Yesterday marked the Blonde Bombshell's first day at Kindy, a momentous milestone by any measure. Small children with huge hats and giant backpacks are pretty cute, and since I allowed her to chose her own Kindy outfit I had to let her go in her 100% colour coordinated outfit regardless of any personal concern I had about there perhaps being too much teal in one small space.
The thing bugging me though is not the t-shirt she chose with 'gorgeous' emblazoned across it but the form we had to fill out in preparation for an upcoming parent-teacher meeting.
Some of the questions included:
How much TV does your child watch?
Ah, how many hours in a day again?
How does your child deal with frustration?
She will tell you. "I'm just very fwustrated with you right now, Mummy"
How does your child interact with other children?
What, ones she likes or ones she doesn't... very different answers.
How does your child deal with discipline at home?
She responds very well to threats.
And the one that caused me most trouble:
What are your child's strengths and positive attributes?
I got to this question, pen poised and thought 'easy'. But then I stopped. My mind drew a blank. I love her so much and think she is so amazing but I couldn't think of a specific strength. If the question had been 'what are your child's weaknesses' I would have been able to fill the page without thinking: petulant, argumentative, lazy, domestic blindness and deafness, sulky, whingey...
So I called a family conference with the Bombshell's daddy and Young Aunty who was staying over.
'What are the Bombshell's strengths?' I asked.
Everyone opened their mouths and promptly closed them again. The room was silent.
Eventually Young Aunty said 'she's awesome!'
'I can't write that, it's not a quality'.
So we brainstormed. We threw words out and decided if they were appropriate.
'Is she independent?... well, no because she's always saying she can't do things'
'Is she considerate?... well no, because she seems to make more noise when the baby is sleeping'.
It got really depressing. The Bombshell is one of the most fantastic, beautiful little girls you might meet, so why were we having so much trouble? It's like husbands. And houses. We can easily come up with a list of things we would like to change, or need fixing. But what about the things we love and appreciate. When is the last time you said 'I just want to say thank you for always putting the toilet seat down. In 10 years of marriage I have never once needed to ask you to put the seat down.'
Why is harder to find the positive than the negative. Are we afraid of being seen as boastful or showing off? Why is there such a culture of complaint and self-deprecation?
'Generous', I said, knowing that I had finally opened the floodgates. 'She will give you the only pink Smartie even though pink is her absolute favourite colour in the whole world. She will give it to you because she loves you and wants to share her favourite things with you.'
Quick to learn.
The list went on. We ran out of space.