This week’s parenting challenge has been to try to figure out the borders between shyness, embarrassment and proper manners.
Michelle is not an introvert and has a hard time understanding Cecilia’s reactions and reticence to certain situations. For me, on the other hand, it provokes a sense of deja vu.
I was almost aggressively shy as a kid, especially with new people or unfamiliar situations. I still am. Cocktail parties are my worst nightmare. I still probably get many of the same feelings she has, I’ve just become much more adept at faking it than the average 8 year old.
So, while I feel her pain and anxiety, this also doesn’t excuse rude behavior. Putting your head down and not greeting someone or not making eye contact isn’t shy, it’s rude. I also don’t want to force her to be more socially outgoing than is comfortable for her. How do I help her?
Why do so many parenting decisions want to make you drink? I do know that a tumbler or whiskey isn’t the answer for her.
We started this week….alone in the kitchen. It was a race day and I was the first one up. Race days, even just 5k’s, are like Christmas morning for me.
Dash and I had the run of the place…for about 5 minutes before creature 1 and 2 found their way downstairs and onto the couch.
I had my usual, lucky pre-race breakfast. I think I read about this in Chrissie Wellington’s biography. Rice cereal (porridge), nut butter and fruit. If it worked for her, it should be alright for me. I know you were wondering.
Pretty soon, the breakfast chef was at her station. Cheesy eggs and chocolate bread. Not a bad name for a diner.
It was going to be a busy morning with my race, Ally’s new swim lessons and Michelle volunteering at the school’s Winter Carnival fundraiser. We had to call in the reserves: Grammie and Poppie to help out. It was an early call, but they are professionals.
Swim lessons went well. Having a friend in the class for Ally is key.
Cecilia was happy to have an excuse to get some screen time.
Meanwhile, across town, I was huffing and puffing through an unexpectedly hilly 5k course. I was a tad faster than the last race on New Year’s but short of my goal. I did manage second in my age group. Keep racing long enough and the podium comes to you. Breakfast and beer with the running group followed, but without pictures.
Then it was time to hit up the Winter Carnival, a sugar and sensory explosion that supports the local schools. As parents you must keep repeating that last part throughout the day. For the good of the schools. For the good of the schools…
God bless my wife for taking the hit this year. The girls had a blast and came home with bags of “treasure”, but between day light savings, winter carnival and cotton candy they were highly unstable elements of emotion by 5 pm.
When they finally returned (escaped) later that afternoon, we took advantage of the grandparents still being around to hit up the unofficial Winter Carnival post-game experience at the Medfield Wine Shoppe for some (medicinal) tasting. We were not the only parents with this idea.
We’ll close out this busy Saturday with a post-dinner picture of Poppie trying to explain the classic comedic genius of Seinfeld to a five year old. I’ll let you imagine how this conversation went.
For now, with Cecilia, we are teaching and encouraging polite manners, but not forcing more than that. I don’t think that can do much harm, which is often my go-to parenting credo other than reaching for the wine opener.