I sent Hailey to time-out today in her room for not sharing, and she was weeping copiously in there – she didn’t start crying until after I said she could come down, mind you. She finally asked me to come up to her, and I did. I found a note pushed into the hallway from under her bedroom door saying, ‘I am a very very very very very (etc.) bad girl.’
Her willingness to hate herself is disturbing. I can say she comes by it honestly. Jon’s mom used to tell a story of finding a similar note under Jonathan’s pillow when he was about Hailey’s age: “I hate myself”, it said. I know I’m not a bastion of self-love and acceptance, but can an attitude of self-condemnation from me, towards myself, create toxic self-hate in my six-year-old? Or was she just born without the ability to like herself?
Yesterday I went to North Avenue to rehearse Der Hurt auf dem Felsen with Melinda and a young clarinetist, Shaquille Southwell. I’m really pleased to get another chance to sing the piece, as it is such a challenge. Shaq is amazing – he’s heading off to Juilliard in the fall. I can’t get over seeing young musicians so immersed in their art. I’m learning that it takes a tremendous amount of self-possesion to really make music, and I’m not sure how teenagers get to those dizzying heights at young ages. My suspicion is that instrumentalists can achieve this at earlier ages than singers – kids can begin training on instruments before they even get to elementary school, but singers can’t really delve deeply into classical training until late middle school or high school. Could it also have something to do with the fact that instrumentalists manipulate something that is outside of their own bodies, giving them a greater sense of control than someone whose own instrument is unseen and subject to whims of hormones, diet, time of day, etc.? Whatever it is, Shaq is already a very fine musician, at 18. And a much better one than I was at that age, at any rate!
Here I am right this minute, modeling my new sunhat: