A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Long Division

Sometimes I have to say, life with children plays out like a comedy. One moment they hate your guts for telling them (for the nth time) to clean up after themselves and the next moment they think you're Hercules because you squished a spider with your house slippers. From "boo hiss Mummy",  it turns into "hooray Mummy, you're our hero.

The 3 year old is... well... to put it nicely... a born contrarian but I've documented this fact from time to time on this blog. But there are moments when she's quite delightful. The other day she had one of her really endearing moments. She was studying an old, dusty wedding photo when the husband and I were 8 kgs lighter or more (in his case). She correctly identified all the major players -- Daddy, Mummy, Nana, Grandad, Grandpa except the one she didn't really know (my mother). And then she declared that she loved us all because we are "her family". For a moment there, it almost sounded like we were all part of an exclusive club.
I am convinced that these sporadic displays of cuteness are well-timed as balm to parental angst and frustration about whether anything we do sinks in.
Actually the girls are surprisingly good natured when you consider that their mother is such a grumpy o'l soul.

It's been a while since I've done any long division. Long division, times tables, algebra... fragments of my childhood that I was happy to leave behind. I was relieved to see the last of mathematics when I finished high school and started my liberal arts education. But when I watch the 9 year old plod through maths at school, all the old nightmares have come back to haunt me.

I was surprised that despite the passage of years, I could still do the whole long division thing. The husband, who did Maths at uni was impressed because, as he says, he can only "do it in my head". I suppose I should take it as a backhanded compliment that I can actually work it out on paper but can't do it mentally.

Long division assumes that one is familiar with the multiplication tables and assumes that you can add, subtract, multiply. In other words, one must know the fundamentals. Otherwise the complicated stuff doesn't make sense.
Parenting is also about getting the fundamentals right, I think. Things like loving your spouse, loving your kids, providing boundaries, teaching the kiddies to take responsibility for one's own actions and accepting the consequences of their own actions. None of us do it perfectly but I think they are the things we keep going back to over and over again.
Life in the modern age can get complicated with a myriad of choices on offer out there. But isn't it interesting that it's the simple things like make good choices and having healthy boundaries that help us steer through the moral relativism that so pervades the big bad world out there.
Just like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

1 comment:

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