Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Let me just start by saying that we have had a rough week so far. Power struggles abound in our house right now, things are out of step and there has frankly been more yelling and discipline that I really care to have. One thing I have learned about kids is that change and growth is constant, and it usually is accompanied by some bumps in the road along the way. We are at the bumps right now.
Miss E had her make-up Thanksgiving celebration for Kindergarten today so Mr. T and I dropped her off, ran to the grocery store and then came back to peek in and see what the kids were up to. She was at one of the stations set up, dressed as a pilgrim, sorting her "food". It was pretty cute. I took a few pictures (none of which turned out great), blew a kiss goodbye and we left. This afternoon, I asked her what her favorite part of school was and she said it was when I stood at the gym door and blew her a kiss goodbye and she waved at me. My first thought was "oh that's sweet" my second thought was, "shouldn't something be more fun than that on a celebration day in Kindergarten?". I don't know. I do know that no matter how fun a party or celebration is, it's not their normal routine and therefore Miss E is a bit wary. I have spoken before about the fear all mama's carry around in their hearts for their children and more and more I hear a voice inside my head whispering "is this the best thing for her?" "Is this helping her grow?" The more confusing thing is, there is no alternative. If this isn't the best thing for her then I don't know what is. Homeschooling is not a choice, not only because I would be no good at it but the relationship between Miss E and I at this point would not be conducive to homeschooling. As for the second fear, she is growing and learning things in Kindergarten so I don't know why I keep having these doubts. I really don't. But they are there.
This is one thing I have realized as the kids have gotten older. Parenting gets harder. It seems really hard the first 2 or 3 years, and it is physically but it gets harder as they get older. When they are little, it is physically demanding. You get up at night, carry them all the time, be with them all day long, they have a lot of needs. But the needs are all pretty easily met - food, sleep, attention, love. Now they sleep, can feed themselves, get dressed, I don't have to watch them 24/7, or deal with diapers but it feels harder. Mostly because there are so many things I'm not sure how to address. I find myself wondering more and more how I should approach issues, how I should talk to them about things, when should I push and when should I back off?
A perfect example of this is school lunches. Miss E, at the start of the year wanted to buy lunch at school. I said no initially since she was only there for 2 days and hardly any of the other kinders did it. Now, she is going more often and more kids are buying so I asked if she wanted to and she said no. Now, I know she said no because she doesn't know how to order it or pick it up and she is afraid. I have explained the process to her and offered to e-mail the teachers to have them walk her through it, but she doesn't want to do it. So, do I push and force her to do it knowing it will be good for her to do? Or do I let her make her own decision based on fear which I don't agree with? It seems like such a small issue but I find that things like this are cropping up more and more. I can't even imagine the teenage years.
Right now, I try not to worry and assure myself that, as my lovely friend Suzy tells me, I didn't break my kids. Mr. T will learn to swim even though we probably waited too long to start lessons. Miss E will build her confidence at her own pace, but it will happen. Mr. T will stop finding everything under the sun scary, even though he probably saw TV shows that were a little too old for him at a young age (thank you older sister!), or maybe I did break my kids and will hear about it later. Undoubtedly, there will be things I do as a parent, issues I took on, ways that I handled things that I deeply regret. There already are, but I have to remember that this is a learning process, both for me and the kids, and that we are all going into it with the best of intentions and the greatest of love and that despite mis-steps and bad decisions along the way, things will turn out OK in the end.