Today I sit in an office and wait for my daughter to have a brain map for neurofeedback. She has been doing neurofeedback since January. We paused for a few weeks due to COVID but I have seen a decline in her ability to deal with things and I am really concerned about her future. The original tests indicated a very poor memory and low auditory processing. If she were an avid reader she could learn for herself since listening to the teacher isn’t landing well, but she doesn’t like to read. She has no attention span to sit and teach herself unless it is a YouTube video or something very social in nature. So, she will never be a scientist or an accountant like me. However, she isn’t able to reflect on her failures in a way that she learns to not repeat mistakes.
An example of my frustrations the last few weeks we’ve been cooped up together is that she is aware that she does poorly because her school requires her to take a “learning strategies” class to help her with her other school work. In my day it would have been referred to as special education, but the schools like to keep that terminology on the down-low. She doesn’t want to feel “stupid” because she needs help, so she keeps saying she doesn’t want to go into that class again in the fall. Okay, great, good to have goals. So, I explain that if she reads the materials the teachers have been providing for remote learning and she gets a C or better on the quizzes and tests then she won’t have to go into learning strategies in the fall. When she truly applies herself she is able to get a C or better. However, when the time comes she refuses to read the material and ends up taking the quiz and failing because she didn’t know the answers. To me it seems perfectly logical that you can’t have both (no special ed AND poor grades). You have to choose which one you want more. If she really doesn’t want to apply herself, then accept that she is stuck in a special ed class at school. Most people can reconcile that, but she cannot. She is adamant that she not be in the class AND refuses to do the work required to get better grades.
This leads me to believe there is something more serious going on inside her head that cannot be solved by communication. Therefore, I sit at the neurofeedback office to find solutions. They have someone they can refer that will read the results to the mapping and recommend a prescription medication that may help her. It has to be chemical. I have fought the idea of giving her meds for a long time because I believed she just needed to decide to do what she “should”. I no longer believe that. I’ve seen it in action for too long. I hope there is something out there that can assist her without having too many negative side effects. Like COVID, the cure cannot ruin everything.
I love my daughter’s joy and innocence. She is such a wonder to behold with her positivity and imagination. As a little one, I adored her for her yin energy. I am so completely opposite her, she provided a release from my uptight nature. However, I believe that as she grows and is expected to mature, it will become more of a neurosis if she does not advance along with her peers. She will not be able to tell the difference from her imagination and reality because she continues to reject reality when she doesn’t like it.
Oh parenting! Sometimes I lament and wish I had the lives of my single friends. However, they are never pushed to become better people in the same way. They are allowed to stay exactly where they want to without the pure force of children holding up the ugly mirror to our faces and making us come to terms with personal growth. I am jealous that they have choices and my life feels less free, but I also have people in my life that I am essential to, that even if they resent me the way moms are supposed to be resented, they also have that place in their hearts that will hold me.
I miss looking at things from a big picture. I majored in Finance rather than Accounting because I love concepts and finding meaning in big things. As it turns out I also am really good with the details and being in the weeds. I find comfort in the nitty-gritty because there are results and it is more apparent when you actually finish something. As it turns out there is so much frustration with the big picture because there are so many ways to look at things. Because our view may be limited to one side, we come to believe our side is the “right” side, the only side, the most important side. We even believe that there are no other sides, because we don’t have access to the big picture. When we realize that there is so much more to see, we can either reject that and keep our old views or we can humble ourselves to start changing the way we are thinking to understand the whole view.
It is like the story of the three blind men that come up to the elephant and are asked to describe what they find. One, who has the elephants trunk, describes it like a snake. Another, who has the elephants leg, describes it like a tree trunk. The last one is at the elephants belly and describes it like a big leathery wall. None of them are wrong, but none of them are right either. They do not understand, and therefore what they think is right is only partially right.
That, to me, is like our view of God. We all have developed our own view based on what we have had access to through family, church etc. There is so much more. We may have words for it, so when we discover more it gives meaning to those words, but inside our hearts and minds the view has expanded to include more depth and understanding.
