Monday, August 29, 2011

The, um, Joys of Learning

There was a whole lot of new going on around here this summer.  Training wheels have came off the bike, the child wants to roller skate, has recently started regularly doing chores that don't involve just picking up the seemingly endless piles of toys in our home and has learned to swim.  What does this mean? As the rate of learning new and difficult things increases so proportionately does the parental need for patience and understanding(as well as does the use of ice packs on the lower back.)

So, earlier this summer as I was dutifully holding up the back of the bike as my child rode gleefully on in the 90 degree heat I was reflecting on what this summer had to offer.  We lasted roughly 20 minutes in the heat before a very wilted me and a very sweaty Josh stumped back into the house to crash with some watermelon and ice water in front of Dinosaur Train. (If you have a young child and haven't discovered this show, what more could you ask for in entertainment than the plot of dinosaurs who travel on trains to different eras to meet other dinosaurs? I submit to you, nothing.)  A few days later, we spent an hour in the pool- Josh "swimming" as I held up his stomach in a vain effort to get him to actually move forward while he kicked.  Another morning, before we rode bikes I also held him up as he attempted to roller skate which essentially meant "push one foot, push the other foot, fall and yank mom's arm out of her socket...and again".  There's a big theme of "holding" in all the learning going on around here.  Which translates very nicely to a tired and sore back for my increasingly aging body. There are days that I really do miss being 18. I'm guessing all this would be much easier in that body.

 But here's what I've learned. As I thought about three months without school or foreseeable structure, it seemed like an  endless series of "holding ups".  The bike, the roller skates, the swimming, the constant verbal holding up in reminding him to do his chores and talking him through the next LEGO creation he was working on.  I've already seen some of my values coming to the top. I've learned I cannot stand the words "I can't" coming out of my child's mouth and have found myself making those declarative family lore statements like "In our family, those words aren't allowed" or "Ogrosky's don't say can't!"  Where did I come up with that?  I've also found myself really irritated when my child seems to be illogically fearful.  Sometimes I've wanted to yell, "Just get over it and do it!"  I'm thinking this would not be a particularly helpful response to a frightened and cautious four-year-old so we usually packed up what we were doing and left the trying for a new day.  But I really do hate the idea of giving up. Not trying drives me crazy. These are values I clearly hold dear.

Some days I really wondered if the new day would actually hold a breakthrough.  I wondered if he'd ever really let go of the side and swim without being held. He did - he even jumps off the diving board now. I wondered if he'd ever make his bed without being asked- lately he's waking up, picking out his own clothes (which is a small miracle in itself given that I have a child who'd prefer to spend the whole day in jammies) and making his bed before he comes in to wake us up.  I'm still wondering if he'll ride his bike without training wheels but the unknown is now more of a when rather than an if.  He figures it out eventually. Even with all his holding on.  He eventually lets go.  He does persevere. He doesn't give up- he just does it in his own unique way.  Maybe that has something to do with being an Ogrosky or maybe it's just who he is.  Who knows.

Oh, parenthood. My perpetual lesson in patience and letting people be who they were made to be.  My hope as we head into the fall is that I'll really remember who my son is in those moments when he feels so "other".  That I'll hold him up for as long as I'm supposed to and help him let go when the moment comes.  That I'll confidently share our family values (that someday will likely be joked about to college roommates) in the context of grace and trust that they come across in love and not tyranny.


  1. How has having Josh affected you marriage, beyond what I usually hear about people having less time for each other? Do you find you typically agree with each other on parenting methods/philosophy? Or has that brought a whole new level of things to work through as spouses?

  2. Great question, Katelin. I'm thinking that answer would take much more than a response comment! Food for thought for a blog post...