I had a frightening moment while I was washing the dishes tonight. I was revisiting a conversation I’d had earlier in the evening, when I damn near dropped the scrubby brush.
Holy crap, am I channeling Carol Brady?
I quickly realized that it wasn’t possible. And I have a bullet list to prove it:
- Carol Brady wouldn’t have had a scrubby brush to drop. The kitchen sink was clearly Alice’s turf.
- I am not raising a herd of polyester-clad kids.
- That much polyester would make me chafe at every physical joint of my body.
- Who in the hell names a dog after a cat anyway?
Proof. I have not been sucked into a mental parental Brady Bunch vortex.
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Yet, there’s the instance that brought me to this startling start. Or a startling stop. (If something “gives you a start,” as in frightens you. doesn’t it actually stop you? Anyway…)
I realized I’d given my charming ten-year-old son much same advice Mrs. Brady gave Marcia upon the daunting occasion of starting high school. It just so happens we went to a middle-school orientation tonight. He’s excited but intimidated.
I asked what most intimidates him about the new school. “Being small,” he said. He went on to explain that it’s not bad at his current school because everyone knows him and they don’t pick on him. But at a new school, kids who don’t know him might bully him.
I get it. I totally get it. He is small. I recently saw a junior high school band at a local parade. They’re marching by and all I can do is marvel at how big they are. Those kids are only a year or two older than @? Wait, does that one have a full beard? Oh. My. God.
Kids his age tend to dismiss him because they think he’s much younger. And kids ain’t always nice when there’s something different about you. I can relate. I was the small quiet bookish nerdy shy kid. Thankfully, he’s leagues ahead of fifth-grade-me in confidence.
But we’re in the car, driving home, talking about the intimidation factor, and suddenly… suddenly I’m Carol Freakin’ Brady.
“You know all those activities and things they were talking about? Like theater and music and leadership? Those are great ways to meet all sorts of other kids. And those kids will know you for your personality and your sense of humor and who you are. And when kids know you, they don’t see you as the small kid. They see you as @ — for the person you are, not your height.”
Remarkably, he thought that was a pretty reasonable approach. Remarkable because he doesn’t agree with much these days. Because he’s gonna be in middle school. And it’s on the kid timeline to disagree with stuff parents say.
Carol Freakin’ Brady.
And then I had to look up The Brady Bunch in Wikipedia, which was disturbing in itself because I realized that I’ve gone full nerd. I actually typed the full url without even thinking about it. The full URL, as in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/brady_bunch. Because I honestly didn’t know the spelling of Marcia’s name. And apparently it matters. To me. To get it right, for you.