As I sit and ponder Easter on my couch at home because stay-at-home orders forbid me to attend services in person, I wonder how much of my view of God is still not open to me. I have gone from having very firm views of the side of God that I held as being the “only truth” to intentionally challenging myself to see God from the other views to understand why people hold them. I have gone from being certain of what I know to being very uncertain that I know anything at all.
I don’t believe that we should all just find out own truth. I do believe that there are things more true than others. Children can believe they can fly, but as parents we don’ t let them jump out their window. There are laws that govern all of life, whether we believe or know about them are not. We should seek to understand those laws about God and the Universe so that we can find firm foundation in our lives; then seek inside and out to formulate our beliefs of however much of the big picture we’ve been given. Finally, we should be open to the idea that there is more yet to be revealed. None of the blind men explored the ears or head of the elephant. What have we yet to even discover about God?
Things have not yet started to unravel. I made the conscious choice not to yell or allow things to get crazy. Monday was questionable as my daughter was resisting even doing catch up work since there is no school on Mondays now. However, I explained to her that it is not about her having her own opinion or desire. We can deal with that and talk about compromise. It is about conflict and how she is creating it. I had to express very clearly that other people do not like conflict, especially when they feel they can’t control it. Her creating conflict caused people to feel very negatively about her rather than focusing on what she was upset about. I don’t know if it resonated or not with her but it helped me separate my feelings of anger toward her and placed it on my overwhelming angst about the lack of control I was feeling.
I believe that is why I tend to yell and get physically aggressive when I get upset. I spent my entire childhood being dominated by very strong personalities. I was the youngest so everyone ahead of me felt they should control and dominate me. Whenever I would try to defend myself or assert my own control they would make sure I knew they were in control. I suppose that is the endless cycle. Kids being dominated by their parents to grow up and dominate their children. I have such a strong desire not to allow my daughter to “win”. However, as long as we are not angry, I don’t feel that need; I’m happy to compromise as long as she completes her responsibilities. It is as soon as I get angry that I feel I have to show her who is in control.
As fate would have it I started some new classes on MindValley. One being Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine. She has some great techniques to do that help calm the body and align the energy of the body when you’re feeling out of control. The hard part about those things is remembering to do them when your emotions have taken over and there is no more logic. It is also hard because I want to get other people to do those things too, but they don’t know or understand the reasons and are not inclined to do it.
Another week almost over, as it is Friday. Only six more weeks to go. Perhaps this is an opportunity for me put into practice all the things that I have learned. I suppose it is time.
In the past we have had viruses. They have made people sick, people have died, but we’ve never taken the stance of total public fear and shutdown before. Why is this one so different? I don’t get what it is about this virus that has governments from all over the world destroying their economies by forcing businesses to close (perfectly healthy ones) and forcing people into situations where they are likely to cause a tremendous amount of problems. Telling people they cannot go outside, cannot socialize, HAVE to be stuck at home with their families for perhaps months is something from a bad George Orwell book. It is surreal. We trashed our economy based on models of what the virus might do. We are bankrupting our treasury and forcing a recession on the chance that it might get bad. I get that we don’t want to be reactionary all the time, but funding a stimulus bill before we know the damage seems suspicious.
If this were just the US I would cry conspiracy. However, this is global and it is far worse in other countries. People are getting shot for going outside in the Philippines. People cannot even walk their dogs in other “free” countries. Peru, if you cannot walk to the grocery store you cannot get food because no one is allowed to drive. Why is the world ending before we really understand the virus? Is it from movies like I am Legend? Do we really think half or more of the population will die from this? Actual results are not showing that. Yes, people are dying and at a higher rate than the common flu, but not above 1%. We are destroying our future for ourselves and our children for less than 1% death rate.
I don’t mean to be insensitive. For those that get really sick and live they are thinking, “how could this have been avoided?” However, if you told the answer is bankrupting our government, causing a 10% unemployment rate and causing banks to fail I wonder if they would be willing to trade two weeks of hell in the hospital to prevent the fallout our world is going to see.
