Monday, May 5, 2008

Don't Say That!

I would like to blog about politics or current events or some such, but. honestly, I'm completely checked out from current events. I haven't read the newspaper in too long, I get my political news from Jezebel or my husband (who reads like five papers every day plus political blogs so he's a good source), and I'm completely wrapped up in two things: (1) work project and (2) my kids.
So, since I'm not going to blog about work, I'm going to tell you about my daughter, Helen, who decided this morning to get dressed all by herself. She picked out her dress and shirts (she insisted on wearing an undershirt over her long sleeved shirt), and then, when I told her it'd be too warm for tights, she went and got her socks. Not easy since the sock drawer is at the very top of the dresser and she must've really stretched on the chair she was standing on to get any pair out of there. So what that the pair she ended up with was for a six month old!
Looking back over this paragraph, I see that I wrote she got dressed all by herself as if it was no big deal at all. Like she just pulled her shirt on and figured out the front and back and where her arms were to go and then pulled on the next shirt and did the same and then pulled on her dress as if it didn't have a lining that she could get all gummed up in.
I wrote it like she didn't cry and kick and tell me over and over again that she didn't want any help and that she would do all of it by herself.
I wrote it like she didn't keep saying, "Don't Say That!!" What was "That"? That was "Good job!" or "Perfect!" She didn't want me to say that. No compliments. The compliments were driving her batty.
This took me a while to get. I say "Good job!" as naturally as I say "Hey guys!" and with about as much thought. No wonder she wanted me to stop saying it. She knew she wasn't doing the best job getting her clothes on. But she was trying.
She'd lay down and weep and then try again and tell me to stop saying "Good job!" and then say she couldn't see where her arm went and then tell me she didn't want help and then when I finally said she had to hurry up and finish, which I thought was a little harsh given the circumstances, she actually did.
All that trying and crying reminded me of when I climbed Mt. Elbert, which, according to my then boyfriend, is the highest mountain in Colorado. It was a difficult hike for many reasons, not the least of which was I didn't know we were going all the way to the top until we were halfway there. I believed D. when he said we'd only be going for a little walk on the mountain because it was already 2 in the afternoon when we got there. But no. He took off like the proverbial bat out of hell, and being 6'4" he made fast work of the steep grade. Me, not so much. It was more of a slog in thin air. When I hit the third false summit, I just sat down and told D. to keep going and started to cry. I cried and cried until I finally decided I would feel even worse if I just sat there and waited for D. to come back from the top and didn't get to the top myself because I was almost there anyway.
So I picked myself up and trudged on and made it. D. took about a million pictures of me making my way over that last little bit and I have to say I look happy in all of them. I was happy. I'd made it.
I was a little chagrined, though, what with all the crying. But crying was part of it.
This is what I thought of as I watched my little girl sob in frustration. This is what it feels like to do something hard. At least for me and I guess for her. Sometimes you kind of have to weep and fight to get through it and then you do and you feel like you climbed the biggest mountain ever. Even though you know it wasn't. So don't say it was.


Anonymous said...

I'd say "good job," but you might take it the wrong way. So--good insight!

Robin Aronson said...

No! I think I'll say Thank You, and Good night, too!