"Be a good listener?" he replied, shoving the last bite of pizza crust into his mouth.
"Seriously, Liam? Have you not heard a word I've said this entire time? I'm talking about your article. You need to finish your article! Remember?! I typed up some of the information for you to use as a guide but you need to have your teacher help you turn that into an article for the newspaper!"
"And be a good listener?" he said, trying to redeem himself.
"Yeah," I scoffed. "That'd be great."
I probably don't have to tell you that the article? Never got written. Instead he turned in what I wrote (what?!) and spent his time in class drawing a scene from Angry Birds StarWars (for the paper, but still!) and presumably listening.
Do I have to tell you that I berated him most of the drive home? I can never tell if people expect that kind of thing from me or not. Maybe I come across super sweet in writing? I have no idea. Not that I'm not nice to my kids (insanely nice sometimes!), but I also have fairly high expectations.
Like if I tell you to do something eighteen times, I EXPECT YOU TO DO IT!
That's how most of the ride home went only when we got home I remembered Liam had a hair appointment so we turned around and went to the salon. By the time we got there, Liam had written a good chunk of his article and we had put the whole thing behind us. He promised to finish it as soon as we got home.
He pulled up a picture of Anakin Skywalker to show his stylist (he wants to grow his hair out longer but it needs a little direction...) and got right down to business, chatting with her, getting his hair washed like a pro, and just generally acting like someone who hasn't been getting his hair cut by his mom his whole life.
All things I didn't tell him to do on our ride there. Things I never even thought to consider, actually. I was so busy freaking out about his failings as a potential Pulitzer prize winning journalist, I forgot to see what was actually before me: a completely awesome seven year old kid.
Fortunately the girls at the salon don't see a lot of little boys come through there so their perspective was more than enough to bring me back to reality.
It's a BIG DEAL that Liam can carry on an interesting conversation with a grown up. That he knows what he wants and can ask for it. That good manners flow effortlessly from him at all times. These things are not nothing! And really, at this stage in his life, aren't these the kinds of things that should be at the top of my great expectations list? He's a kid! A kid who likes to draw Angry Birds and play but who can also hold his own in a grown up situation. A kid who can write one heck of a newspaper article (really - I was so impressed!) but who would so much rather do just about anything else.
I'm thankful for that perspective.