Thursday, June 10, 2010

Waves and feet

Will and I met in college in Newport, RI.  This sculpture is located right in the heart of downtown.  It was one of my favorite parts of the downtown area.  When we went to Rhode Island for my half marathon, we detoured to Newport to show the kids where we met.  It feels sort of full circle to have a picture of my girls here, it is such a part of my past and now they get to be part of that, too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My most challenging episode as a Mother

I have had my fair share of difficult times with my girls.  There have been tantrums, power battles, stalling, all the normal stuff.  There have been incredibly difficult times, sickness of parents, both mine and Will's, Maya being in the hospital for so long after two weeks at home as an infant, and the wrath I endured from my oldest as a punishment for being gone so long.  That all sucked.  it really did, but it was completely doable because there was a reason for all of it.  Everything that happened had a cause, and so we could figure our way through it.  A few weeks ago Lilly decided that she wanted to learn to ride her bike without training wheels.  I was thrilled because I thought this day would never arrive.  Lilly is not a risk taker, in any sense of the word.  She also does not deal well with pain.  At all.  which we have learned to deal with as a part of her personality and it's fine.  Bike riding without training wheels, however requires both risk taking and most likely an injury or two, so I knew it was going to be a challenge.  Little did I know what a challenge it would be.  We headed over to the girl's school where there is a large tarred surface as well as a field with a dirt track around the edge.  We started with the running behind and holding the seat (which I have since learned is not the way to teach a kid to ride...who knew?) and after approximately a minute and a half, she was upset because she couldn't ride.  A minute and a half.  Now Lilly is like me in that she wants to be good at something the moment she attempts it, and does not like not being able to do something, especially in front of people, no matter who they are.  So we did all the pep talks, the relatable stories, etc.. No dice.  So we kept running behind and she kept to getting it and getting more and more upset.  We moved to the field because she was afraid of falling on the tar.  Fine.  I ran with her for a few more minutes, and then something happened.  She started to melt down.  Like an epic meltdown a two year old might have.  It was unreal.  She started bawling and screaming and generally acting very un-Lilly like.  I sort of had to step back and rub my eyes to be sure it was really happening.  I kept repeating to my self that she would remember learning to ride a bike for her entire life, so I had better choose my words and actions carefully.  Holy mother of all patience.  I asked her what was wrong.  She said she wanted to quit.  I asked her if she was scared.  No, not scared.  I asked her if she was tired.  No, not tired.  Just didn't want to do it.  I asked her why she all of a sudden didn't want to learn to ride.  She told me that she wanted to stop because it was hard.  Because it was hard.  What?!  If you know me at all, even if it is through this blog, you immediately recognized why this made me immediately and completely bat shit crazy.  You do not quit something because it is hard.  Ever.  Because it is hard is the reason you try even more.  I stopped for half a moment so that I didn't completely lose my mind, took several deep breaths, counted to twenty, I think, and then went in for the talk.   I told her that we wouldn't be stopping because it was hard.  If she was scared or tired or anything else she could get off the bike no problem.  She wasn't any of those things she said, she just didn't want to do it because it was hard.  What happened next was not anything she expected.  I told her to get on the bike and she was going to ride.  She refused.  I told her that she was getting on the bike, and assisted her in the process.  She was yelling and crying that she could not and wouldn't.  I proceeded to run around with her for half an hour all the while she was crying and hollering and generally being a pain in the ass about the whole thing.  Now, I know this may sound like an odd thing to make your kid do, why not just walk away?  Who cares if she ever learns to ride without training wheels?  I do.  Because SHE wants to learn to ride without training wheels.  If she didn't, I wouldn't, but I am not letting any child of mine quit something because it is hard.  No way.  So after about half an hour, HALF AN HOUR of torture for her and for me,she stopped crying and started pedalling more and stopped ditching off the bike every two feet, and started steering and trying and smiling and finally laughing.  She got so close to getting it but wasn't 100% confident that she could do it.  We were all tired by then, and she had had enough, but for the right reasons this time.We left the playground happy and with a feeling of hope that she would get it the next time we went out.  The next weekend we went to a different park with a different kid, and she got it.  After five minutes, she totally had her balance and steering and confidence and a giant smile.  No tears, no ditching the bike, a new found pride, and just a touch of cockiness around the edges.  She can ride.  SHE CAN RIDE!  She finally understood why I was so adamant that she not quit the week before.  I was so proud that she actually put everything she had into it.  I think she learned that hard work, put into something difficult can yield amazing results.  I learned that patience, as hard as it can be to hold onto at times, is something that makes all the difference in the world.