Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Wisdom of Silence

Our whole basketball conversation sounded like it was the perfect mother-daughter moment, didn't it? Plus in her next game, Jordan kicked butt by making three baskets and playing very aggressively. Whether our discussions were love-filled and calm, or angry and dysfunctional, we could tell she almost always "heard" us, and had taken what we said to heart.

The thing is, although I made sure to positively mention how she had the ability and skills, I also brought up the fact that if she continued to play, eventually there would be team cuts. Nice. Tell a child who worries about everything, to think far into her future about something she may or may not have control over. Cringe.

I also added the small (probably unnecessary) fact, that she and I were very different in this respect. Was my hidden meaning, I was a good athlete, and she wasn't? Again, why?  I never even played basketball. I excelled at my chosen sports (soccer and running) strictly because of speed and strength. Any sports involving coordination or skill, would have completely kicked my butt. One might even say. they would have overwhelmed me.


Sometimes it was, and still is, hard for me to zip it. I guess it's a good thing that today, Jordan has no problem putting me in my place, in the rare occurrence that it's necessary. ;)

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, April 17, 2017

Overtime May be Required

Buzzzz!  The basketball game was all tied up and was going into overtime. With only two minutes to go, Jordan's coach asked who wanted to go in.  Every girl enthusiastically stood up and raised her hand. Every girl, except Jordan.

She had a reason for not wanting to play, she said her leg hurt. This could have been true, (and who am I to doubt my own child?) although watching her play in a fun pick-up game afterwards, showed us that her leg felt fine. Later that night when we were talking, I strategically brought up her "leg pain" wondering what she would say, and she quickly and quietly muttered "Too much pressure." Ah ha!!  It was the moment of truth. Literally.

Sure, this had been obvious to me for years: the swimming, the scooter riding, the learning to ride a bike, the shoe tying ... She was capable of doing all these things, but because she was overwhelmed and afraid, she would make up excuses. As I probably mentioned too many times, it drove me nuts, especially when she would minimize the achievements of others.

But on this day, maybe for the first time, she was completely honest with herself. Not too shabby for an eleven year old.

Thank you,

Us Too

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sorry, but Mom Can't Control the Crickets

You've gotta love those times when your child asks you a question, and you have absolutely no idea how to answer it. Kayla, who was now nine, asked me: "Why is Jordan being nice to Kevin, and I'm being so mean to him?" 

I had nothing.

Kayla had zero patience for seven-and-a-half year old Kevin, and she would verbally shut him down every time he spoke. I'm okay with sibling rivalry, but when one child is relentlessly cruel, and the other appears completely powerless, I instinctively defend the vulnerable. Is it me, or does this sound vaguely familiar?

For Kevin's sake, I had been "inserting myself" for a while, and I guess it took its toll on Kayla, She began to freak out over every little thing. If her pillow slipped back behind her bed, if there was a tag on her clothes, or she didn't like the sound of the crickets chirping... she would lose it. It was like living with the princess from The Princess and the Pea. Believe me, I gave her suggestions to help her cope: cut the tag out, close the window, use earplugs, wait for your dad to help move the bed... but none were good enough. My patience began to wear thin, and I began to get angry.  

If only...

Adam went up to talk to her. She opened up to him about how badly she had been feeling because I had been mean, and yelled at her so often. Cringe. Although, in my defense, I couldn't let her continue torturing Kevin. Why does it sometimes feel like moms can never win?

I realize this is a slight diversion from our usual story, and you may be wondering why this entry is more about Kayla, than Jordan. I hope it will become more clear after I explain how Kayla and I worked through our predicament, because it was a beautiful thing. It helped to renew my faith in my own parenting skills.

Kayla and I talked for a long time.  I apologized for making her feel so badly, and told her it was certainly not my intention. She said she was sorry and would try to be nicer to Kevin. And, that was it. It was over. We cuddled saying how much we loved each other, and my sweet girl went to sleep.

knew this was how it was supposed to work.  Loved ones have a problem, they get upset, they talk it through, they apologize and forgive, and it's over. No huge fits and hours of frantic screaming. No silent treatment. No hate mail. Just an emotional, honest, love-filled discussion that leads to a resolution. Ahh.

Today I have absolutely no resentment towards Jordan, but it wasn't always that way. As I have stated before, she has unequivocally helped me to become a more understanding mother, and a more open-minded human being.  Sure, parents shouldn't compare their children to each other (or to any child) but let's face it, sometimes we do, and it's okay. As Maya Angelou said:     

Thank you.

Us Too