January 20, 2010
Injuries - real or reactive?
I think it is human nature to justify our weaknesses. It is much easier to blame something or someone else, rather than admit defeat, when our lives do not go exactly as we want or expect.
I am certainly not innocent of misusing excuses. Currently, the weather is preventing me from exercising and my long work hours make me tired when I get home. Therefore, it is not my fault I feel out of shape and tired all the time. Anyone see the irony in that?
Alex is not immune from this rationalization ailment; in fact, she is the queen of the quirk. Alex has a reason for everything. Alex can get headaches, stomach aches and all sorts of muscles ailments in a few seconds flat. These can be brought on by missed homework, a messy room, or food that suddenly appeared in her hands. Alex has the gift of validation.
As a quick aside, band aides used to cure all of Alex's woes. A band aide on her stomach made her tummy feel better, one on her forehead healed the head ache. I smile remembering Alex with band aides all over her body - I used to buy them in bulk at Costco; Pokémon preferred.
This lasted for about 12 years, then Alex realized we were on to her. She realized in healing the injury we were also healing her avoidance of the task. She adjusted, as did we, and we have graduated to the next level of evasion tactics.
Our latest methods seem to me to be in direct correlation to Alex’s basketball schedule, and lack of play. These “I can’t play” excuses have manifested themselves in injuries. I know the injuires are real, it is the lack of a timely recovery I distrust. Really quite clever.
The first injury occurred last week before a JV game. John and I arrived at the game to see Alex sitting on the bench with an ice bag. She claimed she had jammed her thumb during warm-up; she even got the school nurse to splint her thumb. Therefore, the coach did not need to tell Alex she wasn’t going to play – Alex couldn’t play.
This enabled her to go to all the basketball games in her uniform, with a splint on her hand, and sit on the bench. This lasted for a few days – until it was time to ski. Thumb healed. Very clever!
The more recent injury involved skiing. Alex got clipped by a snowboarder while skiing with the Niño’s. She fell, and although her coach said she seemed fine, Alex claimed to have twisted her ankle. This latest injury/objection prevented Alex from being able to play in the last couple of basketball games. She got to travel with the team, ankle wrapped, and sit on the bench.
Lest you think I am an ogre – I did “spy” on Alex for a few days after the feigned injury. She walks fine when I am not looking. She can still rush from the fridge when I walk in the door, run up to her room and dance to her music. Ankle healed. Very clever!
Alex knows how to work the system – she knows how to advocate for herself and she knows how to protect herself. In its basic form, these injuries gave her the ability to gracefully let her team mates know she made the decision not to play, not her coaches. Alex needs to safe guard her ego, just like me, and just like everyone else.
In some ways I applaud this, this skill will help Alex for a long time. But, I also believe this ability to preempt uncomfortable situations, needs to be tempered with responsibility, self advocacy and confidence. I know part of my responsibility as a parent to all three of my children is to teach them how to do this. This is a tough one though, and I'm still working on it. Perhaps a nice band aide might work?