Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Biking Battles

No, do. Or do not. There is no try.

Unless you’re a five year old, then there is most certainly try. Kirk was grounded all weekend. Grounded from television and movies, grounded from video games, grounded from Star Wars. And he lost his blankie. His infraction? Refusal to try.

We bought Kirk a new big boy bike with training wheels for his 5th birthday. He was so excited about it; he rode it all over the store as we secretly picked out other presents and passed them back and forth behind his back. We brought it home and he rode it all over the neighborhood with his daddy and around the block on a walk with his mama and sister. And then he stopped. For some reason he got scared of it and we can’t figure it out. “I don’t know how.” So we told him he had to ride it every single night so he could learn and practice. But even then he’d freak out. “I can’t.” Both of us lost our tempers on several occasions.

I decided to try getting him used to the bike slowly. We explored how it rocks between the training wheels and how that lessens when he sits on it and his weight lowers them. We explored how the front and back brakes grab the front and back wheels. We explored how far you can turn the handle bars to the right and the left and how it will make the bike tip over if you go too far. We even explored standing on the front pegs while I anchored the bike. Kirk will sit on it and cheerfully put his feet on the pedals. But actually pedal the bike? “I can’t.” And then he said, “I quit.”

Mr. b realized that there must be something else going on and did a little bit of online child psychology research. Apparently there are several reasons why a child might refuse to try and the one that seems to make the most sense with Kirk is perfectionism. He’s good at riding his trike. He’s not an expert at riding his bike and doesn’t know all the ins and outs of it yet. So we put too much pressure on him and made it worse, which just sucks and makes us both feel horrible. But we also can’t let him win and had to figure out a way for him to earn back his privileges without making him ride the damn bike. So he had to try new food.

Trying new foods has always been a battle with Kirk. ALWAYS. It’s ridiculous how often we fight over him eating, or rather not eating. But this time it’s like he knew that this was the best compromise for all parties. Sunday supper, he ate a half a hamburger for the first time ever and had an entire ear of corn. And got his blankie and TV and video games and Star Wars back.

Now, thinking back on it, we’ve had this same issue with bikes before. When Kirk switched from the little sit-down scooter thingie to the Thomas big wheel, he was extremely reticent to learn how to pedal. I remember being so frustrated as he scooted with his feet instead of pedaling. And then when he switched from the big wheel to the tricycle it was the same thing. He was so good at the low to the ground pedaling and suddenly being upright on a trike was a major change. He liked the concept of the trike but was hesitant and rarely used it. Which drove me nuts. So I guess this isn’t new behavior. I just need to remember it for when the time comes to take the training wheels off. Hooboy that’s going to be tough.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Melancholy Musings

Sometime around 15 years ago my dad had a tumor removed. It had been growing inside his sinus cavity and was the size of a grapefruit. It was benign. But it was so weird and fucked up that the surgeon requested to have students and other staff witness the operation and went on to write a paper about it. I’m sure the tumor itself resides in a jar somewhere.

On Friday I noticed a strange solid lump under my nostril, deep within my lip tissue. Naturally I immediately went to the paranoid place and thought of my dad’s tumor. Yesterday the doctor assured me it was either another staph outbreak or, more likely, a zit or cold sore type thing that is simply too deep to actually erupt. That would certainly explain the swollen feeling. He called it a furuncle, wrote me up a prescription, and I at least psychologically feel better.

Over the weekend I found myself thinking about my own untimely demise. After the sudden death of a coworker this year I find myself less and less afraid of death itself, which has always been too horrifying for me to even contemplate. It still quickens my pulse to think about too realistically but I’ve come to realize that I won’t actually care when it happens. It’ll be those that are left behind that matter. And that’s made me worry about being remembered by my children.

Luke Skywalker asks Princess Leia if she remembers her mother. She claims that yes, she does. Now obviously, if she means Padme, this is a bunch of bullshit. I can retcon/fanwank it that hey, she’s probably teaming with the Force, too, and so maybe she actually does have a vague recollection of that one image of her mother’s face, minutes after being born. But that’s seems like crossing into Dune territory and Leia is no Alia. It’s far more likely that Leia is talking about her adopted mother, Bail Organa’s wife, who apparently must have died when Leia was still quite young. Now the fact that Luke knows he’s adopted and Leia seems to be unaware is a separate issue that I’ve also spent far too much time pondering.

Kirk is five. He remembers things that I don’t remember. He brings up incidents in his past that once he’s jogged my memory I can recall but I never would have given them a second thought if he hadn’t called attention to them. What about Veronica? She’s 16 months. Even if she was teaming with the Force, would she remember more than a vague impression?

Ronnie and I have been missing each other a lot lately. We somehow came to the mutual realization that we really don’t spend all that much time together. I get home from work, we have dinner, we go for a walk or play outside, then it’s bath, jammies, bottle, bed. I see her only for a couple of hours every day. That’s not enough time and yet I don’t know how to make it more. We’ve spent some long weekends together recently and that’s helped. But I still long for her and she still immediately defers to me once I come home, no matter how much she loves spending the day with her daddy. What would happen to her if she grew up without a mother?

I’ve been keeping this blog since I found out I was pregnant with Kirk, nearly 6 years ago now. In some ways I consider it a text for his future, a record of his early years that’s almost certainly filled with too much information. I don’t think the same can be said for his sister. I write less and less often of late and though I try to give equal time to both kids, there’s just no way to include as much detail about Ronnie because she’s younger and she’s not an only child. She has to deal with being the second kid in so many ways. I haven’t written word one in her baby book. We haven’t gotten portraits of her to send to all her extended family. She has virtually no toys of her own, playing instead with cars and action figures that her brother already acquired. I know she’ll never know any different and so won’t have an issue with that. I know she’ll come into her own with language development and we will get her separate things as she gets older. But will she have a record of what her mama thought? I hope so. I hope she’ll be able to ask me directly. If not, I hope she’ll have as many years of blog entries as her brother. And yet I feel like I’m just about ready to retire this whole blog endeavor. What comes next?