Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer, part two

I still haven't really settled into summer. (We're coming up on a streak of camping trips three weekends in a row, so that will be hectic.) I keep starting my bike ride home from work, and realizing I don't know what route to take, because I haven't thought through who needs to be picked up from where. The thing is, nobody needs to be picked up, because the kids are already home. Nothing needs to be picked up, because I can just send the kids to get groceries or pick up library books if needed. Bliss. Also, nobody has homework to throw tantrums about!

The kids haven't really worked out how this is going to go, either. They swim in the morning and then they bicker and read and are bored.*

Skipper is, as I mentioned, very angry that I have signed her up for some activities (frisbee, choir, and some dancing) - I secured her grudging agreement when I signed her up, but now that the activities are getting closer, she's getting very upset about it. I don't think she's ever going to be comfortable being bad at things. This weekend, I finally just handed it all over to her, because it's time for her to own her discomfort.  She needs to take responsibility for her choice to try or not try things (and she frequently does want to try, deep in her terrified little heart). It can't be me or Cook. I told her I'd withdraw her from any or all the activities she's registered for, no questions asked. She said she needs to think about it. (She least wants to do ultimate frisbee, but she's very seduced by the new cleats we got her, so she's waffling on that. Gear is really compelling.)

This wasn't a principled parenting decision, made calmly according to all available information. I'm just tired of doing the work for her, and I doubt that it's the best way forward anyway. I'm just giving up on the emotional effort, basically. It scares me, though. I am afraid that she will cramp herself into the smallest possible life; she is actively afraid of taking up space, of being seen and heard and acting in the world. There's nothing wrong with a small life,** but I would like it to be an informed choice instead of an entirely fear-based choice. However, I don't get to choose for my fierce little fear-monkey, so it's up to the siren song of the cleats.

I will note, though, that her swimming skills, and her confidence in them, have improved enormously already after a few weeks of swim practice, so at least she'll be a fear-monkey who can swim.



*They get really bored. Cook and I are 100% unsympathetic.
** I have a small life, and I really like it. It's definitely somewhat fear-based, but there were choices involved, and I know I turned away from the wider world. (I was just listening to a podcast interview with Denis McDonough, and I realized that I would really like to be White House Chief of Staff.  If any of you become President, please keep me in mind for the job.)

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