Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I want that too! Why didn't I get one?.....You know the story...

We are still working through why she did not get the second trophy her two friends did at the swimming awards banquet. We tried to point out that she received a silver pin for her stroke improvement at Champs, and then the question comes, "Did Aria cry because she did not get the silver pin?". I don't know was my reply. Aria’s mom did have to explain to her daughter that she did not improve on her times at champs, the final swim meet of the year and thus no silver pin.” Aghhh and so the conversation continues.

Try to explain to a 5 year old, that she did not get the trophy because she did not always have the best attitude, (aka she cried about twice a week at swim practice) or she did not improve enough. Then it becomes a story of "mom, you always say I do not have a good attitude." Oh my goodness where did the "always say", come from, I muse in my mind. (She sounds like a teenager now.)

I must get to those positive parenting notes I have somewhere in my cluttered house! Now how can I undo the damage! My friend who is a social worker and sometimes works with kids, called to let me know that she would be happy to listen to Margo if she wanted to talk about the trophies. Gee have I done such a lousy job at parenting that my daughter needs counseling at age 5? I thought it could wait till she was at least a little past 6 years old, about half way through kindergarten. I hope you all know I am smiling widely as I have been writing these paragraphs before me. I would laugh at loud except that my two loves, daughter and husband are sleeping in their beds, and their doors are open.

So, all you parents must relate to this situation. Your kid does not win the prize, for improvement or leadership, or some other character trait; you KNOW they exhibit some time during the day. Then the question comes out really loud in the midst of the awards, "Why didn't I get the big trophy too?" At this point, I, the embarrassed parent want to cover her mouth and remove her from the award ceremony, while at the same time removing myself. But I do not. I figure this is where she gets a life lesson about earning awards versus winning awards. Isn’t it great, that at a young age we can begin to teach our children about the realities of life? We get a chance to learn the best way to teach them about this reality, that yes dear some people are nicer then others. Yes dear, some kids are smarter than others, or are better leaders than others. That is what life contains. It is neither bad nor good, but provides us a chance to grow into better persons. Yada, yada, yada....I am still working on the best way to explain this to my 5 year old, Margo.

First I thought perhaps it would be a good idea if she made cards and sent them to her swim buddies. Those were the girls who looked after her at the swim meets. I think she ended up with a bunch of swim buddies. The official one was Julia, then Rachel and Ashley, and of course Jessica, who is too old to have a buddy, but too young to be a buddy, and finally there was Ainsley, the 8-year old who shared Rachel and Ashley with her. Margo agreed to make these all cards...and we are starting the process of her looking beyond herself.

Then I had the idea, ok, how about making congratulation cards for Aria and Siena, about their extra trophies? What was I thinking, you are all saying about now? "But who will send me a card of congrats...for my pin"...and then the tears....and more tears...and then she bopped me on the chin, and I sent her to her room to think about what she had done. I visit her in her temporary holding cell; she had climbed up into her bunk bed to consider her current situation. “Are you ready to apologize” I ask? “No” she said, “and you should apologize to me”, was her reply. This part of the story gets to be a little hazy, but in her mind I was not helping her get over the trophies, because we keep talking about it. Better said, "How can I get over it, when you talk about it mom?"...."and you always say I have a bad attitude..." I realize she is making some sense, so I apologize and ask her to forgive me, which she does. Then I tell her I forgive you for bopping me on the chin, and then I wait..."Well aren't you going to say you are sorry?" "No, I am not ready yet mom." Ok, I say and leave for a few minutes. Upon my return, she does say she was sorry for bopping me on the chin, and then that is that.

This past paragraph was my attempt at getting my daughter to look beyond herself, via creating the cards...but instead I created an opportunity for her to think I thought less of her. So back to the drawing board I say. I need to approach this subject again, from another angle. I am not sure what the angle will be, but she needs to learn that awards are awards. It is something you earn for doing something well. And I really believe this was a good experience for her to start learning about this aspect of life.

Later that day, she mentioned how she would get two trophies next year, a big one and the little one. I think she really is planning on working on her attitude a little bit. She said, she will not cry if she bumps into someone while swimming, she will go and follow the stroke of the person in front of her even if she did not understand the coach, and she will try not to whine so much.

I think she really does love to swim, and as she gains her confidence with the different strokes and the different drills, she will not need to whine. Why you ask? Because she will be older and wiser as a 6 year old who would have completed kindergarten. Will she be grown up by then? No. absolutely not, but she will be a little bit more mature, and better able to handle her world and the changes that come with a wide variety of situations. I will be sure to provide her the "wide variety of situations".

I know, I know, you all think I am dreaming, I bet you can't wait to read what I write as she starts school in late August...oh we shall laugh out loud quite a bit I think! Enjoy the week, and whatever challenges your little ones bring you when they say, "Why didn't I get the big trophy?"

1 comment:

  1. Ah, this must be a bit more of an only child issue; my kids are just all around accustomed to the unfairness of life, it seems! One gets a certain color vitamin, the other doesn't. One gets a a reward or a snack after a baseball game, the one that did not participate did not.

    I think it's wonderful M had such an encouraging swim experience, and how wonderful for her trophy and pin! I think it's really neat how you use all these opportunities as life lessons. How wonderful for M to have such a wise, patient mommy!