Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Archive for the tag “parenting”

Perfect Parenting

 

 

My husband is apparently furious with me over a Facebook post I

made.  I know this because during our argument, he brought it up

and I could actually hear his teeth clenching.  He doesn’t usually get

that mad.

 
So here is what I said:  “I know this is awful, but I am so happy that

my daughter has finally gotten to the age where she wants to do

some things by herself in her room.  I’m sure I will soon be eating

these words.”

 
Why was he so furious?  I told him that at some time, virtually every

mother and father has probably felt like that.  That wasn’t the

problem.  He told me (through clenched teeth) that his problem with

it was that I had made such a NEGATIVE statement, and front of

EVERYONE.  He basically couldn’t believe that I had the temerity to

say it out loud.

 
What the hell?

 
Why not?

 
First, I told him I thought it was a positive statement – I was posting

about something that made me happy.  No.  It was NEGATIVE.  I

guess we can’t admit out loud that our little darling has ANY

annoying issues, because you NEVER are allowed to feel that your

children are annoying.  At least not out loud, apparently.

 
Really?

 
A little bit about my daughter.  Since the minute she was born, she

could not be put down on her own.  She had to be held at all times, or

she just cried.  Our final solution was to buy a sling that we could

wear across our bodies, so that she could look out and be held, and

we could have some hands-free time.

 
As a toddler, she could not be left with toys to amuse herself on her

own.  She had to be touching us, and she had to have her hands all

over what we were doing.

 
She is almost ten, and the “Mommy look, Mommy look” thing has yet

to be extinguished.  While I was writing this I was urgently

summoned to another room for something I HAD to see.  What was

it?  Her dragon game had accidentally put a dragon with the word

“butt” in it next to a dragon that had the word “head” in it.  Ha ha ha,

hysterical!  For that I was summoned away while I had a head full of

words that were in perfect order and needed to be written down

while they were still there.  I’m sure you writers can relate.

 
When she was a baby, my husband thought he could stay with her

and continue to work at home.  You can guess how long that lasted.

We had a brilliant idea!  An in-house sitter who could keep her as he

worked.  Know how long THAT lasted?  Yeah, we had to put her in

daycare, because we both had to work.  And I cried like some crazy

fool when we brought her there, because I never wanted her to be a

daycare baby.

 
As she got older, things didn’t get better.  Even with two adults in the

house, she so constantly demanded attention that we resorted to

hiring babysitters a couple times a week in the afternoon just so we

could do some things on our own.  We seldom left the house, but the

sitters saved our sanity.  And that was HIS idea.

 
Later, as we had yet another worried discussion about how she so

completely could not function alone, my husband thought that

maybe it was because we had so many sitters paying attention to her,

that she had gotten used to it.  No.  I don’t think so.  She was that

way when she started, which is why we were driven to hire the

sitters.

 
You must understand that throughout her lifetime, we have fretted

over her lack of inner resources.  It’s not that my husband didn’t see

the issues.  It’s not that he didn’t think that her neediness was

extreme.

 
So when I made the post, it was because in the last year, she has

gotten to where she wants to watch Minecraft videos, on her own, in

her room.  You have no idea what a relief this was, to have her come

home and not instantly glom on.  She gets upset when I go out to get

the mail without telling her.  I couldn’t finish peeing before she was

looking for me, even after I told her I was going.  “But it’s taking you

such a long TIME!”

 
And saying that was a relief was BAD?  How exactly?  Oh.  We

mustn’t admit that we don’t want to spend every waking minute with

our child.  (This from a man who constantly says he refuses to care

about what other people think).

 
I guess that wanting to get a thought in edgewise makes me a

horrible parent.

 
What the HELL? It’s not that he didn’t recognize that she has an

issue with playing alone.

 
And the thing is, I’ve never stopped accommodating her.  I feel that if

a child wants attention from a parent, and that parent has it to give,

that you should spend it with your child.  After all, they grow up so

fast, right?  So just like I dropped everything to see the Butthead

Dragons (had I known that was what was so urgent, I wouldn’t have),

I have spent my life with a kid treating every little thing as

important, because to them, it is.  I have lavishly praised

achievements, set limits, looked over homework, and made a point of

never refusing a hug, even with onions browning and chicken grease

all over my hands.  I’ve heard my husband refuse hugs:  in the

middle of something, busy now, carrying stuff.

