Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Keep You, Emily Dickinson, Always In My Heart

I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea;
- Emily D.

(The following are lessons learned by my 6 ½ year old this last week set to Dickinson’s : I Never Saw A Moor)

Lesson 1: Sometimes the free kite we made at the arts and crafts table in the park is pure crap.

It started at 2:30 on a sunny Saturday afternoon while strolling through the park. You have no idea how stressful a Saturday afternoon can be until you have to entertain a gaggle of little kiddos from sunup to sundown. So…we stumbled upon a little Hakka festival and sat down at the booth to assemble and color our cool little free kite. Xian and her sisters were so excited…. but, about an hour later… you guessed it, the little cheap-o paper kite wouldn’t get off the ground.
Although her younger sisters were still happy to be just playing with paper and string, Xian was in total dejection. She just lay in the middle of the park and felt like dirt. Yes, my darling, sometimes kites suck!

Lesson 2: Don’t threaten to cut off your sisters head with a pair of scissors, people will think you are a sociopath.

Of course, still licking her kite wounds, later during a bathtime flair up, Xian made some outrageous threats. I never thought I would have to discuss passive aggressiveness to a first grader. Yes, my sweetpea, sticks and stones… but words land you in hot water as well.
Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be.
- Emily D.

Lesson 3: Boys are dummies and do dummy things to sweet girls.

I really can’t stand when boys on the playground are mean to my daughters. Later when we get back home, I show them self-defense techniques. How, I don’t care how big and fat that bully boy is, you hit him square in the nose and he will tear up and back down. But sometimes, when one of Xian’s classmates teases her for hugging her Daddy at the class door, I just want to whisper in the boy’s ear…”Hey kid, last night I had a dream that both your parents died in a car accident. I saw their bodies burning… and it was YOUR fault. Sorry buddy. Have a nice day!”
End result: Yes, my little muddpie, boys at his age don’t have a clue.

Lesson 4: Sometimes you get punished for being in Asia.

You wouldn’t believe the amount of homework Xian is given here in Taiwan. Dictation, vocabulary, Chinese calligraphy, mathematics, English reading, Science worksheets… it’s endless. Her teacher stands in front of the class with a microphone and barks orders all day. There are a lot of tears at the kitchen table each night trying to get everything finished. I tell her, yes little love, homework and testing is a part of life here, but I will always show you the correct way.
I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven;
- Emily D.

Lesson 5: Don’t steal stickers off the teacher’s desk.

Xian had her first taste of school discipline the other day as well. She was passing around a book of mysterious stickers and made up a couple of elaborate stories as to where she got it. But I pinned her down. She’s a curious kid, precocious and sly-clever as a fox, but rules are rules… and you’re going to have to return the stickers tomorrow morning, confess to your teacher, and write a letter of apology. I’m sorry, little lemonpie, but this spanking also hurts me more than it is hurting you.

Lesson 6: Don’t tell a lie when caught red handed.

Oh the lies… the lies have already started… do you think I’m going to put up with… Dad, I was over at a friend’s house… or… I don’t know why there is a big scratch on the side of the car…? Really? The lying has started already? This problem ain’t getting solved anytime soon. All I can do is pray. Give me strength. I’m dying here. I’m dying and feel completely and absolutely hopelessly alone. Help. Please!
Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given.
- Emily D.

Lesson 7: Don’t take scissors and cut holes in your clothes.

Well this one is just a no brainer, isn’t it? Sort of like these… don’t bathe your Barbies in the toilet, and don’t put rocks in your mouth, and Band-Aids are not used to hang pictures on walls, and don’t stick pennies up your nostrils, and don’t put milk in the freezer, and don’t leave orange peels under your pillow, and don’t hide my house keys under the piano, and don’t fly paper airplanes out the 19th floor window, and please don’t stick yourself with forks in the bottom, and don’t tear pages out of library books, and don’t take the tv remote control to school for show and tell, and an entire bottle of shampoo is not used for bubble bath, and iPod’s don’t float, vinyl albums are not Frisbees, and finally, and most importantly, my lovely pumpkin… my beautiful little goofball, please… don’t roll your eyes at your Dad.
I used to think, it didn’t matter, whatever came up, my girls would be okay because they had me. They didn’t need to see me or feel me or hear me, as long as I was just close. I would always take care of them… but as they grow now, I see they have to take care of themselves. And the thought scares me to death.

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