Friday, April 02, 2010

Circuitous Logic

I didn't realize when I created the web address that the blog would be aptly located.  It's occurred to me recently, however, that parenthood has more than its share of circular logic.  Even beyond my Dad's quizzically circular statements ("you can't drive a new car until it's got some miles on it!"), there's an inherent contradictory aspect to parenting that no one really talks about.  The syllogism goes something like this:

The parent must take care of the child.
Taking care of the child will bring the parent great pleasure.
The ultimate goal of parenthood is to teach the child to take care of himself.
Therefore, the parent becomes obsolete, AND loses a source of great pleasure. 

Why do we do this again?

It's a twenty-year exercise in restraint and self-denial...and it makes a great case for why parents should be PEOPLE as well as parents.  It also makes a strong case for why parenthood shouldn't be taken on without a great deal of consideration.  Doing it right (or mostly right...I don't think anyone does it "right") takes a monumental amount of maturity and selflessness.  I'm not sure I've mastered either of those entirely, but I'm working on it...

Lately, I've been struggling with this "helicopter parent" conundrum with the Monkey and his handwriting.  He writes better and more carefully when I'm nearby...and I want him to write better and more carefully...but I can't always be nearby, so he has to learn to write better and more carefully without me being there.  But he doesn't write better and more carefully when I'm not nearby.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat. 

The good news, I suppose, is that I'm never short of opportunities to think creatively.  It's a constant quest to find the right combination of words or the right situation or the right game to get him engaged.  My brain tends to run on high speed anyway...and thinking of new ways to approach the myriad of things he's dealing with keeps my neurons firing full speed. 

MonkeyDad and I are meeting with the pediatrician today to find out the results of the survey data we (and his teacher) completed regarding his attention issues.  We already have 14 pages of occupational therapy description for what's going on with him we'll find out of the doctor thinks there's a chemical component as well (my magic 8 ball says "signs point to yes").  All we need is a bit of talk-therapy and we'll have the trifecta of interventions...for a second grader.

I'd like to think that negotiating parenthood was this difficult for our parents, but in whole different ways.  Maybe the primary difference is that they didn't have the resources or the terminology that we do:  sensory-seeking, attention deficit hyperactive, low-tone, twice-exceptional (one of my favorites, actually -- the term for children who are both gifted and have some special need).  I don't know if either "we" or "they" are really any better off than the other is/was.  It's just different.  And, despite a heap of frustration with the process, I feel fortunate to at least have a supportive school system and a battery of professionals willing to work with me through the mire of figuring it all out.

And the circular conclusion of all this effort and money and heartache and worry?  If all goes as planned, there will eventually be a MonkeyMan...fully grown and able to negotiate his own way through the spiderweb of choices and distractions and possibilities in this rapidly changing world...who won't need me at all.

I think I'm ok with that logic.

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