 
So why can’t I say what I said?  Why can no one know?  Why can’t we

let others know about things that are real?  Is he playing the

competitive parent game?  Totally not like him.  Does he just not

want any chinks to show in our perfect armor?  Not really like him

either.  I honestly don’t understand, this time, what torqued him off

so bad.

 
Gentle readers, can you help me?  Am I a terrible parent?  Should

that awful thought have been stifled?  Please weigh in on this.  Am I

missing something?  Help!

A Conversation With My Daughter

“Come on, Mom,” she says. “Come keep me company while I take my bath.”

I pad into the room. I’m still a little ticked off at her, so I keep playing my game on my phone.

“REALLY, Mother,” she says. “The sounds that game makes are making me want to DROWN myself in this bathtub. Could you please turn that down?”

“I’ll turn it down when I lose the game,” I tell her. “I’m doing too good here.”

“Hurry up and lose,” she says. “You’re making me want to mutilate myself.”

“Speaking of which,” I say, “Let me see your lip again.”

She sticks out her lip, white and bumpy on one side where she’s been biting it. I touch it. She’s been biting it so much it’s hard. “I think you’re already mutilating yourself. When do you bite your lip? I don’t even see you biting it.”

“When you’re not looking,” she says.

“And when do you mess with your face?” I ask. “Your dad is always telling you not to touch your face but I never see you touching it.”

She shrugs. “I don’t. Unless it itches.”

“So why does your dad tell you to stop touching your face?”

“I don’t know.” She shrugs.

“Do you do it because it aggravates him?”

“No. I don’t do it at all.”

I ask her the question, the one her father started when she was just little. “So, what was the best and worst part of your day?”

Dramatic eyeroll. “The BEST part was play practice.”

“What was the worst part?”

“YOU know. Just now. When you snapped at me. I was just trying to turn the phone off.”

“I snapped at you because you weren’t listening to me.”

“I WAS listening to you. You just don’t give me a chance to finish saying what I’m saying.”

“You weren’t listening to me earlier in the car. I was trying to work out our schedule. We have to figure out when to do a trial run on your hair and makeup before dress rehearsal. I think our only good time is Thursday afternoon.”

“REALLY, Mother. Do you have to be so controlling?”

“Controlling?? I’m just trying to work out how we need to get everything done for you this week. We’re really busy.”

“You’re even more controlling than Daddy.”

“What?? More controlling than DADDY? What are you smoking?”

“Seriously, Mom. You are.”

“I don’t see how trying to help your life work out better is controlling. So what was the worst part of your day?”

SIGH. “Just now. When you yelled at me. Do you have to be so irritable? It’s awful when you’re irritable.”

“I haven’t been irritable all day.”

“Just NOW.”

“That was the only time. And that was because you were NOT listening to me. Moms don’t like it when their daughters don’t listen. Especially when it’s about their stuff.”

“You’ve been irritable ALL DAY.”

“I have NOT. Name one time.”

“Just now.”

“Name one other time.”

“Can I bring an extra change of clothes to school tomorrow?”

“Sure. Remind me, and we’ll grab some in the morning.”

“Let’s get them now. You can get them. Get me some jeans, and a long-sleeved top. And I need socks, to go with my boots.”

“It’s late,” I tell her. “Hurry up and get out of the tub. We have a long day tomorrow.”

“I AM getting out. We had a long day TODAY.”

“It’s longer tomorrow. Reminds me. If I go to Costco tomorrow, do you need anything?”

“No. But I want to go to Target. It’s Cole’s birthday and I want to get him a present.”

“You want to get Cole a present?”

“Of course. He told me what he wants.”

“I don’t think you should buy Cole a present. He’s not very nice to you.”

SIGH. “I guess I can tell him that’s added to the list of reasons you don’t like him. Since Daddy thinks he’s wishy-washy.”

“Daddy thinks he’s wishy-washy because he has too many girlfriends.”

“You think COLE is wishy-washy? What about his dad? He left Cole’s mom and married Mandy.”

