child jump-roping while waiting

hardly seems like waiting at all

C

an we go outside?”

“Can I drop my jump rope over the edge?”

“I’m thirsty. Is there a cup for this water?”

The answer to all of these questions is no. My children are down to one parent for the weekend and so every obligation one of us has, all of us has. Marcel has rehearsal? Well then, we’ll just wait around until he’s done doing his thing.

I think that they are not good at waiting, my children, but it is more that I am uncomfortable by the way they would like to wait. They will pass the time that is required of them but they would like to be moving while doing so—jumping rope, maybe, or chasing each other, or maybe chasing each other while one of them is dragging the jump rope in front of the other one as bait.

This has always been a point at which I become uncomfortable as a parent—the place where societal expectations of behavior (or my perception of them) rubs against the id of my children. When do the energetic impulses of two children under the age of 10 begin to intrude on the ability of others to enjoy a meal or walk through the lobby of a building without having concerns about the structural soundness of the ceiling above them because a seven-year-old is pogo-ing down a hall, trying out the feel of locomoting between two points with her ankles bound together with her damn jump rope?

“I think it is too distracting in here to do my homework because it is so big and there are too many thngs around,” Roy tells me.

So we compromise. We leave this lobby and walk to and from the car. I tell them I need to get something that really could wait, but they don’t know that.

They’re already too busy jump-roping.