Nothing glamorous or exciting planned for the day, except for a trip to the store to get cabbage.
Late afternoon, and it looked like a good time to head out to the grocery store. We were getting pretty darn low on our homemade fermented sauerkraut, so it was time to go buy more cabbage. Before heading out, I set kiddo up with Netflix; she wanted to watch a movie as part of her literature class. So, with Where the Red Fern Grows all loaded up on her iPad, kiddo settled in to watch her movie. (This meant that I had a good two hours free, and I could get a little shopping in)
Alex went out to tend to the tall grass by the barn, seeing as it seems to be growing a foot every day, and the last foot that it grew sprouted those hideous fox-tail heads. It was definitely time for him to knock those down.
As I was heading out the driveway, Alex waved me down to ask “..if it was a good idea to let her watch the movie, after-all, the book is a bit intense in spots” I reminded him that she had already read the book a couple of years ago, and that she was looking forward to comparing the book to the movie. We reminded each other that she is very good at self-regulating, and that if the movie ever became too much for her, we knew she would turn it off. – We were actively parenting, right there in the driveway! We addressed a concern, we discussed the concern from multiple perspectives, we came to an agreeable conclusion, and we felt good about our parenting! (Hey, you celebrate the parenting wins whenever they happen no matter how small they may be) Woohoo, now I could finally head to the store to buy us some cabbages!
Insert boring shopping stuff here.
On the way to grocery store, I stopped in at the local charity used book store in attempt to find anything written by Kurt Vonnegut. (Harrison Bergeron has come in conversations quite a bit lately, so it is time to acquire our own copy) So, after searching the classics section and coming up empty-handed, I wandered up and down the rows of books waiting for something to jump into my hands. Well, nothing really exciting jumped out at me, although, I am pretty sure I was a witness to a shady deal taking place in said bookstore. My spidey-senses were tingling, and I moved quickly onto my final destination, not really wanting to stick around and confirm what my intuition was telling me.
btw- we ended up buying it on Amazon!
I walked across the parking lot to the grocery store and bought up the last of the organic green cabbages they had. 10 heads would be rolling soon! I only had a couple more items on my grocery list, so I quickly filled my cart and headed to the checkout stand. (side note: pretty darn frustrating to shop in a store and “see” all the ways they manipulate consumers. I guess I know where my kiddo get the “over-analyzing” gene from)
As I was standing in line at the check-out stand, I was reminded how empathic and intuitive I am. (Seriously, how can I be the only one that sees, feels and then interprets all the emotions and drama that is playing out between the store staff?) I literally looked around at the other customers to see if any of them were feeling as awkward as I was being a witness to this drama. But no, all the other customers were blissfully unaware. So, was I just reading something into the situation, making more of something than was really there? That is a possibility, however, based on my intuitive track record, I think not. (This is another reason I love shopping online) I shook off the awkward moment, and proceeded to pay for my groceries and then loaded up the car.
And end boring shopping stuff here.
I returned to our property, and could see quite an improvement in our landscape around the barn and chicken coop; and I could see that Alex was still out working his way towards our driveway gate. (he sure got a lot accomplished in the 90 minutes that I was gone.) I drove on past him towards the house, knowing kiddo would help unload those cabbages that by now were rolling around the back of my car.
When I drove up to the house and called out for help unloading…kiddo bounced up the stairs and started bringing in bags. “oh, leave the cabbage in the car” I called out. “Your dad will get them.” (somehow I had visions of cabbages rolling down our steep driveway as she would most likely try to carry too many heads of cabbage in at one time)
I started to put away the food, and as she finished bringing the last bag in, I casually asked, “how was the movie?” …and our lives as we knew them ceased to exist.
Little did I know it then, but this one moment in time would be pivotal. Neither our kiddo nor ourselves would ever be able to go back to “the before”. Nope, my simple question immediately launched all of us into the future…where we will now all be living…with a newly extended vocabulary.
So to recap, I said “how was the movie?” and then kiddo proceeded to go into a rant…
“I can’t even begin to tell you how upset I am.”
“Do you know how many times I wanted to just scream at the screen?
“I tell you this, I really wanted to punch the screen.”
“If punching the screen would in some way actually inflict a small amount of “wake the heck up” and inject even a small dose of “common sense”, I would gladly pay the price to repair my monitor”
During her rant, as I continued to put food away, I had already come to the conclusion that in no way was she this upset about Where The Red Fern Grows…nope, I just knew that she had moved on to a different movie, and had grown up a little in the process.
Finally, with all the food put away, I just stood back quietly and waited for her to catch her breath (or at least to stop ranting), and when she finally did, she realized that I was just staring at her. My little intuitive kiddo blinked her eyes as if she was just seeing me for the first time, and said…
“Oh, the movie was great…pretty much like the book except for a scene or two.”
“But I finished that movie and moved on to watching More Than Honey”
“it’s that documentary about bees and beekeeping…and seriously…he said…”
“…and can I tell you that man is an…”
“argh, I can’t even…..can’t even find the word…”
“he is just a…a…”
So this is when I stepped up in the parenting department. My extremely verbal, well spoken and well read child was struggling to find an appropriate word, and as any good parent would do, I helped her out… “ah, the word you are looking for is “ass”, that man is an ass.”
Without skipping a beat kiddo replied, “Yeah, I guess this would be a good time to use that word. You are right, that man is an ass!”
And with those simple utterances of the word ass, first by me and then by her, we arrived at a new place in our lives.
So you see, we can’t go back to “the before”. She has seen a documentary and has seen the ugly human side of greed and business, and there is no way we can just pretend that she didn’t see it. And, there is no way for her to believe that people like that man don’t exist. She has probably always known all of these things, however, seeing it play out in front of your eyes, watching it unfold in the messy way that it does is something that leaves you changed.
And, so in our greatest parenting move of the day, we gave her the vocabulary she was lacking, in her search to describe her frustration and disgust with what she was processing. We gave her the word ass!
Looking back on that moment, I really wish I had a little advanced warning; I would have wrapped “ass“ up and put a bow on it. After all it isn’t every day that you unlock the cheap/easy/dirty words and pass them around to your kids.
So, yeah as parents, we were totally right about her being able to self regulate just fine. The intense scenes from a movie based on classic literature didn’t bother her at all, and truth be told, her response to the More Than Honey documentary was absolutely in line with what was called for.
In addition, as parents we learned a valuable lesson – Every now and then your kiddo will need help and permission to call an ass an ass. Now, can we please turn these cabbages into some sauerkraut?