“You mean he’s wishy-washy because he’s divorced and he’s remarried? What does that make your Dad? He divorced and remarried.”

“Wishy-washy.”

“How come you don’t use the blowdryer I gave you?”

“It’s too loud.”

“Would you get OUT of the tub already?”

She pinches a scrawny slip of skin on her tummy. “I’m so FAT.”

“Yeah. You’re a hoss. You can’t even find any fat to pinch. That’s skin.”

She turns sideways, pokes her stomach out in a grotesque parody, and says, “See?”

“Yeah,” I tell her. “I see. I see you have about 3% body fat.”

“I hope I don’t get a BUTT,” she says.

“Why not,” I ask. “Men like butts.”

“Eww,” she says. “They make you look fat.”

“No they don’t. Not if you have a waist.”

“They make you look fat. You put the wrong PE shoes in my backpack.”

“Then maybe you should take care of your own shoes.”

SIGH. “Can I read before I go to bed?”

“No. It’s a long day tomorrow.”

SIGH. Eyeroll. “You said that already. Why is it so cold in here?”

“Because you have no body fat. Get in bed.”

“Mommy?”

“Yes, hon?”

“Do you love me?”

“Of course, hon.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure.”

“More than the universe?”

“More than 2 universes.”

“More than the universe SQUARED?”

“More than that. Go to sleep.”

I pull up the covers to her chin. She snuggles Fluffy the Bear and Soft Blanket; she has them arranged. Because, despite the way the conversations go, she is not 18. She is 8. God help me.

“Good night.”

“Good night, Mommy.”

Mommies Don’t Need Showers

The same scene plays itself out at my house every morning.  I tell my daughter,  “I’m going to take my shower, honey.”. She mumbles “Mmmmh hmmmmm.”

I turn on the shower, get the temperature perfectly adjusted, and get in. Mmmm.  Nice hot shower. Peace and quiet.

Then I hear it:  “Mommeeeee!”. It always sounds urgent, so urgent that I am always suckered in. She sounds somewhat frantic, like she may have cut herself or broken something.

I pull the shower curtain back so I can hear her, since the situation is obviously so dire, and call, What, honey?”.  Of course all my nice warm steam is instantly gone and the cold rushes in. “MommEEEEEEE!  Where ARE you?!?!”

Well, this is infuriating on multiple counts. I told her I would be in the shower, explicitly so she would know where I was, so she would not come screaming around the damn house looking for me. So did she just totally ignore me, or is she playing dumb, because she can’t bear for me to have a moment of peace when I am in the shower?  AND, the water is running in the shower, so it should be damn obvious where the hell I am.

” I TOLD you, I am IN the SHOWER!”

“Mommeeeee!”

“I can’t HEAR you, the water is running!”

Closer now:  “MommEEEE!  Mumble mumble mumble ”

Pull back the shower curtain, cold air rushes in again. “WHAT?!?!”

” Mommeeee, are you dressed?”. She is not allowed to come in until I am dressed.

“Honey!  Would the water in the shower still be running if I were dressed???”

” Oh. No. Can I come in anyway?”

” ND!  I’M NOT DRESSED!”

“But I need …” (insert pointless nonessential thing here).

” NO!”

A pause. Will I finally get to finish my shower in peace?  Now:  whining and scratching. Our daughter desperately wants a puppy, which she has been told she cannot have. She launches into puppy mode, whimpering and wagging, and carrying balls in her mouth to fetch. More scratching and whimpering at the door.  The “puppy” has arrived. She almost certainly has a ball in her mouth. Patience is wearing thin.

“STOPPIT!”

“But Mommeeee!  I’m a PUPPY!”. Are you dressed yet??  Can I come in?  I PROMISE I won’t look!”

” No!  That’s not the point!”

” MEANIE!”

What the hell does she want?  Why can she not STAND for me to take a shower in peace?  Does she want to check and see if I am still a girl?  Is she jealous of any moment of time I have to myself?  Is she so lacking inner resources that she cannot tolerate even a few minutes alone?  Why must I be tormented every single time I take a shower?  By the time I am out I just want to choke her like a chicken.

