I considered naming this post "Things I'm Not Proud Of" and then I'd chuckle because ending sentences with prepositions is one of them. But really it's just Thing. One thing right now.
Several weeks ago I wrote and photographed glowingly the mountain-scaling prowess of my 5-year-old daughter. I carried the pictures around in my bag to show people in case the first few times I told them about it and then sent them the online photos they didn't quite get the scale and magnificence of her feat. I was so full of myself I kept purging my pride like a bulimic after a wedding buffet.
And just as I thought, things I dream and fantasize about Do Not Come True. After four or five subsequent visits to the climbing gym in town, Madeleine is now paralyzed with fear when reaching the height of, say, a handicapped toilet seat. Every visit got worse and worse, until finally I found myself climbing up next to her (approximately 3 or 4 inches off the ground) and talking down to her in a way that had the climbing gym aide, a 19-year-old with nothing better to do than tape and re-tape his thumbs for hours on end, worried and disapproving. Yes, I achieved an all-time lowpoint in five years of parenting. I garnered the disdain of a teenage stoner gym rat.
I have caused this. I have, with each boast and every hoist of the climbing rope, grounded her. Now we go to the climbing gym as a family and she gives me worried looks and speaks brightly of how wonderful it is to play in the gravel with her little brother. She offers to chaperone him around the cavernous gym and help him climb in the bouldering cave. Where there are no ropes and no heights greater than 7 feet. She's so afraid to disappoint me she'll do anything but get on that wall again. She's like a dog licking the hand of Michael Vick.
I'm trying to reform - believe me. We talked and talked about how Mommy was not fair, Mommy was just so excited from her earlier success, Mommy just wants her to be her best. But really, Mommy just sucks. Go ahead and say it. I do, and in doing so, hopefully we'll avoid this again in a couple weeks when fall soccer starts. Mommy just sucks. Mommy just sucks. Mommy just sucks. Mommy will not
[Edited to add: Apparently Mommy will not finish a complete thought in her apoplectic condition. Also Quinn was eating Floam.