Right, Left, Right, Left, Left, Right, Left.. which hand do I choose? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD2 is a righty. She writes with her right hand, uses scissors with her right, prefers to pick her nose with her right... Like the rest of righties in the family she is unable to do much legibly with her left hand. No biggie.

She is confusing us all though. Last summer she took some rec center tennis classes and at first always started lefty. The teachers asked her handedness a few times and we told them right so they switched her. They had to do this a few times at the start of the session and we didn't think anything of it at the time. Then she tried gymnastics. Her teachers asked which hand she wrote with and we said 'right' because it's the one she uses. They came out in the middle of class and asked again and we told them. They came out again and said that she must not really be writing because she is actually left handed. "Oh well", we said, and they marked her as a lefty because that's what she prefers. (FWIW I had no idea there was handedness to gymnastics, but apparently DD can only do left handed cartwheels etc. leading with her left.)

Recently she started fencing (yea, she's all over the place). Again the same scenario. Teacher asks and we tell her she's right handed. DD takes the foil with her left. Teacher asks again and we tell her right, DD en guard's leading with the left foot and left hand. The teacher looked at us and said "Nope, she's a lefty, she must not really be writing yet". So now she's a left handed fencer.

We're confused. It would appear as if she is right handed for fine motor skills, and left handed for others. I thought ambidexterity meant you could alternate both skills with each hand (write with either left of right) but she is incapable of writing with her left hand. She is writing and has been for quite some time and has strong fine motor skills. We're wondering if we should push her to right handed gross skills because we know she is stronger with her right hand (she throws balls with her right). The problem is she loves the fencing and wants to keep doing it. I see her pick up the foil with her right hand sometime and she is stronger, but she naturally goes to the left. Everything she does in gymnastics is still left handed. For the life of her she is incapable in that capacity of leading with her right.

WDYT? We're thinking either we made a mistake with tennis with the teachers switching her to a righty, or we're making the mistake with fencing with having her be a lefty. Is it possible to be ambidextrous in this fashion with the skill division? FWIW our take has always been just to sit back and let her do her thing with whichever hand she preferred, but she seems personally confused by which hand to use for different things. For right now we're just telling her to try things with each hand and go with which ever one feels better. She prefers the left for the foil which I find so odd... but we're shrugging our shoulders and going with it. She wants to do tennis again and we're thinking we may need to just tell them she's a lefty....
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#2 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my goodness... I really am wordy! I can hear DH now saying "Isn't there someway you could have said that with less information and 2/3rds less words?". Sorry, I'm working on it.
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#3 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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I'm curious and grappling with the same thing too. DS (5 yo) is also right-handed for fine motor skills, but appears to be a left for gross motor stuff.
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#4 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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My dh is incredibly co-ordinated with lots of natural athletic aptitude. He's a righty for all things fine motor but plays most of his sports left-handed. Golf, tennis, squash, etc.. I don't think it's that uncommon. I think it's more likely to occur when eye and hand dominance don't match.

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#5 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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Both kids are righties and both golf left. It's apparently not overly common, but nothing to worry over.

*shrug*

Although, I'm now off to look up discordance of eye and hand dominance for interest's sake .

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#6 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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I am left handed, but can play many sports right handed and am right footed, if that makes sense. I just think that the handedness thing can be different for gross and fine motor skills. I can draw with my right hand pretty well (whrn it is largly gross motor) but can't really write to save my life with my right hand. But I can bat left or right handed...
Basically, it doesn't have to be all one side or the other.

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#7 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 11:45 PM
 
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I am functionally ambidexerous . However, I do tend to have a preferred hand for many activities. For example, I tend to start writing with my right hand and switch to the left if I get tired. But, I tend to play tennis with my left. I eat with my left hand (mostly), but I cut with my right. There's no real rhyme or reason, it's just the way it works out.

If your dd is doing things with reasonable competence and coordination (based on age, ability, experience, etc.), then I wouldn't worry about it at all.
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#8 of 22 Old 12-31-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I think it's more likely to occur when eye and hand dominance don't match.

Miranda
I was wondering the same thing, if maybe her hand and eye dominance don't match. IIRC, you can check eye dominance by having her make a circle with her two hands (thumbs and index fingers, I mean) out at arm's length, and then by focusing on something within the circle and drawing the hands to the face, they will naturally go to the dominant eye. I hope that made sense. My hand and eye dominance don't match, and it was especially confusing when I was learning to shoot a rifle--either do it left-handed (I'm a righty) or close my left eye.
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#9 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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I don't think there's anything unusual about preferring different hands for different activities, but my dad has always written with his right hand and preferred his left for all sports and other activities.
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#10 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 01:08 AM
 
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Me too, me too. I have always been able to switch back & forth for sports things (badminton, gymnastics, baseball, table tennis, etc.), but usually prefer my left hand. And I am absolutely right-handed for writing. Crazy. I never really even thought about it before.
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#11 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 01:08 AM
 
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I'm right-handed in everything except the things my left-handed mom taught me... I lead left-handed with tools like brooms and rakes and do cartwheels left-handed, for example... any chance you are left-handed? Or that she is mimicking for those skills?

