Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fixing the unfixable

Fixing the unfixable
12 February 2013

My darling little Amber-Berry.  At eleven years old, she seems to have an uncanny knack for presenting me with problems.  And just to clarify – problems where no solutions can be found.  Problems that are truly difficult, somewhat insurmountable and never easy to fix.  No wait, scrap that – they’re impossible to fix.  She know this fact, yet it doesn’t seem to deter her from bringing these problems to me none the less.

And no, I’m not being overly difficult and unhelpful either.  In fact, far from it.  I like to help my kids.  To make their lives easier.  But also only if it’s good for them.  It’s a mother’s prerogative after all.

So what type of problems and how hard can they really be?  Am I not perhaps being overly critical and hard on her?  Hell no!!!  Seriously!  She is clearly not very solution orientated, because if she was, she might alter the nature of her dilemma’s somewhat.

Personally, I’d like to think I’m a pretty helpful type.  I’m hands on and practical and look for solutions.  I don’t dwell on the impossible, but rather look for an alternative to a sticky and hard to solve situation.  I am able to think out of the box and make a plan.  I don’t stumble at the first hurdle and I simply never give up.  Yet my Amber sure tests my resolve in this manner.

If only she asked me to tie her shoe laces.  Or even her hair.  I’d be happy to help her with studying for tests (though she claims that I’m a hindrance and not a help as I apparently distract her – terribly rude if you ask me).  In fact, I’d even help her sort a bully out.  Or give her assistance with a task (though she claims that I’m a …..).  I’d help her with her piano practicing and attempt to sew sequins on a dancing outfit (and if she dances really fast, my dreadful attempt at sewing is almost successfully camouflaged).  I’d help her debate the merits of dissuading a friend from making a bad choice.  I’d help her to make donuts for her whole class the night before a cooking demo oral (hah!   Not so much of a hindrance then am I!).  I’d help her by doing make-up for a whole bunch of kids at a dancing show.  In fact, I’d help with a whole bunch of things.  And happily too.

These problems, I can all wrap my head around.  For the most part I feel capable and as though my assistance adds value.  The problem comes in though, when Amber steps it up a notch.  Oh, I’d deal perfectly well if she asked me to solve third world debt.  Or put together a proposal to end soaring food prices.  Even our country’s power supply problems.

But hey, that would be way too easy.  The kind of stuff she asks for my help with, makes that stuff look piddly and barely significant. 

My Amber will lament at length (she can go on and on and on and on – the term dripping tap comes to mind) about how small her bedroom is and how she wants a new bedroom right now.  As in today.  This very instant, if I please.  We have gone through this many, many times.  And I have used all of the angles.  Yes, her room is the smallest (there is no point in lying or pretending it’s not so), but it is right next to ours, and she likes the safety and security that brings.  It has the most amount of sun and is cozy and warm.  It might be small, but it is quaint (I get no points for this one).  These “special” little discussions always tend to end in the same manner.  I pull out the big guns – her room might be small, but she has it to herself.  I get to share mine with a bald man who occasionally shoots bunnies – mostly in bed.  Her latest solution to her “terrible dilemma” seems pretty straightforward to her.  And here I’ve kinda got to give her credit for at least trying to make a plan.  She wants to save all of her pocket money (she doesn’t get any) to knock through the outside wall in her room, so that her room can be extended.  Right!!!  Nice one.  Alternatively, she will be quite happy to give us a small window of opportunity, like say about 2 weeks for example, to do a wee bit of house hunting, in order for us to move.  Naturally she will have the biggest room in our new not-so-humble abode.  With my luck, I’ll still be sharing my bedroom with a bald man who occasionally shoots bunnies – mostly in bed.

Another firm favourite whinge, is her desperate desire and need for a TV in her room.  A – I don’t believe in children having TV’s in their room.  B – please refer to the paragraph above.  Where would we fit such a thing in her room?  C – given half a chance, our TV remote would morph into Amber’s hand.  She simply loves the TV and I actively have to police her with her TV time all of the time.  And just so we’re clear, she’s hardly a discerning TV connoisseur.  Oh, she loves certain programmes, but she’d probably be equally happy to watch Clientele Life infomercials, if nothing else was on.

Then there’s the problem of her frizzy hair that I need to help straighten, as in right now!  Just to clarify, it’s stick straight.  She also wants to shave her leg hairs because “I’m sooo hairy and it’s sooo embarrassing”.  She.  Hardly.  Has.  Any.  Body.  Hair.  Furthermore, there is no ways I would let her shave her legs at age eleven.

At the moment, she is also hoping to wear me down with her appeal for a second set of holes in her ears for earrings.  Ain’t gonna happen.  Not on my watch.  She knows my “no” is my “no”.  Still she is relentless in her pursuit.  Thank heavens I’m stubborn.

She is a kid who continually pushes boundaries and wants to know exactly where she stands.  On certain issues, I’m willing to pander to her, because I know it is what she needs.  On a Tuesday and a Thursday Amber and Cole have an extra-mural clash.  Amber has dancing from 15h30 until 16h15.  And Cole has swimming from 16h00 until 16h20.  These extra-murals are not close together.  I can’t watch Amber’s dancing, yet parents have a viewing window into the swimming school and stay and watch their little fishies swimming every single time.  The smart move, would be to drop Amber off at dancing at 15h30.  Shoot up to swimming at 16h00.  Stay and watch Cole’s lesson until 16h20.  Leave the swim school at about 16h25 and get to dancing by about 16h30 or so, on a very, very good day with hardly any traffic.  On a bad day, I’ll get there about 5 minutes after that.  Yet I don’t.  I drop Amber at dancing.  Shoot up to swimming.  Watch Cole for 10 minutes.  Then shoot down to dancing.  Fetch Amber who’s normally already tapping her foot waiting for me (there is another class after hers so there is company and supervision, and many kids stay).  Then shoot back up to swimming to fetch Cole.  By this stage, Cole is out of the pool and dressed, and is calmly waiting for me.  Usually he distracts himself by finding something on the ground, or he jumps up and down the little stairs, keeping himself amused.

So, why do I do this and go through the whole rigmarole?  Well my choice is quite simple.  No matter which way I do it, one of the kids will have to wait for a few minutes.  So do I let Cole wait?  Or do I let my emotionally needy child wait?

In the end it’s not really a hard decision at all.


1 comment:

  1. Piece of work, our Amber.
    I think you handle her wonderfully1