Friday, February 09, 2007

Bad morning, good practice

I walked into the shala today, fully expecting an awful practice as a result of a terrible morning getting the kids off to school. Brian couldn't find one of his papers, and he was beside himself, tears streaming out of his huge blue eyes. The "Where Is" game is not, of course, anything novel for Brian. We go through some version of it nearly every day. But usually, it resolves fairly quickly. But the big picture is the true problem: Brian, who is intellectually gifted and talented in sports, art, music and the art of mimicry, cannot get himself organized, or rather, WILL not get himself organized. I have tried and tried and tried to help him. I bought him one of those expandable accordian file holders and a bunch of redweld files to use to hold his numerous school projects and self-directed home-based projects (he draws maps of cities, states, countries, the subway; he makes up pretend statistics for pretend sports teams, he figures out real statistics for real sports teams, he writes lists of stories he wants to write during story-writing time in school). But he just throws his papers into the files and the files into the file holders, randomly, will-nilly. He leaves his flute and his recorder out on top of piles of music, on top of piles of papers. His flute was recently in need of repairs as a result of his not keeping it safely in its case.

I don't get "angry", per se, when the "Where Is" festivities begin. I feel sad and frustrated, and I blame myself for not supervising him more carefully. Which makes me defensive. And it comes out as the game plays itself out. Like today, my first response was, "I saw that paper on the floor of the play room last night, and I was wondering why it was there. But I would never have touched it. Don't LOOK for it, rather THINK about where you might have left it."

"I don't know," he mumbles.

"No, that's not thinking. Think," I cajole him. "THINK!"

"I don't know," he mumbles as the tears spill over and he aimlessly picks up papers on his desk, looking under them, crawls under his desk, his bed, the futon in the playroom.

I get exasperated. It's really just my anxiety over feeling like perhaps I am not being a good enough mother.

"Okay, you need to make a choice: look for it and be late, or go to school without it."

"I don't know," he weeps.

By now, my heart is sinking. I'm anxious. And then I'm angry.


"I don't know"

"CHOOSE. It's your choice. You're making your brother late for school. You're making me late for yoga. Make your choice."

"I'll look for five more minutes, and then I'll leave for school. But how will I tell Kimberly [his teacher] that I don't have it?"

"If you can't find it here, it's probably in your backpack, and if not, you'll just have to say that you're really really sorry, but you can't find it."

We didn't find it. And my kids were 10 minutes late for school. Which meant that I was 10 minutes later to the shala than I usually am, but I'll get back to that later.

As I got the kids into the car [no time to walk today, which meant that Lewis got shafted and had to wait for his walk until after I got back from practice], I knew where I had made a fatal error. I should not have given Brian the choice to stay and look. He should have had to leave the house without the paper, on time, so that no one else would have been effected by his passive-aggressive-disorganization antics.

I told him that next time, he won't have a chance to look. It's either put the stuff in the backpack at night, or pay the consequences if the stuff is lost in the morning.

Nevertheless, I had a bad emotional hangover as I made my way down the FDR Drive, and as the traffic was moving slowly, I had enough time to consider that perhaps, I ought to just skip practice today. Or do it at home. And then I remembered a promise to myself, that no matter how bad I feel emotionally, no matter how stiff, unless I have a fever or am out of town, I am going to be at the shala. Period.

And to the shala I went. I envisioned myself unrolling my mat, saying the invocation, doing a sun salutation or two and then collapsing into a teary-eyed Savasana. I was wrong.

With a mere 35 minutes to get to Supta K, I dove in and gave myself my own private led class. Not one extraneous breath. Okay, maybe one or two to get into Ardha Badha Padmotannasana and the Marichyasanas. But for the most part, it was inhale, exhale into the Asana.

I kept my turtleneck on until Marichyasana A, which I actually think is great for me, the way it's great for a baseball player to swing two bats before stepping up to the plate. It built up confidence. It also built up heat.

