Tuesday, December 22, 2009

29-Month Slump

I've been in a slump lately. My weight loss has stopped, mostly because I stopped following the tenets of Weight Watchers. Again. My daily enthusiasm for spending time with Thumper has dropped off, partly because of a string of days where he was sick and the weather was too cold for playgrounds, partly because of the phase he's deep into now (throwing, hitting, screaming, resisting every idea that is not his own), and partly because my attitude sucks.

I yelled at him at dinner at the end of last week. Somehow, table manners became a big pet peeve for me. He bangs his fork. He plays with his food. He spits out his beverage. He throws peas on the floor. He paints with his spilled soup. I don't know when I became the "act right at the dinner table" Nazi, but I yelled at him. And Aerie got upset with me. And I got upset with her. And I brooded about it for two days before I came to the conclusion that she was right and apologized. I have to find a way to change my expectations for him. My expectation that he feed himself without incident is clearly out of whack with reality, so I can continue to get upset when that expectation isn't met, or I can accept that it's not a reasonable expectation now.

I've been thinking about this job, and about the arcs my other "real jobs" have taken over the years. I think I'm at the point where I'm comfortable with my ability to do my job. I've mastered many of the positive challenges of my daily tasks, the challenges I enjoy, but I haven't yet learned to live in harmony with those negative challenges, the ones that I don't enjoy. I've become complacent, and in some ways bored with a job I feel like I've learned how to do pretty well.

So what's the next part of the arc? Well, either settling comfortably into the rut and learning to appreciate the ease and the boredom, or finding new ways to expand my role so that I can keep growing and learning new things. What does that mean in practical application? I'm not sure. I don't think it means just finding new places to go, new parks and playgrounds and museums and shows. I've been thinking about Mother's Day Out programs a lot lately, as people keep impressing upon me how it's important to get him comfortable with a classroom setting before he enters full-time public school. The problem is: they're freakin' expensive. I wonder if these two problems of mine can find a solution for each other?

I don't know; I'm just talking here.

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