When we arrived the first day to ride horses with Mr K, it looked, for all intents and purposes that Monkey Shine was going to be the fraidy cat.
She does not like animals AT ALL! In fact, ANYTHING furry that moves is OUT -in her mind!
You can read about it HERE.
So she was the one I thought I would really have to sweet talk. She was the one I thought would chicken out, and I was not disappointed by her hesitation to even approach the animals!
She would rather climb into some branches than get close to the fence where they are being held!
You can tell by her face!
So while Monkey Shine was freaking out and needing to be sweet-talked by Mommy Monkey (that would be me), Monkey Do was having a ball.
She got to brush the horse, a lovely girl named Autumn:
I love Monkey Do's face in this one! She is really enjoying it!
And there is a sense of caring and doing something that is nice for the horse!
So Monkey See and Monkey Do brushed the horse together and then...
Monkey Do stepped back and watched as Monkey See had a lesson in how to saddle a horse...
And went for a ride!
And then it was her turn!
Mom! I am scared! I don't want to ride!
WHAT!?!? You have been talking non-stop about this for TWO MONTHS! WHY in the world are you not going to GET ON THAT HORSE?!
Well, I have never seen an animal that big up close!
Now here is the part that baffles me: She was NOT afraid to brush this huge animal looming above her. As a mother I was standing there thinking, "Be careful! Don't get trampled or kicked!" But she was happy to brush this enormous animal, but when it came time to go for a lazy little walk, around a corral, led by a very experienced horsewoman, in a saddle, with a handle and NOW we chicken out!
So Olivia, one of the darling young women helping, tried to "convince" her to get on the horse.
Guess where it got us!
Full out meltdown mode. She was HYSTERICAL!
Finally it was clear that riding that day was going to be a lost cause, and we gave up.
I am really torn about that! I do not want this child -who lives in fear and is afraid to try ANYTHING- to cheat herself out of fun!
When she was learning to pedal her bike -with training wheels on, mind you- she would want me to push her around the cul-de-sac because she was too afraid to pedal. I must have looked like a terribly mean mother for yelling to her "NO, you go! C'mon! PEDAL!" all the way around. I must have seemed so mean! But she had to be pushed, and not in the literal sense. She simply needed to be MADE to do it so that she could see how amazingly capable she was! Now she is trying to teach herself to ride without training wheels! Larry took them off for her, and she is slowly getting it!
I push my kids to do things that are hard and that they are afraid of so that they do not live a life ruled by fear. When they do something hard for them it gives them such a sense of accomplishment and increases confidence! And if I do not make them face fear then they may be afraid to do the right thing and give in to those fears. And make a choice that could negatively impact them for the rest of their lives!
Fear can cripple them for life.
But it was clear that this was not going to be the day.
So what about the other "Fraidy Cat"?
These pictures say a thousand words:
She loved it! And the next time that we came to lessons, she was the first one on the horse!
So to give our little story of bravery and fear closure, what happened when Monkey Do was next there for lessons? Well before we even left I told her that if she didn't ride this time I was not going to bring her back for lessons. I simply am not going to have a meltdown to deal with three times a week for the entire summer!
So she swallowed,
Now that was not so bad, was it?
"That was fun Momma! I think I will ride next time!"
Much ado about nothing.