Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Also Made a Resolution for Genevieve, Regarding the *&!@#! Blanket

So I've been writing these little health/wellness columns for my local newspaper now and then. Three times a year they've having me contribute to their "Mind/Body" special section, and last week I wrote about successful New Year's resolutions. The column is not available online, nor did the editorial staff remember to give me the title of "Health & Wellness Columnist" under my byline as promised, because the newspaper seems to be a bit of a...small-town operation, shall we say...but, whatever. The column was focused on the mental and behavioral strategies necessary for behavior change, something we clinical health psychologists know a lot about. On my end of things, I'm putting those strategies in place to conquer writing goals, stop skipping workouts, and reduce my junk-food consumption (and keep in mind, my "reduced" may be your "way too much," but, just as I advised my town's newspaper readers, I'm starting with baby steps. Such as "do not eat Cheetos two times in one day").

Speaking of Cheetos, though! I got off my workout schedule last week, and in order to salvage my routine, I crammed three five-mile runs into Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fifteen miles in three days! And what I ultimately learned about 15 miles in three days can be summed up as, Good: You can eat the Cheetos. Bad: Ouch.

And speaking of resolutions, Julia's New Year's resolution this year is to cry about things a little less often. Oh, wait! Sorry, heh heh--that would be the resolution I MADE ON HER BEHALF.

You know, it's hard to find the perfect balance between empathy and discipline. Though a total sweetheart and a serious rule-follower, Julia is--has always been--hyper-sensitive, low-tolerance when it comes to change, physical activity, and bodily sensations, and high-maintenance in general. She's the child who can be undone by a twisted sock seam or a damp spot on her t-shirt. She will ruin an entire sledding outing--for everyone--because she got one speck of snow down her boot. And, I'm sorry to say, I don't respond well to that. I'm all, Suck it up, girl! You're five! And she's all, But it's booooothering meeeeee! And in calmer moments I realize that sometimes she may do better if my response was more along the lines of, Boy oh boy, it sure is a bummer to get snow down your boot, isn't it? I understand how that feels. But then there are the times I just know that any sane adult would look at her and go, Are you kidding me with this? Because aren't you five?

It's tough. It's tough to know the right thing to do in any given frustrating parenting moment, and it's even tougher to actually do it.

So--balance, huh? It's the key issue in just about everything. Empathy and discipline, the appropriate amount of Cheetos, 15 miles in three days. It's probably even the main ingredient in successfully keeping all those New Year's resolutions--knowing that you can slip up a little now and then, if you get back on your feet immediately and continue doing your level best. I don't think my five-year-old is buying it, though.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Ha ha ha! Yes, how I wish the kids would embrace the resolutions we make on their behalf. :)

Finding that balance is hard. I always say that my kids know how to push my buttons because they installed them.

Have you considered altering G's blankets or sheets so they don't move around so much? How about pining on one side (presumably the side closer to the wall) to the fitted sheet?