Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I hope I have not ruined her forever.

In more than one blog post, I have talked about my failings as a parent. I don't know how specific I have gotten. But one of my failings has really come to light lately. Well, I guess it is really two related things, which can be summed up with two phrases: too much and not enough

First of all, I do too much for my kid. I complain about and to J that she does little, but I never seem to follow through. For many years, she has taken her dishes to the kitchen after each meal, which was more than my brothers ever did when I was in charge of the dishes beginning in 4th grade (yes, I remember that). But that is usually where it ends. Then again, my hubby has trouble locating the dishwasher, so she may get it honestly (note that the hubby really does a lot of stuff; he just can't seem to open the dishwasher). Tonight I had her sweep the floor, and it was painful to watch. Which was exactly how it was when I asked her to do this a month ago. I guess I just don't have the patience to sit through that.

Getting up and ready on school days are even worse. I pretty much do everything for her, except for putting her clothes on and spoon-feeding her. I wake her up, pick out her clothes, get breakfast and put it away, put her lunch with cold pack in her backpack, feed the pets and take the dog out. Because we are so behind in the morning, most of the time I untie her shoes (which she leaves tied from the evening before) and then tie them once they are on because she is so slow about it.

Yes, I have created a dependent monster. But if I do not do those things, then I will never make a bus that gets me to work on time. Sigh. I know that just once I need to do everything. And, in fact, after I had snapped at her one of many times, one morning before Christmas, she told me she wanted to do everything on her own. And you know what? She did just that, which I just reminded her of just a few minutes ago. Why won't she do that more often? Well, I know why.

And in the (sort of but not really) opposite vein of my doing too much for her, here is where my other failing comes in: I have not made her do enough things. She has never been on a sports team, she has never taken dance lessons, and she has done very little social things. She takes piano lessons, but that is a solo thing. And she was in the church choir, but that fell by the wayside almost a year ago when other kids had sports to do, and J was one of a just a few kids left. In the past, I have forced her into things at the library as well as summer swim lessons, and those have worked out. But since I have been working, I have not been able to do anything like that. And now I am paying the price.

I got an email on Monday inviting staff/faculty, and their kids to a swimming/diving meet and swim clinic after. Swimming and diving are our favorite Olympic sports, so J thought that was pretty cool. But when I mentioned the clinic for the kids, her enthusiasm ended. She said she is too scared to do the clinic, particularly since I will be up in the stands. Fortunately, the woman in charge of registration was very understanding when I explained J's shyness. She told me if J ends up not doing it after the meet, that is fine. And she even asked me what she could do to help ease her nervousness. This woman is my new best friend!

If I were a betting woman, I would bet that we will go to the meet and leave. But maybe, just maybe, she will change her mind. In the meantime, I have no idea how to solve this dilemma. But if someone invents a time machine, I will definitely go back in time and make my kid do stuff!

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