These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Learning Curve


I know that nobody knows exactly what to do as a parent, but I think we might frequently be the ones that are ignorant to our own mistakes. The other day I had some feedback pointed out to me first by my Parents as Teachers contact and then reinforced at your parent/teacher conference night at school.As you continue to grow, I think I'm slowest to recognize that your potential is growing, too, and I am doing things for you automatically that you should be starting to try for yourself. For example, the battle with getting dressed continues day and night at our house. Anytime clothes need to be changed, there is much wrestling and holding down and squirming and disagreement. My Parent As Teachers contact had mentioned that you should be trying to help me do these things. And when I showed up at your Parent/Teacher conference you were about to take your turn on the toilet. I was surprised to see you could pull down your pants and hold up your shirt so you could sit down without your shirttail going into the potty. All without help. I was amazed. I never thought you would be able to do that on your own so I've always helped you with that stuff.Another thing that surprised me was when my Parents As Teachers contact, Erin, brought out a bag that contained different containers with surprises in them. You had to figure out how to open the containers. You grabbed the bag excitedly. The bag was just closed by a pulled drawstring. All you had to do was pull on it a little and it would give for you, but you didn't even try. You realized you couldn't put your hand through the opening, so you picked it up and tossed it in my direction with an "Ope' Mommy!" command. I tried to show you how to do it by taking your hands and directing you on how to open it, but even then you were resistant and I could tell I was too involved by the look on Erin's face. It's like I can't watch you struggle with something even if doing so might be a good learning experience for you.Actually, I don't think it's that I can't but I don't seem to have the ability to decipher one learning experience from a building of frustration that will only end in complete meltdown. And I think I would climb Mount Everest to avoid one more meltdown. They just zap me completely, those meltdowns.

And then today, Daddy and I dropped you off at daycare.

Let me preface this by saying that I've come to the point where I've decided that I can't keep everyone happy so I'll settle for keeping my child happy.So, now I will tell you of my faux pas.

This morning at drop off time at daycare, your Daddy and I went to drop you off together. The experience should have been fun. We got into the room and the whole class of children were sitting at the tables having their breakfast together. You had eaten some cereal on the way to school and drank some milk so you weren't interested in joining the group at the tables, and I didn't encourage you to do so.You grabbed a book and brought it to me and so I sat on the floor and you crawled into my lap to read the story. As I was reading, I became aware of a little crowd of kids gathering at my elbows, looking over my shoulder at the pictures and vying for good positions. I held the book out at arms length and continued reading. At the end, you tried to bring me another book, but I said we didn't have time and when we left, you were in tears and the carpet area was teaming with toddlers.Once in the car, Daddy brought to my attention that what I had done in reading the story had actually disrupted the rest of the class. In retrospect, I can see that he was right, but I immediately jumped so far on the defensive that if I had a machete in my hand, Daddy would have been a little pile of flesh on the floor with me standing over him with smoke coming out of my ears and rage streaming from my pores. It is an understatement to say I was unreasonably angry.So this brings up another interesting point. Why am I so much more receptive to constructive criticism from people that are almost strangers to me, but so immediately enraged by a suggestion from the perspective of someone that I love and trust? Maybe it's because I'm normally insecure in my decision making ability, but when it comes to being a Mom - I have to fake it. I have to convince myself that I know what I'm doing and I build this little reality in my head that allows me to convince myself that I know what's best for you. I think when someone else suggests something like that, I can say 'well, maybe they might be right about that' and can concede the possibility because they might just as equally be wrong. They don't know me, afterall.But you can't deny that the person you have been with for 15 years and married to for 10 doesn't know you. And now I'm re-evaluating everything because if I couldn't see this right in front of my face, what other things do I see and yet NOT SEE everyday because my perspective is too narrow? Have I been making your mornings harder for you by doing this in the past and your teachers haven't mentioned it in order to avoid conflict?

You know how you feel better after you vomit? Well..... I feel better now.

Not literally from vomiting but from the verbal upchuck that I have done all over this blog entry.

I do feel better, though. And I'm glad - for the record - that your Daddy pointed out what he did at peril to his own life. He obviously loves you because he would put himself on the line to make sure you have the best of what there is to offer. He proved that today.

He's got a pair, that one.



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