I finally let her in. Now she stands on the side of the tub, staring at me while I put on my makeup. “What’s that??  Can I have some blush?  Is that a pimple?  Why does your hair look so funny?”

Am I too impatient, too intolerant?  Or is this behavior specifically designed to push all my buttons?  She is eight years old. Isn’t she too old for this bullshit?  Or does it just never end?  God, I hope it ends.

Trouble In School

My daughter is having Issues. Since she has started school, she has easily been a straight A student. She tested into the city’s magnet school, and until this year she has done super. Something happened this year. I don’t know if it was the switch to a new school for 3rd grade, or some issues with her dad, or her extreme social tendencies, or her proclivity for ridiculous drama, or all of the above.
There is a lot more homework this year, there is no doubt about that. But we check her work and go through it with her, and it clearly is not a problem with comprehension. Left to her own devices, she treats the work as nothing but that, an impediment to more fun activities, like goofing around with her friends.
Some of this may be her father’s doing. He grew up in a family that placed little or no value on education. He was the first person in his family to go to college. No one ever checked his work or encouraged him at all. No one in his family read. There were no books in the house. He read the encyclopedia because it was there and he was bored. He was bored in school because he was so bright, but no one bothered to work with him. He wishes constantly that someone had showed some interest in him,, because he would have gotten so much farther in life. So he is trying to give our daughter all the advantages that he never had, and I think he has pushed her too far. He made her do workbook pages all summer, and she was sick of them. Now I think her homework feels like an extension of that and it is just a hurdle to work through as fast as possible so she can get to the fun stuff. She is burned out.
Also she has an on again off again “boyfriend”, and this is causing a lot of problems. He is in her class, on her bus, and in her aftercare. He plays her against her little friend and alternates his “affections” between the two of them, which causes ridiculous drama, especially for 8 year olds. I think she thrives on the drama and does not wish or try to avoid it. This concerns me greatly – there was nothing like this going on when I was a kid and I don’t understand it. I don’t know where that drama gene came from – certainly neither her father nor I have it.
She brought home an ATROCIOUS paper last night – worst grade she ever got. It counted as a grade in two subjects and she got a 51!!  This was work to be done in class, and she tried to blame the little boy who sat next to her for “bothering and distracting” her. I told her this was completely unacceptable and in the future she was to tell the child to hush the heck up and leave her alone. Failing that, she was to request that her teacher move him or her to another table. She told me that hardly anyone in the class completed it but I think she is full of it.
Last night was such a treat. Yes, that is sarcasm. I made her finish the project she got the 51 on. There was so much wailing and gnashing of teeth it was really quite alarming. First she burst into tears and said her Daddy and I hate her, because she is a horrible person and makes horrible grades. This is not the first time this has come up, despite our efforts to reassure her to the contrary. Then she cried again and said everyone at school hates her because she’s annoying. Then she sobbed that she hates her life and everything in it. Does this sound like a healthy 8 year old?  I really don’t think so. A healthy (if unhappy) 14 year old, yes. So now I worry there is something wrong with her. And I am SICK of all the drama. I feel like we’re hit puberty already, and we should be years from that. I hate to make a big deal of it and take her to a shrink or something, but it just feels like something is wrong. Is she just a massive drama queen and I can’t relate to that?  Or is she already broken?  Lord, I feel I’ve been careful with her and raised her carefully. Does anyone out there have a drama queen (or king) and can relate?  Or do I need to seek professional help?

Softball And The Game Of Life

My daughter is playing softball for her third year in a row.  She started when she was four.  Her father has been working hard with her, even in the winter when they throw in the house.  We haven’t broken any windows yet.  This year, they have had the 7-9 year old girls group start pitching, which has been fairly pointless.  Basically, there are three automatic walks and then the coach starts pitching with the bases loaded.  The girls aren’t too accurate yet.

This year she started on a pretty bad team.  She was out of town for the tryouts, so no one got to see how good she is.  She is easily the best catcher on the team.  Her usual spot is first base, which is pretty darn effective, because she can catch just about anything she is thrown.  Unfortunately, they’ve had her on the pitcher’s mound for the first 3 at bats each inning, and she’s not a very good pitcher because she’s only been practicing it for about 3 weeks.  She expects to be good at it right away because she forgets that she has been practicing throwing and catching and batting for 3 whole years.  I think she does more good on first base and they should keep her there.

