Friday, 12 February 2010

Nonchalant accomplishment

I love the could-not-give-a-monkeys attitude of youth, specifically of toddlerdum.

The look of; ‘yeah-what-of-it-no-big-deal’.

It is a beautiful thing.

There are times that non-communication goes from being ridiculously annoying, to wonderfully cute, in a flash.

Like the daily post-school quiz;

“How was school?”


“What did you enjoy doing?”

“Can’t remember.”

That one has an – almost – daily play out in our father and son dialogue.

Even on days that he has got something to say.

Like last week, when I discovered in his bag, a certificate of achievement, apparently awarded for being very creative in his production of an African drum.

When quizzed, he explained what it was for, and that it was awarded to him in front of the rest of the school. In a very matter-of-fact way. I love that about him, and children in general.

Proud of what he had achieved, but not hung up on it. Like it is a massive deal that it isn’t, inadvertently pressuring himself to achieve similar in the future.

I am all for rewarding effort, especially over achievement, and I was enthused to see he had been recognised for his creativity rather than his actual production.

Then after one of his recent swimming lessons, which could have even been on the same day, he hands me a piece of paper before rushing off for a warm shower.

Confirmation of his first swimming badge, swimming five metres unaided.

I waited for him to return from the shower, to my warm, towel buffered embrace. We exchanged the usually pleasantries, how was it? etc, but no immediate mention of the achievement.

Then small reference was made to it, which enticed my son into explaining why it had been awarded him, and as I squeezed him tighter to physically demonstrate my approval, he further explained the significance of the award.

“It’s got a whale on, because whales are five metres long.”

Which either, he added for colour, or means his swim instructor has topped-out in his career.

But throughout the whole process of me voicing, enthusing, and demonstrating my pleasure at his achievement, his look was one of warmth, but also of a little confusion, looking all but-isn’t-that-why-I’m-having-swimming-lessons-duh at me.

I do hope I am interpreting this behaviour correctly, as glorious calmness, rather than him being emotional stunted.

If so, I don’t know what I am prouder of, his achievements, or his composed nature of accepting them.

Probably the latter.