Having been strange my whole life I feel like I am well equipped to parent a weird kid. I’ve always been the “artsy” one. I think that’s a nice way of saying that I’m a bit weird.
I do think that all kids are weird in fantastic ways. That is one of the best things about being a teacher, especially an art teacher. I get to be privy to all the weird things kids come up with. First grader jokes are among the best. Milo is no exception. He is super weird. He just decided that he is not a person who wears socks. He’s had a scribbled on receipt from pizza delivery taped next to his bed for a year and would be devastated if we tried to take it down. We’ve already discussed his obsession with pens.
For kids, weird is fine, it’s widely accepted at least until school age. We let our kids wear Robin and Superman costumes day and night, we let our kids read books in cardboard boxes. Then we do something to people. We shame them into hiding the things that make them who they are. How sad. If you went to middle school, you probably remember someone being incredibly unkind to you because you didn’t do something the way they expected you to. It takes a super weird person not to give a *%^& when this happens (thank you with all my heart to one Ms. Rebecca Rubel). I taught middle school for one year and that was quite enough for me, thank you. I went running and screaming back to those weird little first graders. I would much rather sit in a tiny chair with a crayon in my hand hanging with silly, imaginative little kids anyday.
We all want to be part of the tribe but we need to be who we are. Think about the people you are drawn to the most. Are they the safe, beige people (I just looked down and I’m wearing a beige sweater, damn it.) or are they the little-bit-weird folks who seem to take a few more risks than you do, say what they mean a little more often, and seem to live in their skin a bit more comfortably? I’ll take the later.
Let’s keep it weird people. What was your favorite weird kid memory of yourself or your own kiddos?
I’ll go first:
Me: I had an obsession with the author Roald Dahl. When he died I was in the third or fourth grade. I cried tears and was so grief stricken that I insisted that the librarian let me create a shrine to him in the library. She begrudgingly agreed and I painstakingly recreated a bunch of his illustrations from the BFG and the Twits and turned the whole thing into a huge display with stand up cut outs and a backdrop. Can you say dork?
Milo: I think this week’s pictures speak for themselves.