M is for Mistakes
I’d gone to collect Pudding from school one day, but she wasn’t in the classroom, nor could I see her in the playground. Her teacher saw me, and gestured for me to come over. Together we peeped round a corner down the side of the school where Pudding felt that nobody could see her. She was sitting on a training bike (a bike without pedals- the rider propels along using their feet on the ground).
Actually, no, she wasn’t. Given that the bikes at her school are designed for preschoolers, and Pudding is our five year-old floating around in the body of an eight year-old, she was awkwardly straddling above the seat. But the fact that she was even touching a bike was a big deal. After I wrote last year about our attempt to teach Pudding to ride a bike, we’d tried several more times, but with even less success. When we moved, we bought her a training bike for her size, but it just confused her further. Now she won’t sit on either of her bikes, and all my attempts at
bribery rewarding have only resulted in meltdowns.
So it came as something of a surprise to see her trying at school. But not that much of a surprise. Remember I said that Pudding believed she was unobserved? This was key, because if there is one thing Pudding hates more than not being able to do something, it is having others witness her mistakes. Pudding doesn’t like mistakes. If something can’t be done according to her idea of right, it is better not to attempt it. Or at least, forbidding anybody else from seeing you make a mistake.
I can appreciate Pudding’s reticence. Nobody likes making mistakes. I don’t know if she has yet perceived that things come harder for her than others. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know that she will have to try and fail many, many times more than most to do things that come naturally to everyone else. It makes perfect sense that she is more content sticking to the things that she has mastered- finding comfort in the repetition that has brought her success in some areas, and avoiding those things that are too challenging.
I get it, because parenting is harder for me than I ever expected. When I look around at others, they seem to have it all figured out, while I’m still learning. But then, I’ve also learned that there isn’t a right and wrong way to do things. Sometimes the mistakes I make with one child are the exact right thing to do with my other one. At times, it is the timing that is wrong, and I only find out when I try, and make a mistake. Maybe another time I’ll try and be successful.
Like Pudding, I’m going to try and fail many, many more times at doing something that comes naturally to most other people. Mistakes and Motherhood are synonymous, so I’m making every effort to show my kids that I make mistakes too, very often, and they help me to learn. They also help me to laugh at myself for thinking something this complicated could ever be easy, or this easy could be so complicated. I don’t mind having witnesses for that.
So M is for Mistakes, and Motherhood. Both are as natural as riding a bike- it just takes some of us a little more practice than others. I could still use a helmet and knee-pads on some days though.
This post is the letter ‘M’ in my A-Z series. You can read the rest by clicking >>here<<.