We took the kids bowling for the first time this afternoon. It went about as expected. After a couple frames, Jesse became really, really frustrated and really, really whiny and loud about it. Tears, dramatic postures, foot stamping, slumped shoulders, head drooped passionately on folded arm with chorus of muffled sobs, angry snapping, and so on. (That was Jesse this time, not me.) While Anthony was able to keep faking an upbeat mood, I pouted and sulked on the seats between my frames, muttering mature and useful things to myself like “jackass” and “I should be home doing laundry” and “way to ruin something else, Jesse.”
Meanwhile, Nick continues to fill an important niche as my third butt cheek. Whenever it was my turn, he followed me closely out on the lane and had to be ushered back so I could actually bowl without hurting him. The alley provided a ramp thingy for him to put his ball on to make it go, so that was kind of novel for a few minutes, but after about 4 frames he lost all interest and was bored and ready to leave.
The only reason we went bowling was because Jesse wanted to, and then she threw a hissy fit the whole time. I was livid. Anthony captured our departing mood perfectly, remarking as we walked to the car, “well, add this to the list of activities we can never enjoy together as a family.”
I was in a real funk. I sulked all the way home, pondering how hard it is to do anything with Jesse because of her moodiness and self-loathing and emotional outbursts and blah blah blah. Though at least she didn’t pull her pants down to bare-ass the other bowlers, and she didn’t try to lick the balls or the bottoms of her bowling shoes, which is a decided improvement over her behavior a couple years ago…
I was ready to be depressed all afternoon, but then I talked with a friend whose daughter is being bullied badly at school (physically and emotionally) and school staff haven’t been responsive, and also her father’s having a quadruple bypass. Real problems.
It put the bowling trip in a proper perspective. Jesse apologized sincerely to all of us eventually, and then sat snuggling in my lap doing her big-eyed thing. She wants to go bowling again. “Let me try again, mommy.” Why? I asked irritably. You didn’t even have any fun. “So that I can fix what I did wrong. So that I can make it right. Give me another chance, please?”
I wish there were some way to capture in words how heartbreaking it is to hear my little struggling child speak with such an earnest desire to change herself.
Damn. Looks like I’m probably going bowling again soon.