Since I am now doing the travel doctor stuff, I have 2 or 3 weeks at a time at home now to spend time with my family.  I have been going to all the softball games and practices.  My husband and I have matching Ladybugs t-shirts that say “Bean’s Mom” and “Bean’s Dad” on the back.  We went to the grocery store after a game all decked out and several people commented on what a cute little family we were.  A looks super cute in her Ladybugs uniform:  red ladybug T-shirt, black pants, and red and black socks with ladybugs on them.  She also has a red Cardinals hat and a ladybug hair ribbon that she can’t wear because her bobbed hair is too short.

I was at the first game that they won and I took pictures of the whole thing.  I got some great pics of her making some plays at first and batting.  Of course you will now have to suffer through these pictures because I am so proud of her!  She is a bit discouraged that her team doesn’t win too much but they are getting better and they actually won again last night!  It got cold this week after a storm and we were all bundled up at the game yesterday.

So here are some pictures of Miss A. on her team playing softball:

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Maybe the weather will be warmer for the next game.

Real Mommy Stuff: Chaperoning A Field Trip With 150 Screaming Kiddos In A Dark Cave

I realize it’s been a dog’s age since I’ve published anything here.  But for once this is a good thing.  You see, I’ve been so darn happy and content since I’ve started with the travel doctor thing – I work out of state for 2-3 weeks at a time, and that’s fun because of meeting new people and seeing new places and trying new things, plus I get a little break from family stuff.  Then I’m home for 2-3 weeks at a time, and when I’m here, I get to spend all my time with the fam – so far I’ve sewn my daughter a fabulous costume for her school play (which I did miss because DH and I were in Costa Rica for a much needed getaway, but hey, my folks went and took a bunch of pictures), gone to umpteen softball games and practices, taught my daughter how to do an off-loom beadweaving piece, cooked for my family, exercised, dropped 25 pounds, and accompanied my daughter on my first ever chaperone-field trip-Mommy adventure.  I will be sure to discuss this all in detail, if I can stop having fun long enough to sit down and write about it.

Yesterday I chaperoned a field trip of 7 classes of second graders to a beautiful place here in Alabama called Cathedral Caverns.  It was an amazing site and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes caves, traveling, awesome forces of nature and beautiful things to give it a try.  It is also a state park.  I followed the 3 buses in my van, which was quite the experience because those bus drivers drive with an extreme sense of purpose, I must say.  I won’t say they were dangerous, but they sure led us parent-types on a merry chase for an hour.

On arrival, I experienced a level of extreme screaming that I have not had since I myself was going on field trips.  Not just my daughter’s 7 second grade classes were there, but buses from several other schools.  The noise level is something like going into one of those humming Danger:  High Voltage transformer enclosures, and actually sticking one’s head into the transformer.

We finally gathered our flock together and entered the cave.  I do see now, if there has ever been any doubt, why I did not go into the field of elementary education.  But the cave trumped all the crazy kids and it was beautiful! 

So I had my first awesome experience as a chaperone and it was great!  After a picnic lunch, the kids panned for gemstones and we got to take home a big bag of rocks.  Also there was the gift shop of course, a necessary part of any travel experience!  We bought a beautiful agate geode slice with a stand and brought it home to add to A’s rock collection.

A Screaming Baby

Today I am thinking about when my husband and I first brought our new daughter home from the hospital.

We were in the hospital for four days after my c-section because everything went so rough. When I finally had enough strength to go home, we went home. Our daughter was a perky newborn with bright curious eyes peering out of her baby carrier and almost a smirk on her little face. We have a picture. I can prove it. I recalled vaguely that on the occasions that we sent her to the nursery so we could rest, I could hear her doing a little crying down the hall. OK, a lot of crying. In retrospect, she was probably one of the babies that the nurses rolled their eyes about and said, “Lord, there she goes again. Somebody make it stop!”

