Thursday, January 25, 2018

Zoe vs. Frustration, Despair, and Bowling

Is bowling making a terrible comeback? Or is it just coming back terribly into my life because a bowling alley is the kind of place you find yourself if you are or if you have a child and need something to do in the winter?
Either way it's unwelcome. Terribly.
I hated bowling as a kid. I hated wearing shoes that had been on strange people's feet. I hated waiting for my ball to come back and then getting my fingers crushed between it and another ball.
But mostly I hated it because I was bad at it, which wouldn't have been so bad in itself, it being generally okay to be bad at something if you're alone. It's the being-bad-at-things in front of other people---especially if the other people are good at the thing you're bad at---that's just kind of super discouraging.

Bowling in a sea of despond
Something something metaphor for parenthood.

Anyway, when I went bowling with Zoe a few weeks ago, how good or bad she bowled was not her issue. She was happy just lobbing a heavy object at other objects to knock them down loudly. Basically, her raison d'etre.
The problem came when she took another little girl's turn by accident and three little girls yelled at her at once. And if you've ever had three little girls yelling at you it's like at least three times that many little girls yelling at you.
Zoe's bowling career seemed over before it started as she ran off to put her head down on a table, the posture that says "don't even try to talk to me, however, if when I raise my head there's not a crowd of people in line waiting to console me, there will be hell to pay!"
I looked around, and realizing I was the mother, I picked up my plastic glass of bowling-alley wine---which either wasn't as bad as you'd expect or my judgment was influenced by a need for survival, and furthermore, made me see bowling in a better light than I had as a child---walked over to Zoe, and basically told her that she'd just made a mistake, and the girls had just been excited, but that she had to just get over it or we'd just go home, after I finished my bowling-alley wine, this final clause left unsaid. Just.
She stayed. Probably because I also mentioned the social studies homework that was waiting for her if we left for home now.
The only thing worse than bowling when I was a child was homework.
But also going to the dentist to have my retainer tightened.
And then there was that time the tongue guard "fangs" on my retainer---which were supposed to keep my tongue back---actually went through and perforated (which may seem redundant but I feel needs to be stated twice) my tongue, trapping a small piece of toast between the roof of my mouth/retainer and aforementioned tongue. This is a Seminal Memory, if you hadn't guessed.

I think this mouth might have bigger problems than an errant tongue.

So Zoe had this project to do for school. A few days after bowling I pushed her to get started on it and she cried for forty-five minutes, on and off, through her tears of despair asking:
Why did she have to do this homework?
Couldn't she do it tomorrow night?
Couldn't I help her?
So I sat with her and made suggestions, which upset her even more, leading to:
Why couldn't she do it her way?
I got up and washed some dishes while she continued to alternately cry and demand I help her which we all know really meant:
Why can't you just do it for me?
Ohh no-no-no-no. No.
However, I wasn't completely off the hook. This was because she needed pictures of New York City tourist destinations, which meant I had to print out a bunch of pictures of the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building at work, probably making my co-workers think I was planning some sort of attack or heist.
I find, though, that when some sort of involvement in your child's homework is required, it's hard to extricate yourself, especially when you watch that child filling in the allotted lines using ABNORMALLY LARGE LETTERS and repeating the same sentence three different ways: "There are a lot of places to visit in Manhattan. New York has a lot of beautiful places to see and go to. These are some sites for tourists to visit."
In the end the project took her a few nights, less crying each night, like the Ferber Method for homework, and Sunday night, the night before it was due, she finally finished.
So much unnecessary drama, but at last it was done, and I was relieved.
Until the next night when I was checking her homework, and I opened her folder, and guess what I found? The project, still there.
"Zoe, why didn't you hand in your project?"
"Oh, I forgot, I'll hand it in tomorrow. It's fine, Mommy."
Inside, I cried. For more than forty-five minutes.

Zoe: 177; Universe: 0

 If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one.

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I need a win here, people. 

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