I have a deep love for the radio as an instrument, a love for storytelling and news and gossip, and a love for the anticipation of a show in real time (as opposed to Tivo, DVR and podcasts - love those three as well but there is something genuine and wonderful in the actual waiting).
The radio show This American Life combines those loves for me.
I have collected and listened to its shows for years and came across an old favorite the other day about a hot dog factory. This factory moved from the southside to the northside of Chicago into its custom-built, dream building. Once hot dog production began in the new place, the hot dogs not only tasted different, they tasted BAD. The recipe and ingredients were the same, they had the water inspected, but the hot dogs tasted gross and came out pink instead of bright red.
One night, the workers sat around discussing the good old days in the factory on the southside and starting reminiscing about Irving.
Irving was one of those workers who knew everyone and who had worked there as long as they could remember. His job was to push a cart of uncooked meat from the freezer on one side of the factory to the smokehouse on other end, giving the meat time to warm before smoking and contributing to the signature, yummy taste. In the new factory, the smokehouse was built next to the freezer, eliminating the need for Irving's walk. No one even recognized this crucial detail in the construction of the new factory.
I should probably be disturbed that a story about a hot dog factory has helped my level of patience in parenting this week. So should you.
But I have noticed how much I push the kids on my agenda (that I have made for THEM for THEM to learn and have FUN so come ON with Mommy's plan already). I give Henry 4 instuctions in a row and then end up just DOING some things for Svea instead of letting her figure them out for herself.
I am not as aware of the times that I let them wander, let them figure out how to climb up and down on their own, let them put on their own socks as slowly as they want. I'm sure in their minds their manner is efficient for their goals, but for ME in MY mind, they are lolly-gagging, dilly-dallying the day away and are completely inefficient beings.
The hot dog factory fixed it's problem by building on a new room to the outside of the building in which the meat could warm and dilly-dally before going to the smokehouse. Kind of like an Irving's Room.
I guess I KNOW somewhere deep down that we all need a chance to be in Irving's Room, but I'm really glad Henry and Svea remind me of this more often.