Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

When I Grow Up…Money and Work Edition May 8, 2014

Filed under: Family Life,Growing up,School for Boys — leighj @ 11:19 am

We had parent teacher conferences this week with the boys’ preschool teacher. Gilbert doesn’t like to dance in front of people, but he does like to natter on incessantly to his teacher assistant. We already knew this, because when asked about his day, he says things like “I helped Ms. L put away the puzzles” and “I played frisbee with Ms. L.” Turns out, he also likes to eat his carrots and ranch with her during snack time. His teacher thinks it’s a vocabulary thing.

I may have already told this story…I was driving with the boys one day when they were telling me about snacks they eat at preschool. Gilbert said, “I love carrots and wanch!” Seamus said that he didn’t. Honestly it has not occurred to us to try to get Gilbert to eat carrots because Seamus was never a fan. We told the story to someone who looked at us like we were crazy parents–never giving the kid carrots and ranch! They like different things, and they don’t like things now that they would eat with gusto when they were babies. Avocados, eggs, cottage cheese, are the main culprits.

Seamus has been obsessed with the idea of rich and poor. I’m not sure where it comes from, but a couple of days ago, he said, “I know what I want to do when I grow up!” I asked, “What?” He said, “Well, what makes the most money?” So he hasn’t actually decided, but he’s decided what he thinks is important. There’s probably a strong streak of working against his parents going on. Patrick and I believe in hard work and good luck (components of the mythos of the American Dream, as I teach my students, haha), but we also believe in not working so much to lose sight of time that we might get to spend with the boys while we have an impact on their thinking and action. However, it’s clear that we have more work to do if we want to instill those values! I guess I’d like him to find his own way, but I hope there’s an example of happiness and enjoyment of the time you get to spend with the people you love.

He has been more interested in money and ideas about it lately. As I was leaving for work this morning, he said, “Yeah Mama, you have to go to work and make us some money.” Then he asked if when I go to yoga, do I make any money for them? Now that I’m writing this, it occurs to me that this may stem from a conversation I had with Gilbert in front of Seamus the other day. Gilbert had broken yet another thing. (He can be massively destructive.) In addition to his time out, we also had a talk about replacement costs, and the idea that there are things we have to have and things we want to have, and if we have to spend money replacing the things we have to have, then we don’t have as much money for the things we want to have (like markers and soccer balls–I was just going with the things that he likes). He hasn’t destroyed anything for a couple of days, so maybe that took hold a little. It is super frustrating when he breaks things.

Seamus’s conference was uneventful. He’s doing better at not getting so upset when the other kids aren’t following the directions and rules. He loves raising his hand. I think he needs to look for a career that delights in rigidity. He was pretty excited to learn the other day that I was grading my students’ quizzes that I had gotten to make up the quiz and give them points for right answers. I don’t think he’d ever connected what his teacher does and what I do before.

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2 Responses to “When I Grow Up…Money and Work Edition”

  1. Maureen Bell Says:

    When I’ve asked Gilbert to not do something, if he’s still determined, his reply is: “No thanks.” Seamus, on the other hand, acts insulted that he’s been corrected. They are both so adorable!

  2. Heather Says:

    It is crazy (and super cool) that two brothers can be so different.


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