Sunday, October 4, 2009

Expert on Toddlerdom

I responded to a call for writers recently. Among the topics needing to be addressed for this publication was "homeschooling with toddlers."

I emailed the administrators, telling them that with two toddlers in the house, this was one of the subjects about which I could write. From experience, you know. Everybody loves a funny toddler story, especially with somebody other than oneself at the brunt of it.

A couple of weeks passed before my first article was due, and during that time, the idea sunk in: by sheer virtue of having a toddler (& being willing/able? to write about it), I'm an "expert" of sorts.

The thought hadn't fully dawned on me until the morning last week that I was sopping the last cup of coffee available in my house up from my keyboard, papers, etc. Holding the keyboard up, watching the coffee pour out of it, wondering wildly how I was going to make it through the day without the legal substance, not to mention the dying keyboard on a day when three articles were due, it hit me.

Other women in the coming weeks would be sopping coffee up from their keyboards & reading my as-yet-unwritten-article as if I know what I'm doing. As if I'm an expert.

It was a terrifying thought.

But I walked OUT of the room a little friendlier than I might have otherwise. I walked out thinking, hm—what would an EXPERT do?

I vacillate between the despairing feeling of ohmygoshwhatifI'mIT? and a friendlier, more patient persona. Why? Because ohmygoshwhatifI'mit?

Try it. Pretend you're an expert at your most challenging task. Whatever your knowledge or experience, however inadequate it seems, despite repeated failures & inadequacy, pretend for some reason, somebody's looking to you for your "expertise" in that field. See how it changes you.

And toddlerdom? I figure we're all equally expert at nailing jello to a tree, but for what it's worth, I missed an email.

I'm writing about homeschooling in tight spaces with no money.

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