Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fears, Will Smith, and Self Actualization

If any of you are keeping track, this was the second time Jordan mentioned that she didn't want to become an adult. The first time was after a dance recital, when she was five. This time, she was eleven.  She was afraid to grow up.

After these two incidences, my mind began to conjure up a couple of questions:
One: Does being an adult really seem that bad?
And two: Should I begin to take her strong aversion towards adulthood, personally?

 Every once in a while she would hint that she was thinking about her future. We watched the movie College Road Trip, around this time. As I was wiping away a few tears (because I dreaded the day my babies would leave me) Jordan said, with a bit of a cocky attitude: “Oh, I'm going away to college."  Ouch.

But no worries.  Eight year old Kevin just about melted my heart with his follow up comment: “I'm not gonna do that. I'm not ever gonna go to college and leave you, Mommy.” I knew in my heart that one day all three of them would eventually leave, but hearing Kevin say this was a nice boost for my Mommy-morale.

Jordan's fears extended well into her high school years. The mere mention of things like college or driving, "terrified her". But here we are today. Jordan chose a college close enough away that she has her support team (aka Us) :) available, when necessary.  She also got her license, which was huge. Driving continues to terrify her, and she avoids it whenever possible, but I have no doubt she will gain the comfort and confidence necessary, in her own time.

Will Smith (who I have admired since his mom got scared and said, "You're movin with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.", believes that fears are not real. I respectfully disagree. I believe fears and anxieties are very real. The difficulty lies in finding safe, productive coping mechanisms, which would conceivably lead to the new neural pathways necessary, to hopefully achieve self actualization.

How's that for a blast from the past from my Psychology degree days?  I think I may have hurt myself a little bit. ;)

 Thank you.

Us Too

Friday, March 17, 2017

Baby to Big Kid Transitions --Part Two

It wasn't very long after our first "lose your innocence" conversation. that Jordan and I had the next one. She was eleven and was starting to develop. She began to wear camis under her shirts, and swim shirts over her bathing suit. Naturally, because her body was changing, she was becoming a little self conscious.

So we had our talk. We went over the anatomy of both women and men. Without going into too much detail, there were certain physical specifics that surprised her. The whole conversation was so cute. I showed her a tampon, explaining how it worked, and she told me that she doesn't want to “bleed”. (I hear ya.) I reassured her that it wasn't so bad, because sometimes being completely honest... it's just not necessary. I shared with her that if women didn't have this amazing ability, we couldn't have children. Of course, this was the perfect opportunity to gush about how much better my life was because I was a mom to three unbelievably wonderful children. We ended the conversation with her sharing her worries about not being able to wear white pants during that time of the month.
Again, I hear ya.

She asked me if it hurt to shave. We even talked about boys and what happens to them when they get excited, and how rough that must be. She mentioned the two boys in her class she thought were funny, and I realized that she spoke and giggled about them often.

Towards the end of this conversation, she said “she didn't want to grow up and be an adult.” She wanted to “stay a kid”. I reassured her that an eleven year old is certainly still a kid, and she had plenty of time before becoming an adult. I let her know how excited I was for her, because she was slowly changing and growing into such a special young girl. I concluded, with how I couldn't believe that my baby girl was starting to get “boobies”. She laughed, but wouldn't let that comment go without the typical, pre-teen, attitude-filled "Mommmmm".

Thank you.

Us Too

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Baby to Big Kid Transitions --Part One

Jordan was one of those kids who got very "into" the holidays. I use the word into, to avoid terms such as "infatuated", or worse yet, "obsessed-with". She would write letters to leprechauns, letters which were comprised of non-rhetorical questions, which she expected/hoped to have answered. This may not not sound difficult to you, but I'm 50% Italian and 50% Russian Jewish (aka: a Pizza Bagel). Leprechauns didn't exist in my world, until after I had school aged kids.

Jordan also spent hours and hours creating and decorating intricate traps, in the hopes of catching a leprechaun, as well as the tooth fairy. This added a whole lot of stealthy, night-time pressure. Then there were the more common rituals; letters to Santa and the Easter Bunny, cookies and milk, and sparkly reindeer food. I can't tell you how thankful I am that the Elf on the Shelf wasn't a thing yet.
After losing two teeth, Kevin asked Jordan if she believed in the tooth fairy. She questioned me, and I knew it was time for “the talk”. It all came out; the truth about the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Clause. She was ten, and admitted that she thought they weren't real. Her confusion stemmed from not knowing who did the buying and the giving.

So, Jordan was ready for the truth, although I'm not sure how ready I was. I got a little teary-eyed while we talked, and she patted my shoulder. She was comforting me, her mother.

Having three young children who 'believed', added a simple innocence and magic to the holidays. Our Christmas mornings continued to be filled with holiday excitement, love, and family togetherness, but... they were different..

If I have learned nothing else in the past 19 years, I have learned that life is always changing (whether we like it or not). The sooner this concept is understood and accepted, the easier the transitions will be. And believe me, I'm no expert when it comes to the acceptance-part of this concept.

It wasn't long before I had another "talk", with Jordan. And this was one of the bigger ones.

Thank you.

Us To

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fuzzy Purple Socks

As I stated before, fifth grade was going well. One day Jordan wore her fuzzy, purple socks to school, over her pants, get this... "just to be different". This was BIG. She came home saying everyone liked them. We had now entered into a whole new world, and this world was filled with confidence and happiness. I loved this new world, and hoped Jordan would remain there forever. But as the ridiculously talented Prince once told us, forever is "a mighty long time."

Thinking back, if I had to chose a specific time in Jordan's life when perfectionism began to rear its intrusive head, this would be the time. She began to spend an exorbitant amount of time and effort on her homework. She enjoyed doing it, which was great, but she would get very upset and refuse to go to bed before it was finished.

Our instincts were to let her finish, but here's the thing...

When we were kids and had a paper due, we could grab one of our encyclopedias, look through our notes and textbook, and the research process was complete. It may not have been the most thorough paper, but it was done. When Jordan was in fifth grade, she had access to the newfound internet. For a child like her, one who believed her work was never quit good enough, the internet was not only an endless source of data, but also an endless source of self doubt. How can a child be expected to do her best work, and fully complete an assignment, when she knows how much more information is out there?

The struggle was real, but overall Jordan's fifth grade year was shaping up to be a positive one, socially and emotionally. I think she and I were both, 'enjoying it fully'.

Thank you.

Us Too