Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, October 26, 2013


Guilt Sharpener

The Kid loves to draw. And paint. And sculpt. But mostly draw.

He will sit for, literally, hours at his little table, grabbing markers and crayons and pencils and drawing on notebook paper and sketch paper and construction paper and tissue paper. (This is a newish development; he seems to really dig the way a marker will get soaked into the tissue. It's not my favorite media, especially as we use the tissue for things like, say, runny noses and, when eighteen tissues have been pulled out of the box in one morning to be used for clown drawings, it means I have to wipe my sleeve on my hand.)

What's fascinating me now is that he's been, for a couple of months, obsessing over copies. He'll do a drawing--or, more likely, an entire series of drawings--and then reproduce them on other types of paper or in other sizes. Sometimes, he'll command my wife or I to copy them for him. It's like he's turned into a small Andy Warhol.

The other parenting thing floating around my head this morning is guilt. (That's more or less there all the time, as I can usually find any number of things I'm not doing or not doing right with which to hit myself over the head.)

This morning, though, I came out of the bathroom to find him standing on a step stool, rooting around the kitchen counter. Before I said anything, he volunteered that he'd been looking for a pencil sharpener. It had been in the kitchen. I said, "I don't know where that is."

I know exactly where that is. If I crane my neck and look out the window right now, I can see it. Or, rather, I can see the garbage bag it's in, sitting on the curb awaiting pick-up.

Here's the deal with the pencil sharpener: A friend of his got him a set of Spider-Man school supplies for his birthday. Folders, notebooks, pencils, pencil bag...pencil sharpener. As a teacher, I'm not a huge fan of these types of pencil sharpeners, because I am constantly having to tell kids not to drop the pencil shavings on the floor and constantly having to tell them to put the sharpener away when they decide to sharpen every pencil they own in the middle of my lesson. So, I'm not inclined to look favorably upon these things.

Last week--and, I have to be honest here: I don't even remember the exact circumstances; either he was spilling pencil shavings on the carpet or he was sharpening a pencil as a stalling tactic at bedtime--I took the pencil sharpener away from him. Not any kind of big, emotional thing; I just took it and set it on the shelf above the sink.

A couple of days ago, as I was doing dishes, I was moving things around on that shelf and had to decide where to move the sharpener and--again, I don't really have a strong recollection of what was going through my head when I did this--I tossed it, on impulse, into the trash. "Done and done," I probably said, and then most likely started humming "Don't Let's Start" as I scoured a pan.

The Kid, of course, has a memory like a steel trap; knew exactly where the pencil sharpener should have been and will remember that it was taken from him until he's 90.

So, guilt.

thank you thank you
Cliffhanger! Did you buy a new one? Does he know you tossed it?
So enjoyed. Keep it up and thanks for sharing.It's therapy for both of us.

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Dr. Grumbles

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