In fulfillment of the requirements for my M. Ed program, today was my first day back in a high school . I am now the creepy older student-teacher that hovers at the front of the room, observing and taking notes on student behavior, and occasionally distributing handouts. I’m only there eight hours a week for what is called a practicum, the warm-up to the internship, but I’ve had plenty of time to decide Clara’s fate.
I saw what was probably a girl’s butt today. Her skirt was that short. It was like black Lycra underwear and I want to know who let her out of the house. On Clara’s list of things she will not do at sixteen go the following: fake tan, wear tank tops in forty-degrees, wear underwear and call it a skirt, make fun of student-teachers.
Yet, I know it can be hard to dissuade your child from engaging in potentially hazardous situations. I let Clara bounce on my face, for instance. When she is smiling and having so much fun, I gladly suffer the smell of diaper and a slight crushing of the nose. But I think it’s time to be strong, and I know the way to start is by saying “no” to a tiny, likely insignificant but all the same naughty, indulgence we’ve permitted Clara in her pre-vocal months.
When the Disney’s princess collection and “This Old Man” and “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” all fail to console, the only thing that will make Clara settle in the car is T Pain. I don’t seek rap music out necessarily, and Clara’s affinity for rhythm and rhyme innocently started with “The California Mix,” a very masculine CD Aaron’s brother Joe made him while he, Joe, was living in San Diego. The opening track is an audio clip of the scene when Indiana Jones gets a slap from his girl when he says, so masculinely, “I never meant to hurt you.” So, to remember Uncle Joe, we started boisterously singing along: “Why do I live this way? Hey! Must be the money!”
Now that Clara blows her nose like Dad does every morning and picks up toys when Mom does, we know that she likes doing what we do. And I just won’t be able to forgive myself if her third word is “bitch.” So, no more rap, but here’s a going away present: our last dance party to Mr. Pain (and no making fun of how I dance, Samantha!).
In another bout of mimicry, here’s Clara putting herself to sleep like Mom and Dad:
There’s my girl’s big, bright smile, complete with lots of nose wiggling: