"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Emotionally Crushed by Bubbles

It's not fair. It is totally not fair. Because it is not me who has a problem with the speed at which Princess learns to swim. It is not me at all. But it is me who has to sit holding her in restraint for 40 minutes, with sweat so slick I can barely keep the fingers from pinching me, the hand from slipping out and hitting my face, the head from rearing back and knocking me out by my temples. So, really. If "things being fair" ever actually entered into consideration in real life, I would be on the list.

I've got three children for which everything comes easily, and I oh so desperately wish Princess were the youngest. I can already see that Peanut is academically slightly ahead of where Buddy was at her age, which means that with Princess going into second grade and Peanut going into first, they now read at the same level. And Princess knows. Oh, she knows. Not that she's ever said anything about it, or about (heaven forbid!) how it makes her feel, but I can tell because every time Peanut picks up a book, Princess loudly and not-very-nicely proclaims that Peanut can't read that. And, while the Cuddle Bear is comfortably enough behind Princess, it's not so much behind (she can already spell some words correctly) that Princess doesn't copy what the Cuddle Bear gets praised for.

But academics is still not as obvious as swim. I ran into the swim teacher at the grocery store, and we strategised together for this session. I told her that Peanut had swum the length of a hotel pools with no floaty things; she said she had been waiting for Peanut to want to not use a "bubble" (the handy device that keeps the learning children from actual drowning). We decided to move the Cuddle Bear from four to two bubbles, mostly because she's so tiny that four bubble actually keeps her from moving. Buddy was to be allowed to try out the next class up. And then there's Princess. Who still looks like she might manage to drown, even while wearing the four bubble. We decided two, for now. Because either she'll be able to do it, or she won't and won't feel secure, and might come to the conclusion of what she needs on her own. Maybe. Or not.

So I tell Buddy the new plan privately. And I tell Peanut the new plan privately. But when I tell Peanut, I can see from 50 feet away that Princess's ears have changed their shape. They are now large and pointy and hairy, remarkably like those of a bat. When I near Princess, she jumps up and says,

"Can I have no bubble too?"


"Um, well, Princess, you'll have to talk to Miss K about it (like the deflection there? Nice!). But I'm not sure you'd feel safe that way. I notice that when we're swimming in other pools, you hold on to the wall."

She wore the two bubble. And she tried to get the (very young) lifeguards to take it off her. Twice. Until Miss K told her she was absolutely not to do that again. At dinner the kids told Josh their swim lesson news. Except Princess, who said nothing. Until Peanut asked for seconds. Seconds are rare at our table, but Peanut is about to hit a growth spurt and had shoveled in her dinner entirely in about 90 seconds. I told her to wait awhile to see if she was still hungry after the food actually made it to her stomach, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Princess's ears go pointy again right before she fit the rest of her dinner into her mouth all at once.

"Can I have more?"


"Well, yes, but just you'll need to wait like Peanut so you can listen to your stomach."

And really, what followed could have been about the food, on another day, because that is a typical "thing." But it wasn't. Because after she decided on green mouldy teeth and no pajamas and her shirt not all the way off her head and we were on her bed I said in her ear, "I love you Princess. I think you're great. I thought you were great when you used the four bubble. I think you're great now that you're using the two bubble. And I'll think you're great when you're using no bubble. I just think you're great."

I know, because then she howled, "NO I'M NOT!!!!!!" and renewed the pinching scratching hitting kicking biting head-butting unetheral-screaming.

Until Josh came in and turned a fan on me and I said loudly and theatrically, "thank you for showing my your love that way, honey."

We are not an aceivement-oriented family. Princess is a very, very hard worker, and we feel good about the work she does.

I just wish she could feel good, too.


  1. Even tho both my kids are dealing with RAD the younger has moved on more so then the older...in every area...except one....
    He gets angry in the same way as princess, it doesn't matter what I say to him he has pretty much given up, to the point where he is attending Sylvan all summer....he hates me for this, even tho Ive explained he will benefit from it in the long run.... I wish he could see he is hard working and great to.... it breaks my heart .... so I feel your pain....

  2. Is it mean that the first thought I had when you were describing the restraint is "Gold Bond Powder?"

    I have had many of those sessions, and looking back, what would have made it easier would have been for me to walk in, throw down a ton of powder on the floor, and announce, "If we're rasslin', let's make in interesting!"

    Hang in there!! I can't offer advice other than to sayI know what you're going through, it totally sucks, but eventually it will pass.

  3. @GasStation: Ha ha ha ha ha! Wouldn't that be beautiful? "Mom? What are you doing?" "Why, honey, I can see that you need to start throwing shoes at people's heads. I need to not get heat rash. This way, we can both be happy."