Wednesday, March 17, 2010

family: anticipation...

Yesterday afternoon L was still napping when I got home from work. M and her mother (who is visiting) took the opportunity to go get some fish for dinner. Which meant that K and I were on our own until L woke up. And she did. And I went up to get her.

But she was expecting her mama.

Here's what I've noticed: the person who puts the kid to bed (be it at night or for a nap) is the person the kid expects to be there when they wake up. It makes sense. So to avoid being the one called for in the middle of the night, avoid being the one to put them to bed at the start of the night.

The problem comes when the putter-to-bed isn't available. Then we end up with a situation like yesterday afternoon.

L started to call out and I walked up the stairs and she was sitting up in her crib looking sleepy and saw me coming and screamed, "No, don't do that!" and bent over to push her groggy face down into the blanket.

Approaching slowly, I asked what was wrong.

"I want my mommy!"

I told her that her mom was out shopping. She didn't want to hear it.

Luckily, she was wearing a new dress and I was able to distract her by admiring it. It came from Grandmama, and it came with leggings, and if there's one thing near and dear to L's heart, it's leggings. She likes 'em. Loves 'em in fact. I don't know where she gets that from. Not me. I'm a shorts guy (when the weather cooperates). In any case, we went downstairs and watched a Saddle Club, and all was better with the world. But seeing her run face first into unmet expectations got me thinking about how I'm susceptible to the same disappointments.

I wish I were better able to adjust on the fly to the unexpected. I think it's a real skill. And it's one I don't have. I have expectations and when reality doesn't match up... well, crap!

For example (and here is where I sneak a paddling anecdote into a family posting and some of you may accidentally read it!): yesterday afternoon it was windy and cold and threatening rain and we ended up with 9 people at practice. Canoes fit 6, so 9 is an awkward number. You can paddle a full canoe (6) and leave 3 on shore. You can paddle 5 in a canoe, but you lose something. And you can even paddle 4 in a canoe, but you lose something more. You're short 1/4 of the total. It's noticeable. I'm not a huge fan of the 4-in-an-OC6 configuration, but what can you do?

So, I'm disappointed about the numbers. And then there's the weather. Cold. Colder than it's been most of the winter! And the wind is gusting hard from the south and the water on Lake Union is lumpy and gray, so we're going to have to stick to the ship canal between Gas Works Park and the Ballard Locks.

Which we do, and it's fine. But I have to let go of my expectations for a good, long workout. I'm going to miss the next couple practices and I had a short workout on Saturday so I wanted a long one before my break. And I have to accept that our boat isn't going to be moving well because there were only 4 of us in it (and in gusty weather the steerer has less opportunity to paddle).

Ultimately I managed to make the most of it by focusing on technique and working on the front of my stroke, maximizing efficiency there. But it took some mental adjustment to do so.

And a part of me understood why L just wanted to stick her head back into the covers until her mama got home. But I didn't have covers, and my mama is on Maui, and no one seemed willing to talk to me about what I was wearing, so.....

I'm not sure how to teach a child to be flexible and to adjust on the fly when things shift out from under them, but if there's something I could leave with my girls, it would be this. I believe being adjustable (with some sense of self as a foundation) is a key survival skill. If you can avoid being thrown for a loop when the unexpected happens, you can keep your head and deal with just about anything.

Is it possible to teach this? How about if the teacher can't manage it himself?

Our track

My heart rate, just for kicks.

It looks a bit irregular, and I'm not sure why that is.
Not overly high, but just all over the place....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Were those new shorts/pants you were wearing tues night? Wish I could have been there Tues night, but I suspect I should take a pass even tonight. I understand about the whole roll with the situation thing, I hated change when I was growing up and it took going to grad school for me to finally learn how to roll with the punches. I decided that having a plan is the best way to go, but then be willing/able to chuck it when the situation calls for it. It came from being forced into a series of hurry up and wait situations that were weather dependent for field sampling events. I finally decided it was way to stressful to get wigged out about it so I started to just let it go. Been much happier ever since. Although you may notice that on sprint race days I can be a little tightly wound trying to pull crews together. ;) I have no idea how to teach that, either. I think it comes with age and experience and when you are L's age you should be able to get what you want when you want it!