Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Deep thoughts from the bowling alley

Our blitzkrieg through the 781 area code included a stop at the Children's Museum of Boston, where Miss M and my college roommate's* son, J, would have gladly stayed on the floor with the bubbles and the running water for, I don't know, EVER.

Miss M got completely soaked, despite the smock, and then we had to take her out in the 20 degree chill. A fine parenting moment; thank goodness we were only parked about a block away.

Shabbat ended at 5 Saturday evening, and I was itching to run away to Paris with Taxman do something besides watching our hosts, the Zs, wash dishes and check their email. Because Miss M had taken a late nap, I suggested candlepin bowling, with bumpers in her lane. (I lived in Boston when I was a little kid, so this was my only bowling experience until I was about 14. I was never good at the grownup kind. Well, either kind, to be truthful.)

Miss M grooved on the bowling shoes, but could only be coaxed to roll toss a few balls down the lane. Even though she refused to participate in the Mommies (& toddler) vs. Daddies showdown after the first frame, we kept the bumpers up.

I am sure the bumpers improved my game, but somehow it didn't feel like cheating. I never managed to knock down all 10 pins, despite the three chances per round, and had a lot of trouble getting the four pins smack in the middle of the lane, but never had a gutter ball, naturally. It was fun, although I tended to forget the bumpers were there.

I got to thinking that this is how I want my parenting to be as the kids grow. I want to be the bumpers. To buffer Miss M and AM from the big stuff and the absolutely wasted chances. They will have the opportunity to make mistakes, to experiment, and to find their own holes, but I want to give them just a little boost. I want them to forget that I am helping unless they look back for a reminder. Then I'll be right there.

* My roommate is a true carrot-top, and at the museum had the following exchange with a stranger:

"Oh! Where did she get those curls?"
"I don't know; she's not mine. I can see how you'd think that, though."

1 comment:

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