Smug Bean

Smug Bean

I remember pulling up in the driveway with her for the first time and thinking, Lord, what have we done? We carried her in with me walking very carefully, as my new c-section scar pulled and tugged and burned. We installed me in the leather recliner in my husband’s downstairs office where, unbeknownst to me, I was going to spend the next four weeks.

Our new arrival had colic. Bad. As near as I could tell, she hated being alive and it was all my fault. Almost every waking moment, she screamed. For hours. I walked her. My husband walked her. My mom walked her. It was worst around (what would have been) bedtime in the evening. She bowed up and wailed and screamed as if someone were burning a hole through her stomach. She was breastfed, so I couldn’t imagine what was bothering her. It never occurred to me that it might have been nothing identifiable at all.

Screaming Bean

Screaming Bean

A week passed, and my folks went on home. My husband had decided that my time at home with the new baby would be a good time for him to travel for work, since I wasn’t on call when I was off on maternity leave. So he flew away on a work trip. Every day he would call and check on me, and every day I would tell him the same thing: “Remember that chair I was sitting in when you left? I’m still in it.” I don’t remember eating. I don’t remember cooking anything. I really didn’t have a chance. I had a newborn who, if set down for a moment, bowed up and screamed as if she were being branded. So in the chair I sat, all alone, in mid-July, with a wailing infant who could not be comforted, except when she was eating. And eat she did.

One day I decided I was sick and tired of being stuck in the house. Why, I would put her in her stroller and we would go out for a walk around the neighborhood. A great idea, except my baby despised her car seat. And her stroller. And being set down. And buckled in. And the July heat when we went outside. I put her in her stroller and rolled her outside. Immediately she screamed so loud her voice echoed off the houses around us. I slunk back inside with my terrible baby.

Another day, I decided to go for a ride to Sonic, for one of my favorite lemonberry slushes. This would be the first time I had left the house in over a week, save for the time I barely got out the door with the stroller. I was determined. I was going. I put her in her car seat and she began to scream, immediately. I was still determined. I drove all the way to the Sonic with her screaming in the back seat. On the way there, I began to cry. I was a terrible mother. I was making my infant scream with misery because of my selfishness in wanting to go out to Sonic. I arrived there sobbing, with big tears rolling down my face. She was still screaming. I placed my drink order in between sobs. Then I climbed out of the car and walked around to the back seat to comfort my daughter. She still screamed as if I had beaten her. Just then, the carhop came out to the car with my drink. She recognized me. “Doctor…?” she said. She looked from fat sobbing me in my grungy maternity sweats to my screaming daughter who was inconsolable, set the drink down, and backed away. I took my drink and slunk back to the house. The kid screamed until I took her inside and got her out of her carseat.

It was about this time that I called my mother. I hated to ask for help. It KILLED me to ask for help. But I begged her to come back and help me. I was all alone. This was all I could take. When my daughter wasn’t eating (which she did a lot) or sleeping, which she did very little, I had to keep holding her and keep moving with her. This was the only way to keep her from screaming. I put her in a little sling and walked the house endlessly. I looked sadly at all my jewelry making supplies and thought about how I would never use them again. If she fell asleep and I dared just to sit down for an instant to rest, she jerked awake and the Godawful screaming started again. It was just like flipping a switch. Unbelievable. Thank God, Mom showed up to bail me out. She stayed until my husband got home again.

My husband decided to take over and get online and find a cure for the colic. You wouldn’t believe how many websites there are on how to shut up a colicky baby. We put her in the car and drove her – she screamed. We put her in her carseat on the dryer and turned it on, because the warmth and vibrations were supposed to soothe her to sleep. She screamed. I have a picture of her in her carseat, screaming on the dryer. We got her gas drops, and these homeopathic stomach drops, and she screamed. I cut out dairy products in case she was lactose intolerant. She screamed. My husband found this ridiculous site that had a two step process to break the colic cycle. You were supposed to pat the baby to bring up any gas, then distract the baby (how?) to keep it from bowing up and blowing its stomach up full of air again. I wound up wild-eyed chanting, “PAT the baby. DISTRACT the baby. PAT the baby. DISTRACT the baby.” until my husband took her out of my hands for fear I had lost my mind. One night my mom found my husband in his office, passed out with a screaming baby on his lap. She took the baby and walked her for several hours, screaming all the while. I had been sent upstairs because it was obvious I was losing my mind.

