Resilience

Charlotte came home from school all happy and bubbly, and I thought, what was I so worried about? Clearly this is not a kid who gets knocked down by one thwarted plan to catch the bus:

We played a long game of frisbee together, and then I said, “Charlotte, today is your last gymnastics class. I would love to watch you, but I’m not going to make you go. Would you like to go to your last class?” “No.” Oh, darn, I thought, more money down the drain. “Are you sure?…Last chance to practice that cartwheel and maybe do another flip in the air.” “No,” she said. “Ok. You don’t have to go. However, I will be taking Fenner to her gymnastics class and so you will have to come then.” “Awwwww, but I don’t want to go!” “Hmm, this is a problem. Will you help me solve it?” She said yes and I got a pad of paper and wrote the problem at the top and wrote down all the solutions we could think of. Her top choice was Arrange a playdate for Charlotte but we settled on Watch a movie at Nana and Papas.

A bit later Fenner came by. “Charlotte, do you want to go to gymnastics today? It’s game day! You get to play games and have fun…do you want to go?” “No.” “Well…are you going to let me go to my gymnastics?” “Yes.” “Oh…good…because I really want to go.” (Another baby step in the right direction.)

After week one, Fenner has totally taken on the responsibility of deciding when to get ready and leave for both school and her activities. My challenge now is to pay attention so I’m ready when she says ok let’s go. All those things I used to say: “Are you watching the clock? You’d better get dressed. Is this show almost over? If you want to be on time we have to leave soon. Fifteen minutes! Ten minutes! Five minutes!” And on and on. Now I don’t say a word. Occasionally Fenner asks me what time it is, and then I wait for her to say, “I’m ready mom!” It’s pretty incredible.

And when it was time to leave Sloane’s house to pick Fenner up again, Ellen was playing with her cousins and I said, “Ellen, time to go, I’ll be in the car!” And forced myself to stop there and go to the car. I wasn’t sure what she would do, but less than 5 minutes later she was in the car with me. Wow.

At 8:30pm they were all happily gathered around Fenner’s Nintendo DS. I was sorting the mail nearby and all was well until Charlotte decided to try and hit the game out of Fenner’s hands. “Stop!! Why did you do that?! Now you can’t watch, you dummy!!” And she hit Charlotte on the arm. I felt my body react but I kept my mouth shut and I quickly walked away and headed upstairs.

That’s definitely one of my buttons: Big sisters who are nasty. I lied down on my bed and thought about that. So what do I believe about big sisters who are nasty? Big sisters who are nasty will be nasty all their lives to lots of people and people won’t like them, and those people will assume the parents of that nasty person must have been nasty too and the nastiness is sure to destroy any hope of a loving sister relationship at any point in the future. And is that belief reasonable and realistic? Well, I pestered my older sister and she was mean to me for years and now we are nice and loving people and we are also very good friends. So …. no … not reasonable or realistic. Got it.

Hey, nobody watched any TV again today. Will the surprises never cease?

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 2: Buttons? What buttons?

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