Tints and Shades and Dryers


I should know by now not to be surprised at what comes out of my son’s mouth.  After all, I’ve had 8 years to get used to this kid.  Some days it’s a good surprise, some days I wonder if I deserve an award like Worst Parent of the Year or something similar.

This time it was a good surprise.  A “where did you hear that?” kind of surprise, because I know that we hadn’t covered it yet in schoolwork. Not specifically, at least.


Color me surprised

Randomly, in the car, he starts spouting off about colors.  Primary, secondary, and he asked which was tertiary.  I tried to explain (they’re a combo of secondary and primary colors) which is rather difficult to do without a color wheel in front of you, and then he started going off on tints and shades as I sat there with my mouth open.

He correctly identified tints (white added) and shade (black added) and then fumbled tone (gray added.)  We discussed one of his past art projects (gradations of one color) and how it combined both tints and shades in the same piece.  I was floored!


The days that I despair that homeschooling isn’t working are validated on days like this.  When I wonder if he’s actually learning – and retaining – anything of value, I need to remember this.  He didn’t learn this because I taught him.  He learned it because he was interested and dove down the rabbit hole of colors all on his own.

I’m impressed.


The bad surprise

On the flip side, I’m concerned.  Because I keep hearing things coming out of his mouth like “she likes him better than me.” Or “he doesn’t want to play with me because she’s better than me.”  He often breaks down in a meltdown because he feels something isn’t fair and it destroys his world.

That kind of surprise breaks my heart.  We’ve worked for years to explain that fair doesn’t mean equal, it means everyone getting what they need.  We’ve built his self-esteem up when all he could hear from other adults was “bad kid.”  We celebrate his good behavior and cheer him on as he displays responsibility.


This child will break my heart and wear me out before I can even deal with his two high needs siblings.


Cue the mental eyeroll as soon as I typed “responsibility.”  This is the same kid who informed me this week that his 4-year-old brother fit in the dryer.  

I did not need to hear that.


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