We are trying really hard to teach our children to be direct. I abhor passive aggressivenessy (what? I started with "agressivity" but spellcheck didn't recgonize it as a word. I tried to change it to "aggressiveness" but I wound up with "aggressivenessy"-- I'm keeping it! I like the look of it.) If you are mad at me, tell me. If you'd like me to do something for you, ask me. Please don't wait for me to read your mind or guess what it is you are sighing about. I try to be sensitive to those around me, but sometimes I miss the subtle clues. Actually, the kids are anything but subtle -- what they are getting at is so obvious it is ridiculous. They may as well come out and say it.
Oliver uses the "somebody" way of beating around the bush. "Somebody should take us to the pool." "Is somebody going to make lunch?" "I want somebody to play Candyland with me." He makes these statements looking me directly in the eye.
Moses says "I wish." "I wish I could play a computer game." "I wish we could have Kool-Aid at dinner." "I wish I could have Derek over to play." As if those requests were so far out of the realm of reason that he dare not ask...only cross his fingers and hope fate lands them in his lap.
Last night Phoebe demonstrated beautifully my failure so far at teaching directness. They were all in their rooms for the night and Paul and I were heading downstairs to watch Letterman and eat pistachios from a giant bag my parents bought at Sam's Club. Phoebe heard noise in the kitchen and came to investigate. Eyeing the big bag she said, "I sure am hungry for popcorn." Paul said, "It's not popcorn," and continued his rummaging around the kitchen. "I sure am hungry for chips," she said without missing a beat. "It's not chips," he replied. "I sure am hungry for cereal." "Not cereal." And finally, "I sure am hungry for crackers." "It's not crackers," he called over his shoulder, rounding the corner for the stairs leaving her alone to wonder if she would be having a snack, if only she'd guessed right.
When I sat down at the computer to start this post, I knew what I was going to write about what I'm never exactly sure how it's going to play out. This time Phoebe was in here. For a while I was excited that she can read like a fourth grader. Then I realized she can read my stuff. Privacy suddenly takes some doing. She was reading over my shoulder and asked what "direct" means, as in "We are trying really hard to teach our children to be direct." I explained using the story above. I then asked if she would please excuse me for a few minutes while I finished writing. She said, "Yes, but I'm only in here because I want to be with you."
That was very direct.
Maybe I'm not failing after all.
And if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play dominoes with my daughter.
Have a great holiday weekend.