Archive for the ‘parenting’ category

From Helpless to Helpful Parenting

April 8, 2010

“I hate school,” said the puffy green comforter.  “And, I have a sore throat.”

“Really?” I asked.  “What do you mean you hate school?”

“I just do.  It’s boring.”  A head appeared for a moment, then ducked back under the blankets.

I sat down on the edge of the bed, paused and asked, “Is something going on at school that’s bothering you?”

Already, I envisioned the worst case of scenarios.  Was she getting bullied?  It’s all over the news lately.  Is someone being mean to her?  What if she’s falling behind in math?  I wished she’d tell me why she hated school.  She can’t hate school. What should I do?

I got nothing more from her.

Feeling helpless I said, “Sorry, you need to get out of bed and go to school.  Let’s go, up, up.”

Later I realized my mistake – starting with the premise that A.’s life should be easy and fun.  Really?  Is that really my job as a parent, to make her life happy and easy?

Obviously not.

My job is not to make her life easy and fun.  My job is to teach her to be resilient and strong no matter what life brings her way.  My job is not a helpless one, it’s a helpful one.

Oh, yeah.  I bring up a good point don’t I?!

She doesn’t love to read

August 13, 2009

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I find it irritating, ironic and down-right unjust that my own daughter does not love reading. After all, I “know” literacy and since birth have done the following things which I’ll list for edification purposes. (Take notes but be warned–does not work for all children; in particular, my eldest daughter.) And, p.s. aren’t introverts suppose to love books?

* read to her daily A LOT of books and 3 books at bedtime

* take regular trips to the library and check out as many books as we can carry, read them all in no particular order

* model reading my own books and make time for reading during the day

* have excessive amounts of books at various reading levels and on various topics – seriously, it’s excessive

* reward with books

* got her a special reading headlamp for bed-time reading

* limit television — none during the school week and only limited on Saturdays

* listen to books on tape in the car, for quiet time, and just for fun

Okay, you get the point. A+B=C, right? If only.

(I will mention that since birth, she’s never loved, loved, loved books like my other child.  In fact, I use to read mostly at meal time because it was the only time I could get her to sit still for the length of a story.)

Here are my demands desires.

  • I want her to grab a book and read until she’s called to dinner.
  • I want her to talk about what she’s reading as if it were real.
  • I want her to look to books for information she wants to learn.
  • I want an epiphany.

She is only seven.  It will click one day, right?

Summer growth

July 13, 2009

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I watch my daughter assume command of the pancakes.  She stirs the batter, she pours the liquid on the hot griddle and she waits.

Flip.  Flip.  Flip.

She already  makes better scrambled eggs than I do – she doesn’t get distracted by email and cleaning the floor.  Her eggs turn out fluffy.  Mine usually have a crispy bottom from forgetting to stir and wait with patience.  They’re not very appetizing scrambled eggs, that’s one thing.

My daughter finds success in the kitchen.   I watch her work quietly.  She will be proud and tell me later how good she is at cooking.

She is good.  I’m proud. too.

I see a different kid today. . . Today she is fearless and confident.

I never want to stop seeing her.  I never want to fix her in my mind from yesterday, last month, or last year.  I must always remember to look again.

I know we are fluid beings who grow and shift.  So are our kids.

Fear of . . . continued

June 2, 2009

Remember last week when my introvert was afraid of the rain?  That night, the worst night it could have happened, my other daughter had a seizure.

I called 911, administered a rectal injection, and tried not to wonder where my introvert had hidden.  No longer in her bed, I couldn’t worry about her worrying.  Not when something much worse was demanding my attention.

Four paramedics, two firefighters and two policemen clumped up our stairs and into the girls bedroom.  I asked my husband, “Where did she go?”

“I saw a girl hiding behind the bed in the other room,” said one uniformed man – maybe a firefighter?

As they started to check my baby’s vitals, I squeezed passed three of the men through the hall and across to my bedroom.  My introvert was hiding behind my bed on the floor.

All I could do was hug her.

“Don’t go, mommy,” she cried.

“I have to go to the hospital, I’m the one your sister needs right now.  Daddy will stay with you.”

We loaded up her sister, I climbed into the ambulance.  I knew the fears would be worse, and there was nothing I could do.

I guess sometimes that’s life.  I still felt totally awful. But, I had to let it go so I could be present with my baby who had no fears, no function, no presence of her own.  She was somewhere else and it wasn’t dreamland.

Scary doesn’t begin to describe it.  Fear doesn’t even capture my emotional state of being.

Terror.

Disappointment.

Numbness.

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Fear of . . . a flood

May 26, 2009

The rains are torrential today.   Looking out our window on the second floor, we notice the stream behind our house has doubled in size and velocity.

“Mom, what if it floods?” was the first question my daughter asked.

“It won’t flood because it’s down between two hills.”j0395964

“Mom, what if it doesn’t stay down?  What will happen?”

I put her to bed.  “Mommy, I want mommy,” she said in baby talk.

So, I stayed.  But every time I untangled myself from under her head, she woke up.  “Don’t go, mommy.”

What was going on?

Finally, I asked.  “Are you afraid?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“No.”

“Are you worried about the rain?”

She nodded and buried her head in the covers.

I stayed and stayed and stayed.  And prayed for her to find peace in sleep.  She has fears.  I just don’t want them to become too big.  I want her to win the fight with those fears.

I worry.  And she fears.

What a pair.

She said “I love you”!!

May 20, 2009

“I love you, too,” my daughter shouts, pulling open the front door.

“What?” I ask.  “Did you just say I love you?”

She smiles, “Yes.”  Then, she’s off to the bus stop.  The door slams behind her.

My world slows down.  I take a big breath:  inhale, exhale.

She finally said it.  After seven years of waiting.

“I love you, too.”

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It’s starting younger

May 15, 2009

We hear a lot about one girl – I’ll call her Madge.

“Madge said I was a looser.  Madge called me a jerk.  Madge . . . ”

Honestly, I think that it’s not bullying so much as the kid is just a snot.  But, never the less, my daughter must learn to deal with twits or bullies.   So, we’ve read many books on the subject & I’ve made a list of favorites.

Talking helps.

Reading helps.

Summer vacation will help even more.  Yea!

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Also, I think martial arts might be a good idea one day . . .