Victory With The Shoelaces And The Love Of Books

I did not clean anything today.

Nope.  Nothing.

All I did was wander around my house today, in some sort of bewildered daze, because there was order and cleanliness where a frat house on a Saturday morning had once been.  I felt energized and completely capable of ANYTHING.  I could balance the checkbook, whip up a bit of gourmet food for the crockpot or run the bulldozer myself through our backyard.

I did none of those things, but I could have.  My energy was just that high.

Instead, I taught a 1st grader how to tie her shoes in gym class today, and that is almost the same as operating heavy machinery in your yard, when you don’t know what all the levers and buttons are capable of producing.

This little 1st grade girl is the definition of sweetness.  She wears cowgirl boots with her dresses.  She says, “Please” and “Thank you.”  She grins and she twirls and she holds hands with her best friend.  And she never dunks her head into the drinking fountain for a good, old-fashioned cool-down after PE is over.

(WORDS I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY, BEFORE I WAS A PE TEACHER:  “The drinking fountain is FOR DRINKS!  We DO NOT shove our heads in there and soak our hair.  I don’t care how sweaty you are.  I don’t care if it IS 103 degrees outside.  Drinks, and drinks only, boys.”)

My 1st grade PE class had gotten underway this afternoon.  We were doing some jumping jacks and some push-ups, which — let’s face it — were more belly flops against the gym floor with our arms in the push-up position than anything else.  We were moving and shaking, and I was wondering why I hadn’t decided to earn a college degree in Office Management at the university, so that I could have been sitting in an air-conditioned office, stapling piles of paper neatly in the upper left-hand corner.  And right there, in the midst of me wondering why I wasn’t filing something somewhere, I heard the greatest sobs of ever.

They were the gut-wrenching sobs, which are usually reserved for MY HAMSTER JUST DIED and SHE SAID THAT I CAN’T COME TO HER BIRTHDAY PARTY.  In other words, they were very serious sobs.  I looked over, and here was my darling little girl… cowgirl boots kicked to the side, bent over the gym shoes on her feet, wailing in utter misery.  Exercises were immediately aborted, because sobs like those cannot be ignored.

When I squatted down to her level and asked her what was wrong, she said through a considerable amount of snot and tears and hiccups, “I cannot tie my own shoes!  And I WANT to tie my own shoes!  I want to be a shoe-tie-er person, and no one will show me how!”

A shoe-tie-er person.  I’m not even sure how you would spell that out, so that’s the best that I can do.

I passed the Push-Up-Leading baton to a very capable first grade boy.  I asked him to (gasp!) take my place in exercises and be the leader.  He is a very solemn, serious fellow, who TOOK HIS NEW JOB SERIOUSLY.  He belted out a countdown for sit-ups like a military sergeant on a forty-mile hike; he pushed his class to their physical limits.  People in Guatemala could have heard him, what with all the enthusiasm and volume he put into his vocal cords.

And so that is how I found myself sitting on a bench along the gym wall, telling this little girl, “We can learn this together.  I can teach you.”

Because potty training the boy was the worst thing I ever did, but teaching that kid to tie his shoelaces in kindergarten was a snap.

This afternoon, we crossed shoestrings like a giant X.  We pushed one through this big hole.  We made loops and chased the loops and ducked into another hole.  In the end, we had the biggest, sloppiest bow on her sneaker that you ever did see.  And then I untied that bow and had her do it again.  And again.  And another time.  And even once more.  And let me tell you this:  Her bows aren’t solid and tight, but sweet Krispy Kreme donuts, THEY ARE THERE!

And so that’s what I did today.

Riveting, I know.

And also?  Well.  I may have struck out at providing the boy with a love for reading, but I might have a second chance at this with Thing 2.  I’ve made no secret about it on this blog:  The boy can read like a gold medal champion.  He can pronounce words that are twenty-nine letters long.  He can retain everything he reads for the rest of his  life.  But he loathes, hates and despises reading.  He’d rather swallow lit firecrackers than sit down and read a book for JUST THE FUN OF IT.  I don’t know how this happened, because I read to that kid while I was pregnant with him!  I read to him as a newborn… as a baby… as a toddler… as a small fry.  I hauled him to the library and let him max out our library cards with all the books he chose.

And then, somewhere around 2nd grade, he decided that DO YOU KNOW WHAT?  READING IS BORING AS ALL GET OUT.  And if it’s a good book, they’ll make it into a movie, which I can just watch in two hours and be done with it.

But just look at these snapshots of Thing 2 from this morning!

IMG_8694 IMG_8696 IMG_8698Yep!

I’m running into this with my Clean House Energy and my I Just Taught A First Grader To Tie Her Shoelaces Energy.

By next week, I think Thing 2 will have The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in front of him.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

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