......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

01 February 2011

It's not just pride.....it's relief.

It's not just pride. Or joy. Or even excitement about the 2020 Winter Olympics. For me, uniquely, it's a huge relief.

Liam is not a joiner of things or a taker of classes or a player of sports. Because he already knows how to do everything. Perfectly.

Or so he assumes. He always seems strangely surprised when he finds he can't do something the very first time he tries it. He's like "WHY AM I NOT GIFTED AT THIS???!!!! I'M QUITTING!" To not be gifted at something is pure humiliation. Therefore, the need for instruction is humiliating. Therefore again, he resists instruction. How embarrassing to have to be taught something.

Sometimes he knows when he lacks sufficient information to do an activity. So, obviously, these activities are off the table. He doesn't want to take basketball because he doesn't know how to play basketball. "But that's why you take basketball," I say. "So you can learn how to play basketball." He looks at me like I'm naive. How embarrassing to have to be taught how to play basketball.

Each time he signs up for a new activity, he begs me to "unsign him" - after he discovers that he's not an expert at said activity. He's baffled that I can color better than he can. Like I'm some kind of coloring savant and he has a coloring disability. I try to give him some tips that I've learned over the last FORTY YEARS but he's insulted; he shouldn't need tips. I tell him over and over again, "I've been doing this since 1970. What kind of problems would I have if I weren't better than you?"

As if this weren't enough, his lanky limbs grow way too rapidly. And they operate independently of his brain; so his movements often look like those of an octopus falling down the stairs. He IS "arms akimbo." The simplest of actions - like standing up or changing directions or sitting in a chair - could all be featured on "America's Funniest Home Videos." Now you want to give him a ball or a stick or some other object that could just as easily be used as a weapon? I suggest you duck and cover. Seriously. Run for the hills. Or put on a helmet and watch from a safe distance because it will probably be really funny (omigod, did I just say that? I don't think you're supposed to say that.) But it's true.

He is a klutzy perfectionist.
My child is a klutzy perfectionist. I have to parent a klutzy perfectionist. How on earth do you do that? Is this some kind of mean parenting karma?

But I digress.........

When we decided to move to New Hampshire, we made a pact to make like tourists; live like we're leaving next week. Find everything that this place has to offer and do it. Which means we have to ..........ski.

And by "we" I actually mean Mike and Liam. Because I vowed long ago, on the last of many peer-pressure fueled ski outings, that if I could just make it back to the lodge, I would never leave it again.

So we're going to take this kid who doesn't like people "teaching" him things and who looks like an octopus falling down the stairs and we're going to strap two sticks to his feet and put him in a class and say "Have fun!"

I have very low expectations. Very low. I expect that he will be amazed when he finds out that he can't ski and then he will be annoyed and offended by the ski instructor who tries to show him how to ski and then he will be humiliated by his lack of giftedness and finally he'll be angry at us for making him do it and he'll scream that he's NEVER SKIING EVER AGAIN!

But...... (drum roll please).........he doesn't do any of that! We put the sticks on his feet and he doesn't fight us. We put him in the class and he listens and follows directions. Just like normal people! And then......he SKIS!!!! I'm spying out the window and I almost say out loud (from inside the ski lodge at the ski resort) "IS HE SKIING????!!!!!"

Not only is he skiing but it looks like he's doing it really well. And when we see him, he's pink and shiny from the cold and the joy and the exercise and he does NOT say "unsign me!" Instead he says "I love skiing!"

A phrase I've never heard about any organized physical activity ever - in all of his 8 years.

A huge relief. And, yes, a little pride, too. Maybe someday I will get the opportunity to hear the phrase I tried out so many times when I was pregnant, trying to hear how this name would sound in the real world:

"And the gold medal goes to..........Liam Noonan! From the United States of America!"


leah d said...

Uh oh... you've got me thinking I should enroll my equally klutzy 8 y. o. perfectionist in skiing too! Hooray for Liam!

annegreenwoodbrown said...

Awesome!!! Personally, I think everyone under 10 is gifted at skiing. It's the rest of us who have to work at it.