Highlights included:

  • Touching the GROUND -yes, the FRIGGIN GROUND - in the SECOND version (palms facing outward, thumbs facing upward) of Prasarita Padotannasana C (with Sir's help). But I was SHOCKED. I had no idea I was even close. This was awesomely cool. Ever notice, by the way, that PPC has the SAME upper body dynamic as Supta Kurmasana? Arms reaching around the back as you place your head between your feet and attempt to lengthen your spine....? Hmmmm.
  • Jumping into and out of every seated posture all the way through my entire practice.
  • Sir teaching me Garba Pindasana and me realizing that every pose from Supta Kurmasana onward which I thought was "easy" is going to have unique and interesting challenges when I am actually "taught" them by my teacher. Yay!
  • The realization that my teacher really understands exactly what my body needs in order for me to get into Supta Kurmasana. Today, he gave me ample time and even some assistance in wriggling my shoulders under my knees before bringing my arms around to bind. I really appreciate that. It is the REASON to have a teacher long-term.
  • Three pain-free backbends (after three knotty ones).
  • Lotused up my legs, hands free, except for a teeny little readjustment of my right foot, in Shoulderstand.
  • Lotused up my legs, COMPLETELY HANDS FREE, in Sirsasana. Is this criminal? I don't know. It gives me something to look forward to in Sirsasana now, since I am HATING standing on my head, as it causes my nose to swell terribly. I even had to have a shot of steroids on Tuesday to alleviate the swelling.
  • The realization that today I finished six days in a row of my full practice, all done in the morning, at the shala, and I am not even feeling that TGIPD feeling.

I might be blogging a bit less going forward. Famous last words. I still LOVE blogging. But I never seem to have enough time for all of the things I want to do, and I think that blogging is taking up quite a bit of my time (although less time than you might think, since I am a FAST writer and an even faster typer). So, from here on in, I am only going to write when I have something to say. Last night's entry on the Bath Houses was pure misery, I have to admit. I don't know if it shows in the writing. But it felt completely obligatory, as if I was writing it for an assignment at work. Except I don't get paid to do this. So, feh to that.

In short, I'm going to write for the love of it only, and not just to put words down, and not just because I happened to have done something really cool during the day that I feel obligated to memorialize, and not just to keep my readers interested. If you love me, you'll wait for the good writing, the writing that comes solely out of a love for writing.

Whew. I feel much better now. THIS entry truly was a labor of love, if you couldn't tell and worth every delicious moment I gave to it.



Yogamum said...

Your Brian sounds just like my 10 year old, who is also gifted and disorganized and brilliant and flaky and sweet and frustrating.

I wish I could say I don't get mad at him when the "Where Is" game begins, but I do. Not my finest parenting moments. He and I are getting better, slowly...very slowly...

I enjoy everything you write, from the trivial to the profound.

karen said...

You might try a game with Brian. Get him some Vivaldi or Bach and tell him that that kind of music is supposed to wake up the part of the brain that remembers things. Tell him you want to try an experiment where he listens to that music during his day or evening or whatever, and then you can both see if it helps him remember things. I had a lot of luck with games like that with my daughter. Not sure if it is in fact the Baroque music, or if it simply the power of suggestion, or if it is all about focusing on resolving an issue, but in the end...who cares?

Anonymous said...

Well, I have one too, a soon to be 12 year old who couldn't find his nose if it wasn't on his face.

I just bailed him out in a big way a few weeks ago, as I was telling one of my friends about it, she said, stop it! Now is the time to let him fail and have a consequece before it gets really serious in high school.

the frustrating thing is he is really, really smart, he actually does the work he just can't get it from one point to the next or he can't find it. The way their brains work, they would rather do it over again instead of trying to figure our where the #$!! it is to begin with.

There is someone else in my house who is very similarly disorganized, if I had to look for my keys and wallet everyday before I left the house, the thought of it would exhaust me.


Vanessa said...

I used to be like that as a kid. Really bright, but I kept losing stuff. Lost my keys, lost my jumper, lost my was unbelievable.

My mom used to get mad at me. Now that I am older, I understand that money was tight and every time I lost something that cost replacing (like drawing sets, or a school uniform jacket), my dad would have a go at her (the silent implication being that she wasn't a good mom, I guess), so the stress of knowing that she had one of them coming made her be very impatient towards me.

I hated it. I can't say how many tears I cried over my lost stuff and how bad the stress was over the anticipation of what was coming (telling mom I'd lost something).

CJ said...

I like reading your blog!

Wayne said...

Okay a Dad here chiming in - yep, I got one like that too!

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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