Wednesday, February 13, 2013

All Cows Eat Grass

Remember how my daughter had a tantrum the other day at the piano?  Remember that?  I'm not sure you felt the all-out flailing and sliding down the piano bench or the frantic sobbing.  It was a sad scene, but also a frustrating one.  Unfortunately, I've become accustomed to these outbursts.  They happen when my almost-nine-year-old is tired and being asked to do something new.

I also completely understand the anguish because my daughter is basically tiny me with straight hair and balance.

I think - and remember, I am not a licensed counselor but I am married to one - that as a child I overcompensated for my inattention by being the best at everything.  Except sports.  I could not catch a ball without injury and was consequently the last one picked for most sports teams.  But with school and art and music, sometimes theater, I aimed to excel.  I have a distinct memory of sitting on the roof of my house as a teenager working my ass off trying to figure out a chemistry problem.  It just wasn't going into my brain.  (I sat on the roof for minimal distractions.) Finally, I had to draw electrons and protons to make sense of what I was doing.  I didn't throw a tantrum like my daughter, but I did  feel like I needed to get it right and was damned sure I wasn't getting off that roof until it happened.  Why?  Because my entire self-worth revolved around being smart, getting things right.

My daughter has a similar anxiety.  She has to get the piano piece right the first time or she falls to pieces.  Never mind that rarely does she stop to figure out the notes.  She looks at the piece one time and then tries to memorize it.  It's a coping mechanism because I think after three years of lessons, she still isn't sure that Every Good Boy Does Fine.


Perfectionism + Anxiety + ADD + Overcompensating + Coping Mechanisms = I'm moving out when my daughter is in high school.

15 comments:

  1. Oh and then their hormones hit. As my mama taught me, choose the battles wisely. It helps me let a lot go! Good luck to you, Mama.

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    1. Don't I know it! Good thing medical marijuana is now legal. I heard it now comes in a butter spread! I plan to spend my kids' teen years enjoying a LOT of buttered toast.

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  2. I'm doing the same when my daughter hits niddle school, which should be about the same time. We could share a flat until they go to college.

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    1. That would be great fun, Christina! Which city has the best rental rates? Get to researching.

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  3. Forget High School, I'd be terrified of puberty!
    Sadly, I have a few mini-me's myself. It's beautiful to behold...until you see your own cracks mirrored int their vases. *sigh* I try to look on the bright side that they're not starting from ground zero and muddling through alone. I try to pass on the coping skills and tricks I've learned so HOPEFULLY their path through life is a tiny bit easier. *hugs*

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    1. Trust me, I'm terrified. Like you, Chris, I'm trying to be available for counsel . . . and medication. Hugs back atcha.

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  4. You and I might be the same person, Amy. I, too, had to do everything 100% perfectly or I feared I would die. Except for sports. Last picked for kickball. First out in dodgeball. Le sigh.

    But hang in there!

    Incidentally, I also told Carter that if we have daughters, I will be skipping out for the high school years. We could run away to Aruba and carve celebrity likenesses out of coconuts. Because we would be just that good at it due to our perfectionism.

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    1. See above comment from Christina.

      Christina, we're heading to Aruba with Kate!

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  5. Did you read Po's piece in the NYTimes on Sunday? He talks about genes that control anxiety. It's very informative.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/magazine/why-can-some-kids-handle-pressure-while-others-fall-apart.html?ref=magazine&_r=0

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  6. Did you see Po's piece in the NY Times mag on Sunday on how kids handle stress? It's very informative. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/magazine/why-can-some-kids-handle-pressure-while-others-fall-apart.html?ref=magazine&_r=0

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    1. Thanks for the link, Sarah. That is fascinating. Having come from two "Worriers" myself, I can definitely see the genetic tendency in my children.

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  7. I found your blog from Black Ink Paperie, and now I'm a new follower. I have a 11 year old daughter who is ADHD / ODD / and RAD...so right now I'm looking for a tower where I can lock her up till she's about 30. I once tried to give her piano lessons, but I was afraid she would try to throw the piano.
    Debbi
    -yankeeburrowcreations

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    1. Hi Debbi! Thanks for commenting. It sounds like you have your hands full! I hope you remember to take good care of yourself as you care for your daughter. A friend of mine recommended I check out the SENG (Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted) website. I did and it has a lot of resources for parents. I may head to the library for a book on the list about perfectionism. My own anxieties took a flying leap after puberty and I'd love to prevent that from happening with my daughter. Take care, Amy.

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  8. my dear amy, as the mother of amy, (the 14 year wonder girl ) i can tell you your future is going to be exciting. the piano tantrums will continue, the panicking and the drama will be heightened by all those hormones. i suggest you learn to breathe through your eyelids. :)

    sorry i been absent for a couple days. we are providing volunteer respite care for a family of 4 children, all under the age of 6. the two youngest ones (18 months and 5 months) are medically fragile so my house is very crazy. i hope that the older two will be able to go home next week, if their parents get their shit together. we are the buffer between their parents and foster care.

    think of me and have some caffeine for me xxxxx

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    1. Oh Bev, you are a good woman. I will think of you and those babies - the sick ones and the two who love them - and hold you all in my heart. Please take care. Virtual hugs.

      I'll commence the eyelid breathing . . . now.

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