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#12 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 01:27 AM
 
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As a fencer, I highly reccomend letting her fence lefty.

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#13 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 01:43 AM
 
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I was going to mention eye dominance conflict, too.
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#14 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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GS9 writes with his left, eats left, but all large motor skills are right handed. Many sports we encourage him to develop both, that is an advantage.
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#15 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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I write with my right hand, eat with both, prefer to do gymnastics leading with left hand and left foot, am left eye dominant with cameras, and eat with both hands. My mother is similar, so was my ex. I don't think it's that rare, but never thought about it that much.
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#16 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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Up until very recently, DD has done sports stuff (batting, kicking, throwing) mostly lefty while preferring righty for writing. I've tried to encourage the lefty sports stuff because I know how hard it is for us right-handers to go against someone lefty; thought it might give her a slight advantage some day. I watched her bat yesterday though, and she's switched to righty batting. Well, whatever. As long as it's working for her, there doesn't seem to be a reason to push one side over the other. Of course, we don't do any sort of organized sports either, so that make a difference.

Monica , DH :cop , DD (8) , DS1 (5) , DS2 (2/09) , and the pup
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#17 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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Ambi here! I use my right for writing (though I can use my left if need be) but there are a lot of things where I prefer left. There's some people who use both hands equally well, some people who switch off depending on what they are doing and some people who train themselves to be ambidexterous (cheaters!).

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#18 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 09:41 PM
 
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and some people who train themselves to be ambidexterous (cheaters!).
hard work and perseverance = cheating

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#19 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 09:50 PM
 
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hard work and perseverance = cheating
Yup!


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#20 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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I'm right-handed and left-footed!! When I took fencing in college, I did fine except for one particular type of fencing. I can't remember the name. there were three: foil, epee and something else. Anyway, it was the one that looks a bit more theatrical, where you launch off a certain leg and lunge; sabre??. For that one, I just couldn't do it because I *must* use my left leg as the dominant leg but I'm definitely not left-handed. I couldn't resolve that one, but perhaps I could have over time. I leaned towards learning to hold the saber in my left hand because the leg thing was too strong.

And I can golf left or right, depending on what I need to do. Same for hockey.

I'm sorry. I don't have any real advice. But when I read this, it struck a chord with me.
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#21 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wheeee! Thanks for all the responses! There is a lot of great information here!

So, I've done some research... there is dominance in play for hands, feet, eyes and ears (let's not even get into hemisphere's of the brain ).

So DD2 is right handed, has a left eye dominance (or none, she sometimes went straight to the middle or slightly to the left) and is ambidextrous in her feet. She takes stairs leading with her left, will step on something (a coin) on the floor with her left but kicks a ball with her right. The right foot kicking could have been a learned thing though because we recall her kicking with her left when she was 2. That in combination with her left eye dominance could explain the left handedness in gymnastics, fencing and most likely tennis (even though they switched her to right handed tennis, she did better at backhands the forehands). Not sure about the ear dominance, we didn't test that.

We're all right handed here and we are sure she is right handed and not just going off our example. We did check it out and I do cartwheels left handed (also unable to do them right handed), strange as I am right handed/right eyed/right footed. Interestingly enough DH and DD1 are both left eye dominant righties, like DD2. But DD1 does cartwheels righty.

Even more fascinating was the article on ocular dominance on wiki which states:
"Approximately two-thirds of the population is right-eye dominant; however in a small portion of the population neither eye is dominant. Dominance does appear to change depending upon direction of gaze due to image size changes on the retinas. There also appears to be a higher prevalence of left-eye dominance in those with Williams-Beuren syndrome, and possibly in migraine sufferers as well. Eye dominance has been categorized as "weak" or "strong"; highly profound cases are sometimes caused by amblyopia or strabismus. In those with anisometropic myopia (i.e. different amounts of nearsightedness between the two eyes), the dominant eye has been found to be the one with more myopia."

I'll be doing some research on that for DD1 actually, who interestingly enough is left eye dominant, has been suffering from severe migraines since she was 5 and was born with congenital neurologic strabismus. Her migraines always start above her right eye (and yes, we've ruled out ocular triggers).

I just love all the different directions one question can take you when you research!
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#22 of 22 Old 01-01-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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Weird, I am also left-eye dominant, and I suppose my mom didn't teach me that. Yes, I agree it's all really fascinating to learn about!

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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