Crying Bean

Crying Bean

We took the baby in for her two week checkup and mentioned that we might, er, have a little problem with colic. My pediatrician prescribed Prilosec for possible reflux, and we were supposed to tilt her bassinette up in case stomach acid was coming up her throat. This seemed to help a little, but basically, she just screamed. She screamed for several months. Then gradually, she just stopped. It never occurred to me that this was causing postpartum depression. I was in this mental fadeout fog that made any kind of perception impossible. Looking back, it was more of a postpartum psychosis. But I didn’t see that then.

Was my daughter the most difficult baby ever? No. Probably not. Was she too much for me to handle? Yes, definitely so. Despite my love of photography, I took not one photograph of her that entire time. All the pictures we have, my husband took. Although I didn’t put it into words, did I hate my baby? Yes, I think I did. Yet I loved her fiercely all the while. Looking back, this was an insane period in my life. At the time, it was just a blur. Thank goodness we have outgrown that horrible time and my daughter is a healthy seven year old who, despite a penchant and flair for drama, doesn’t scream and cry any more.

Grand Chess Master

My daughter is learning to play chess. My husband has been working on teaching her for about two years now. She is seven. Her school offers a chess club for the second graders. She goes to the local magnet school where learning is accellerated and grades are K-2. So she is the big cheese in her school right now. Next year she starts at the bottom, at the next magnet school which is 3-5. After that, they mainstream them back into the middle school that they are zoned for, but they will go to a section of the school for AP type learning. Anyway. Chess. For two years now.

I’ve played chess maybe twice. In my entire life. Literally. My history with games with squares on them is not very good. I don’t think well several moves ahead and I just don’t see things. Of course, some of this could be because I’ve never practiced them, from sheer dislike. I do not enjoy games with squares on them.

Of course, my daughter has been after me to play a game of chess with her. I have been making excuses because I really don’t enjoy chess, I really don’t understand it, I don’t know the moves, and the prospect of having my ass kicked by a seven year old is really depressing. So far, fortunately, my husband and daughter are accepting my excuses. And I’m really glad, because I wouldn’t want to teach her anything wrong. And if she had a question, I wouldn’t be able to answer it.

My husband is apparently a pretty good chess player. I wouldn’t know because first, I’ve never played with him, and second, I’m sure he’d be able to kick my butt handily and I still wouldn’t recognize exactly how good he was or wasn’t. Even though I don’t do chess, I’m glad my daughter is learning. Her school seems to believe that learning chess is good for children’s development for a number of reasons: it helps them to concentrate, visualize, see several moves ahead, and helps with visual-spatial orientation. I think it’s just plain cool that my kid can play chess. Right now she’s learning something called castling which all sounds very complex.

My husband bought a chess set called “No Stress Chess,” which is a pretty cool idea. Before you move, you draw a card and the card tells you which piece to move and how it moves. So you only have a choice of one type of piece to move. As you get better, you can draw a collection of cards and choose which move you want to make from those choices. He also got a book called, “Chess Is Child’s Play,” which is apparently geared toward teaching children how to play chess, and also teaching adults who are trying to teach their children how to teach them. He has recommended them to her school system by emailing them to her enrichment teacher. I guess she appreciated the recommendations. She has been sending emails out about the chess club, which they are about to start for the year. I can only assume my daughter will be in it.

So several years from now, when you see my daughter in the Grand Chess Master competition, or whatever the heck you call it, you will know from whence humble beginnings she comes. I’m sure she’ll be good at it. She’s already beating her babysitters. She’s really good at anything she puts her mind to.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 In Pictures

These photographs are representative of my 2012 in photographs.  Actually, no.  These photographs are all of my daughter.  I guess that shows you the most important thing to me of all, in 2012 or in any year.  My daughter.  My beautiful daughter.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

Here in Alabama we don’t get much snow.  So the first time we got a little, our little daughter was very tentative about going outside.  She tested the snow with all her senses; here we have her tasting her first snowflakes. 

Amanda Tastes The Snow

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