I Admit It: Sometimes I’m Wrong

My daughter has a finicky palate, downright picky if you want to know the truth. Oh, she covers all the food groups, but each meal sits in plain, depressing piles on her plate. In my gut I know things will eventually be all right. I also know our battles are just that, battles.

Left free to graze in the open spaces of someone else’s pantry, she’s a bit less stubborn. I’ve stolen glances from the corner of my eye as she nibbled a hard-boiled egg at a Brownie troop meeting. “Are they eating hard-boiled eggs?” I asked another mom in bewilderment. I swore my eyes deceived me. Another time she held sushi to her lips while I waited for pigs with wings to burst into the room and buzz around our heads.

If you ask my opinion about my daughter’s menu selections, I will often tell you, “She won’t eat that” because I know she’ll scrunch up her nose, supersize her frown, and turn her head in disgust like a disapproving toddler. But I’ll tell you to try her anyway, just in case. Sometimes, though rarely, I’m flabbergasted when my daughter eats a plateful of rice at a friend’s house just because she wanted to have dinner there.

Sometimes I only think I know my kids.

I’ve dreaded soccer games because I didn’t want to see my kid skipping and hopping all over the field only to be surprised with a goal. I’ve skimmed math homework and felt my stomach sink with the weight of a concrete pill only to have my daughter’s mental math work five times more quickly than my own. I’ve taken chances on clothes for my kids that I didn’t think they’d wear once I cut the tags off. Now I can’t get those same clothes off them long enough for a spin in the wash.

Sometimes it feels good to be wrong.

My son wanted to try out for Elementary Battle of the Books this year. The team reads twelve assigned books and then competes in a Jeopardy-like competition against other schools. When he expressed his interest, I was doubtful and, to be honest, not very supportive. He likes to pick his own fantasy-based books. Some of the books on this list deal with real-life issues, not wizards and hobbits. Some of the main characters are girls for Pete’s sake. And he struggles with reading comprehension. Against the group of kids competing for a team spot, I wasn’t sure he could do it.

Book after book, my son fussed and complained. He didn’t like it. It was boring after the first chapter. “Give it time,” I said. “You have to get into the story.” The next thing I knew, he couldn’t put the book down and he proclaimed it the best book ever, even some with girls as the stars.

My son talked about quitting, but after reading five books he had dedicated so much time. He couldn’t walk away. He wanted to see whether he made the team. I was proud of him for making the effort. I saw such transformation: He went from a boy who would only read fantasy to a boy who could appreciate a good story, who no longer judged a book by its cover.

He made the team.

Just when I think I know my kids, they prove how much they change and grow every day. So being wrong sometimes feels like a victory. And it feels good to admit it.

summer reading

Some of my son’s summer reading selections. Will a battle of the books change that?

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35 Comments

Filed under Everyday Life

35 responses to “I Admit It: Sometimes I’m Wrong

  1. The teacher in me just loves the story of your son falling love with books! Can I ask what grade he’s in, and what some of the titles were? (always looking for new material to entice my students!)

    • He’s in fourth grade. He has always loved books but I’ve always had trouble getting him to branch out. He would have reread Harry Potter a dozen times if I hadn’t enticed him with other fantasy stuff. For the team he has read The Lemonade War, How to Steal a Dog, Because of Winn-Dixie (he loved all of those), Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Poppy, Found, A Dog’s Life, and Tuck Everlasting, which he has almost finished. Four more to go in the next four weeks.

  2. This could be me speaking – uncannily similar to my experiences raising Ming!

  3. I have the same experiences. This is why I’m glad Dimples goes to school – where the expectations are far higher than my own. I remember when I first dropped her off at daycare at 8 weeks old. I told the caregiver she eats every two hours. When I picked her up, there was tons of milk left, and the caregiver calmly said she was totally fine eating every 4. Ever since then, the kid has constantly surpassed my expectations. You would think I would have learned by now.

    • As parents our kids expect us to know everything. So when I don’t, I am always a bit shocked and mildly amused. I think it’s good to be put in my place from time to time. It’s a good reminder that the kids have their own lives and we’re part of it, not in control.

  4. you’ve articulated a scenario in which i’d be happily wrong as well. not easy. glad he made the team. the do surprise us… :)

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  6. Kids. They are full of surprises :-)

  7. Fabulous and honest post.. Thanks for sharing and good on your boy! Fantastic work He is doing! Blessings to you all!

  8. I bet it works the same way for food and books — when Mom’s excited, something must be not at all fun! “Curb your enthusiasm” was my motto!

    • Oh you nailed it, Elyse! And unfortunately food and books are two things I get pretty excited about. I think I’ve figured out the book part. I just learned to check out some books I thought my son would like and start reading them on my own without a word about them. He got interested pretty quickly. It’s the food part that’s tricky. I can’t not talk about food because I think and talk about it 24/7. If I could be as strong as the parents in Bread and Jam for Frances. Love that book. ;)

  9. Great post! I especially loved the part with your son. I adore middle grade fiction :)

  10. Love it! I have had the same experiences of being pleasantly surprised by my kids’ willingness or talent or interests. I agree – it feels good to be wrong! And please send your kids over to my house – our daughters have the same eating interests and your son and my daughter have the same love of fantasy books! We’re reading The Golden Compass together now and loving it. A little harder than what she’s used to, but good stuff. Also, he may want to check out The Golden Scarab series – similar to Percy J. Great post!

    • Never heard of Golden Scarab. Will have to check it out. There are so many books I’d love for him to read, so many foods I’d love for her to try. I guess they will have to make their own discoveries. ;)

  11. I love it when they prove you wrong in a good way!

  12. I have the same issue with both of my girls and their eating habits. I have been thoroughly surprised over the years to see what they will eat for others but not for me. The doctor told us to leave them alone and they would eat when they get hungry…In the mean time vitamins are a godsend.

  13. I love this! So true, every word of it. Well said!

  14. Sometimes being wrong never feels so good. ;)

  15. I’m wrong all the time. I kinda like it. Takes the pressure off.

    Good luck on the new reading. Just when my kids “take” to something great that makes them better little human beings, they’re off it just as fast and on to something else. Gives me whiplash; I’ve stopped trying to keep up anymore.

  16. So true. I love when I’m wrong about my kids but I absolutely hate when I say, ” Oh, he won’t eat that,” and then he does. In front of my mother who thinks I have made him a picky eater. Hahaha

    • I’m not sure they can be made. Supported maybe. ;) I could tell the first time I gave my daughter baby food it would be a struggle. And it has been. Every single meal since, seven years later. I can’t wait until she can cook for herself! I have no doubt she will become a chef one day just to spite me.

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