Childcare advice books often tell parents to give their children choices. So instead of “Do you want to get into your pajamas?” it’s more like “Which pajamas do you want to wear — the red ones or the blue ones?” The thinking is that you make the child feel more in control and so they’re less likely to resist.
This never works with Jack.
Jack has always been the person who goes for Secret Choice C. To the pajama question, he might say “I don’t want to wear pajamas tonight” or “Let’s play a game instead” or “I’m not ready for bed yet.” He does not fall for the con. He regularly ignores the choices you present him with and forges his own way.
This particular personality trait use to aggravate us to no end. But now it’s giving us a case of the awwwwwwww’s. And that’s all because of, believe it or not, homework.
Yes, that’s right. Homework. In Kindergarten. Jack’s teacher gives a workbook of about 5 sheets each week, and the kids are encouraged (but not required) to do a page a night. It’s a way to build a good habit, and I approve. On one of the first nights, however, my wife got into a fight with him about the page for that night. He was supposed to color numbered apples red and lettered apples green. There we go with the choices again, right? He decided he thought some of them should be orange and threw a fit when Katherine told him “that’s not how this one works, buddy.”
But now we’re seeing how that creativity really blossoms. He had another assignment where he was supposed to draw a happy face next to things he liked and a sad face next to things he didn’t. I saw the final product. Ice cream? Happy. Rain? Sad. Bicycle? Happy. Spider? Scared.
Yup, he drew a scared face… a face with a little O for a mouth. Hilarious.
Jack’s a creative little devil, is what he is. He dutifully did another apple coloring run (even reading the names of the colors off the worksheet, to our delight) and then started coloring the page. But he saw a bird so he drew a birdhouse too. We taught him rock-paper-scissors, and he changed it to sword-forcefield-gun. (Ah, boys.) And don’t get me started on when he wants you to “play Legos” with him, which means he wants you to sit there while he makes up a lengthy narrative explaining who each guy is and what he’s doing and how he found the things he has. Little things like that keep popping up in his ‘work’ and his ‘play.’ It’s very gratifying to see his brain ignore the rules and come up with creative solutions to everything. Even if it means you have to be prepared for secret choice C.