What about the boy who cried wolf? We are freaking out and destroying our financial systems over something that is moderately bad. When and if something truly devastating like 12 Monkeys were unleashed we would not be able to respond with the same intensity because we are already in a state of utter depression (mentally and financially). Even if we manage to recover we will be really reluctant to shut it all down again for fear the next virus isn’t really that bad. We are going to have PTSD from this exercise and it will prevent us from reacting to something that will really kill us all.
Social experimentation is real. We are all a part of it. The researchers are going to have loads of data about how people respond under stress on a large scale now. It will be interesting to see how people really react and if this drags out over months what the effects on mental health, crime, suicide etc. really are. Are we going to see the worst of human nature come out, or will we evolve into a more compassionate and community oriented society? Times like these spark evolution one way or another. Either we end up like 1984 with the government taking complete control or we end up like Star Trek with benevolence reigning. It will be interested to see which one prevails.
I suppose that is a miracle in and of itself. After April 1st I wasn’t sure it was going to be possible. However, it appears that certain prerequisites seem to be necessary for the school day to go well with my daughter:
Don’t be too bossy when she first wakes up. Let her make some decisions and be really loving to her.
Take my vitamin B complex and 5-HTP an hour before she gets up – as well as eat a good breakfast so I’m in a good mood
Stop arguing with her early on and don’t let it escalate.
If I start getting angry, take a time out. Even if she does everything I don’t want her to while I’m taking a break, it isn’t the end of the world unless I lose my temper.
I’m still starting work at 7am and not finishing until 7pm because I have to sit on her for 4 hours in the middle of the day to do school. Sure, I can get some work done in there, but the distractions are frustrating. My life is going to suck for at least another 8 weeks. The school district confirmed we are not going to go back to brick and mortar schooling this year. However, there is an end in sight. If this were October and we had to go six months like this, I would go insane.
What is the worst part? I need a lot of personal, down time. I love taking the train to work and having that hour to just dwaddle. I’m not a dwaddler by nature, but forcing myself to just relax and do whatever during that time is amazing therapy for my Type-A-ness. I also love that my cubicle at work is isolated. I can literally spend the whole day not talking to anyone except my co-worker across the wall. It is like recharging all day long. I get to work on the computer, dive into spreadsheets and figure things out all day without any interruptions. I miss that so much.
But I survived week 3 of quarantine. At home. All day. With my daughter. I’m alive. We are all healthy. I can’t ask for more.
I started homeschooling my kids when my middle son was clearly unable to deal with being around other kids at a private school. He kept getting into trouble. As I look back, I really think I was insane. I have to wonder if it wasn’t that we were in St. Joseph, Missouri, where there were a lot of other families we went to church with that homeschooled and I have an issue with thinking others can do something I can’t. I brought him home mid-year and we did okay together. I should have just re-enrolled him the following year, but NO I am stubborn and need a huge challenge so I brought my other son home the next year and spent 5 more years teaching them both.
I ended up with severe adrenal fatigue and a whole host of health issues, not to mention financial issues with my not working. However, as my youngest came along she broke me. I couldn’t teach her and it was so frustrating I knew I finally had to quit. That was 6 years ago. She has struggled to do school the whole time, frustrated countless other educators who fought to teach her and failed. She doesn’t like school, doesn’t want to focus on it or do it. She fights back, gets manipulative, passive-aggressive, and then downright aggressive. She just cannot bring herself to comply with other people’s wishes. She is smart in so many ways, so it isn’t that she can’t do it – she just likes the turmoil and chaos and drama too much to conform.
COVID-19: the battle begins.
Due to a lovely state mandate to have kids and parents at home together while we try to wait out the virus from spreading I am back to a pseudo homeschooling environment. Fortunately, the school provides the structure and content. Unfortunately, I have to make sure she gets it done. The fact that she doesn’t want to do it, makes my job harder. She doesn’t read the directions, she doesn’t read the material, she clicks on things without knowing what she clicked on, and then fights and gets mad when I back her up and make her do it again.
I have decided, as a parent, this is the hill I’m going to die on. I am going to make it my mission to teach her study skills and how to get by. She will never desire to be an A student. So be it. However, for me failure is not an option and for her to fail is my failing.