Monday, January 25, 2010

Zipper Anxiety

As practice for kindergarten,my girl's teacher had all the kids line up in the hall today and whoever could put their coat on and zip it up would get a sticker.

My daughter, like most children her age, gets inordinately excited over getting a sticker. My cynical side wants to take her aside and assure her she can buy herself as many sticker as she wants when she gets older, but I know that's not the point. The point is to get your coat on. And ZIP it...

I knew there was going to be trouble as zipping isn't something she's mastered yet.

She gets the coat on. And tries to zip it

No luck.

She tries some more. Children all around her are all zipped up and proudly wearing stickers on their coats. A small boy who called me "A little old" a few weeks back, tells me: "She's can't do it."

Thanks Captain Obvious.....

I can see this really start to bother her. I'm standing against the wall opposite her in the hallway and trying not to burn holes in her coat with my laser-like stare.  My hands are practically tingling with the need to zip her jacket.

She's struggling. I watch. I think I started sweating.....

I try and use my powers of telekinesis to will the darn thing to zip, but to no avail.... 

She faces the wall and starts to cry. Her teacher tells her that she'll do it again on Wed so she'll get another chance. This does not make her feel better.

I go over, bend down and ask if she'd like to work on it a little more.

Now she's pretty stubborn and sometimes when she can't do something she completely gives up so I wasn't sure how this was going to work out. 

She literally took a deep breath and dove back into the task. I was so proud of her.

After many anxiety inducing tries, she FINALLY gets it all zipped up. I finally exhale the breath I've been holding. Other mommies and her teacher make a big deal out of this. She gets the sticker. I go over to her.  She buries her head in my shoulder and whispers,

""Now I have another problem, I've very embarrassed."

The cynical side of me wants to tell her that there will be way bigger things for her to feel embarrassed over in her lifetime,  but I know that's not the point. I can't even tell her it's no big deal because she's embarrassed and really, that's how she feels.....

Good lord, THESE are the things people forget to tell you about parenting. That some day you will be standing in the pre-school hallway and will be unable to do anything about your child's struggles or embarrasment. You will WATCH  and pray she gets it.  Because IF you help her, you really aren't helping her and she still won't get the sticker. And then you will reflect on how this is merely the beginning of this process for you and for her.

This will overwhelm you a little.  This is why people forget to tell you these things.

I wonder if her teacher was training me today more than she was making sure my girl could zip up for next year.

Next year I may look for a coat with buttons.


Karley Ziegler Mott said...

Ben has zipper issues, too. It is OK! Tell Emma Ben needs his mommy to zip his fly sometimes. It is OK :)

MY guy got his "report card" from preschool a couple weeks back, and while he's a smart little guy, he "needs to work on" using a tissue instead of his sleeve. I turn red thinking about it.

The Fine Art of Motherhood said...

Heck, this morning I had to help LIVVIE (3rd grader) with her zipper on her pants... It is always a great concern for me when I have to help her with something on her pants -- button, zipper, pulling them up (we frequently have "ailments" in the morning that involve us to be unable to completely dress ourselves...) -- because what happens when she goes to the bathroom at school and I'm not there to help get her dressed again!? (I ask her this frequently in the morning...)

Very sweet (bittersweet!) post -- it's so hard to watch them grow up and to have to take a backseat so that they can learn to be more independent! They are our babies!

Unknown said...

Ug, you made me cry.

Christine said...

Steph, that's high praise coming from a real author with a 2-book publishing contract with the same publisher who publishes Tom Clancy!!!!