still owning his win quietly himself.
Which here in lies my secret parenting super power; feigned indifference.
That moment when you really want to display one set of emotions to an event/converstation, but put on an act of indifference toward it instead.
There have been many times I have had to do this as a parent.
Potty wins with a self-conscious child.
Hearing a story about how someone has hurt my kid, and trying to remain calm and suppress the inner tiger mother that wants to leap and rip someone’s throat out.
When Joey tells me how awful a parent I am for booking him into music classes, but in actual fact leads to him deciding to embrace an instrument and autonomously learn it.
These are the moments of parenting, where we know our over reactions, let alone positive/negative reactions might somehow hinder the next little bit of progress that needs to happen.
It take great restraint to deliberately feign indifference and really should come with a cheer leading squad hid behind the corner so that when I have pulled it off, I get to go high-5 everyone and have a mini ticket-tape parade to celebrate that I have just managed to not spew emotion all over my child.
But alas these moments do not come with a cheer squad nor a parade.
Just the warm glow of inner contentment that I have witnessed myself do something remarkable; I held back when I have wanted to rush forward.
How about you? Have you had moments where feigning indifference, has been the best response for your child?
Is it just me that feels like a super hero when I have managed to win at parenting?