Chart Number 206

February 19, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Sometimes commercials for companies can hit beyond cheesy, and I’m sure millions of other families enjoy poking fun at these ads as much as we do. The latest one to make itself the center circle on our target was the commercial for SafeLite, the company that will come and replace your windshield wherever you need to.

In the story for this ad, a mom comes to her vehicle and discovers a crack in the windshield. She laments that she doesn’t have time “for this” and pulls out her cell phone to contact SafeLite. The smiling representative, clearly waiting on tenterhooks for her call, reassures her that he’ll come and fix the windshield so she can attend her tween daughter’s basketball game.

The commercial cuts to a shot of the game, where said tween catches the ball and then looks up and shoots. We have to assume that she’s shooting for the basket because we don’t see the basket. We just see her catch, turn, shoot, and then pump a fist and run off.

“She probably didn’t even make it in,” I said with a laugh.

“Yeah, based on the parabola the ball made, she definitely didn’t make it in,” Nine said with a grin.

Parabola?? Really? Do other nine-year-olds talk like this? And how was she able to judge the parabola that fast?

My kids are not normal.

***

Every Tuesday Seven attends chorus rehearsals after school, and I pick her up about an hour after Nine. This Tuesday Seven jumped into the car and chattered about her day. I went through my regular Mom questions—Did you eat your lunch? Were you warm enough in school today? Any homework?—and she answered the homework one with mention of a math sheet and a reading assignment.

On this particular Tuesday Seven had a checkup with the orthodontist after chorus, but she had just enough lag time between chorus and the appointment to come home and grab a snack. I told her that if she finished her snack in time, she could put a dent into her homework before the appointment so she wouldn’t have to do quite so much of it after.

She pulled out the math sheet first, calculated the inches and feet as required, and went through the kitchen from the dining room to put the sheet away. I stopped her, surprised that she’d finished so fast, and asked for the sheet. Lo and behold, the child had gotten all of the problems correct. We still had about 10 minutes left before we had to leave for the appointment, so I told her to grab her book for her reading assignment.

“You can take it with you in the car if you need to,” I said.

“Okay,” she replied and skipped off to the dining room.

About three minutes later she crossed back through the kitchen.

“Wait, I thought you said you had to read Chapter 9,” I said, mystified.

“I said I had to finish reading it,” she said, rocking back and forth on her feet to emphasize. “Didn’t you hear that when I told you in the car?”

“Um…”

“I don’t think you heard it.”

Smarty pants.

***

Yesterday as we drove to music lessons, I chatted with Seven about their school’s science fair. She explained the project her class had done and their findings of what happens to gummy bears in various liquid solutions (namely vinegar, water and baking soda, and Gatorade.) I shared with her how I’d done projects in school too, on an individual basis like the middle schoolers had done, and won awards for them.

“Oh, speaking of contests, I’m entering a contest!” she said.

I almost interrupted her to ask how she agreed to do so. This upbeat sunny child of mine doesn’t like to compete. In anything.

“Well,” she went on, “I was forced to enter—more on that in a minute—but it’s an invention contest. A. and I are in a group with K., and we invented a really cool chair.”

There were so many things I could have tackled in that sentence, but I decided to go with the easiest one first.

“So what makes your chair different from regular chairs?”

“You want me to list everything?”

“No, you can name two things.”

“It’s got a kitchen and a library in it.”

I almost said to her, “That’s not a chair, that’s a tiny house,” but I thought better of it. Instead I turned my attention to the other big thing in her sentence: The issue of being forced into the contest.

“Well, Ms. K. said we had to do it. She just forces us into stuff. She doesn’t even ask us what we want to do! She just gets up in front of the classroom and says, ‘Okay, start drawing your ideas!’”

“Maybe she’s trying to help you the best way she knows how,” I said, wanting to stay neutral on my stance on Ms. K. She’s a nice person, but Seven has complained before that Ms. K. is strict.

As long as it’s within reason, I have no problem with a teacher being strict.

We kept chatting about it, and I said, “Maybe Ms. K. wants to make sure you all stay in line when you act up.”

“We don’t act up,” Seven said, a touch sullen.

“Come on, [Seven], are you saying the class never acts up?”

She paused, but her loyalty to her class won out in the end. “No.”

Uh huh. Right.

***

I thought we’d have to wait years before the girls showed they could laugh at the funny things they did when they were younger—or maybe even last year—but they’ve shown that they’re really growing up. They can see the humor in the things that we, as adults, find borderline onerous.

Last year the kids found a show called Odd Squad on PBS. In it a group of pre-teen kids investigate odd happenings as part of an organization dedicated to the scrutiny of said circumstances. Like the time someone delivered double the number of pizzas to various locations. Or when there was a pie-nado. You know. A tornado with pies instead of wind.

I kid you not.

The actors playing the lead investigators, Olive and Otto, put their hearts into their roles, and in truth I actually liked the girl playing Olive. But the cases just crossed the line into the land of Ridiculous so many times that I couldn’t help roll my eyes at it. My husband wasn’t quite so subtle in his opinions about the show.

At some point, however, PBS stopped airing new episodes, and the kids started getting frustrated with watching old episodes over and over again. Eventually they said we could stop recording them. That little bit of distance helped them see just how silly the entire premise of the show was.

Earlier in the week we talked about the show at dinner one night, and while I knew Nine would have no problem echoing our sentiments on the show I worried for a moment that Seven would get offended. She doesn’t like anyone teasing her too much; her threshold for teasing is actually pretty low, and we’re forever talking about how teasing, especially within the family, is not meant as an insult in any way.

It’s taking a long time to get that point across, but I think we’re making progress.

I definitely saw the progress in that conversation on Odd Squad. As we talked, Seven smiled in an embarrassed sort of way and covered her face with her hand before shaking her own head and joining in on joking about the show. I exhaled in relief. If she can see the humor in this situation without interpreting it as a negative against her, we might just get her to enjoy the humor in other things yet.

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