Chart Number 214

April 15, 2016

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Last week as we drove home from dance class, I used the buttons on the steering wheel to flip from one radio station to the next. Nothing sounded good, despite going through the stations a couple of times.

“I wish you had that thing in your car where you could plug in your iPod,” Nine said.

“Well, when we bought this car, those plugs weren’t available in cars yet,” I said, “but we bought Daddy’s car two years after we bought mine and his car has that plug. Just shows you how much technology has changed in cars in such a short period of time.”

“My friends and I are waiting for 3000 when the technology really changes,” Nine said.

I paused. “As in, the year 3000?”

“Yeah.”

“Like 984 years from now?”

She waited a beat. “Oh. Yeah.”

“We’ll be dead by then,” Seven said in a matter of fact way.

Leave it to a child to state the obvious.

***

It’s funny how the kids make the differences between their personalities so clear.

Seven has a subscription to the National Geographic Kids magazine, and last Thursday she got the latest issue. Because we had to squeeze in an orthodontist appointment before music lessons, Seven took her new magazine along with her to read as she waited her turn for her guitar lesson later.

“Whenever I get a new magazine, I don’t start reading it right away,” she said, “I look at all the pictures first and then I read.”

Nine chuckled. “It’s kind of the opposite of how I do it. I read all the words first, and then I look at the pictures.”

And in that quick comparison, the kids drew prominent lines between themselves. It’s so true. Nine thrives on words, drinking them in like a tall glass of water in the desert. Seven surrounds herself with the vibrancy of colors and shapes, the reverberations of the movement of art propelling her into a whirlwind of activity.

Their stark, simple example made it easy for me to see both of them as they are and offers a hint into who they might become.

***

Last night at the dinner table, Seven looked at me.

“What would you give me if I behaved really well for a whole day?” she asked.

I have no idea what prompted the question, but as I’ve noted before my younger child has a penchant for sharing random thoughts.

“Nothing,” I said, “because that’s what I expect from you. I expect you to behave and do the right thing, and that’s when it’s most important, when no one is watching.”

“That’s lame,” she said, her face pinching into disapproval.

I shrugged in response. I figured if she’s going to hear it from me, now is as good a time as any.

“What if I behaved perfectly for a week? Or a month?”

“I would say, ‘Good job,’” I replied, adding a thumbs up. A peppy song began playing through the Pandora playlist, and I did a little dance while seated at the table.

“That dance is lame,” Seven said, crossing her arms tight across her chest and frowning at me.

I shrugged again. We live in a culture that hands out stickers for walking in straight lines (well, almost.) That kind of thinking doesn’t cross our threshold, though, and I want the girls to understand the value of earning something and enjoying it for its own sake. I’m sure this idea will come up again in some way, and I know I’ll answer the same way.

Let’s just hope the most volatile reaction I get is a frown.