Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where's the instruction manual?

We had a bad end to a good day today.

I got my days mixed up, I thought it was Thursday, the day Zoe goes to a movie with her Girl Scout troop. So we didn't go swimming at the Ultimate Moms Club.  During the day a friend came over, they played 'Fashion Show', played with the hose, had hot dogs and watermelon for lunch and everybody got along.

After friends went home I figured out my mistake and treated them to McDonald's for dinner.  My kids have been big into the Mr. Bean cartoons of late.  After watching an episode where Mr. Bean does a puppet show, they wanted to do one too.  The two of them ran around creating the characters and then put the two tub chairs together for a theatre.  I let them use baby powder for smoke on the condition they vacuum it up when they were done.  I watched and laughed, because they were being funny.

Afterwards, I asked them to do their chores but got nowhere with that.  I calmly explained that I was tired of yelling at them and they were sent to bed early after being told they couldn't have any screen time in the morning.

Zoe said Will was going to sleep in her room, something they do occasionally.  After about an hour (no surprise there I hadn't expected them to go to sleep right away) I heard Zoe yell 'Ow!' but that's not really anything to worry about because she yells 'Ow!" a LOT.  But, they needed to go to sleep so I went upstairs to take Will to his own bed.

Upon being informed of this, he started to flail his feet at me when I tried to pick him up.  After I got him picked up he hit me on the back and then pinched me.  I pinched him back.

I went down to get his stuffed animals and blanket, while I was doing this Will threw things around his room.  When I came back in, he hit me in the shin with a plastic golf club.

I broke it over my knee.

He screamed and cried and then told me I was a bitch.

I sat down on the bed and started to talk very quietly, which has to be done because he thinks it's funny when we yell.

I didn't get far, but I did ask him if he loved me.  He didn't answer for a little while and I said I guess he didn't but I loved him.  He cried that he did love me!

I talked quietly to him about how we treat people we love who love us.  I told him we had a lot of fun today, he and Zoe got on great, they played with their friend, we had fun.  I told him that he knew how to be gentle with his voice and his body.  I put him back in bed a few more times while this was going on and finally went back downstairs feeling like the worst parent ever.

I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time with some very accomplished women.  Published writers, professional photographers, women who home school, educate themselves about parenting and would probably have handled that very differently.  They would've known just what to do or would have at least known where to go for  the answers about how to deal with the issues I'm dealing with.

He's a great kid.  He's creative and affectionate and smart.  He acts out when he's tired and when he's frustrated or has his feelings hurt he resorts to hitting and name calling.  He didn't act this way at preschool and he doesn't act this way at the Mom's Club.  He acts this way at home.

The psychologist we took him to recommends a system where the kids earn privileges to build confidence and encourage appropriate behavior.

I laid down some new rules with the kids on Monday regarding how they must listen and good behavior will earn them swimming or dessert or screen time.

I really feel like I'm failing my son.  I'm apparently not building his self esteem, giving him appropriate boundaries or preparing him for the outside world.

And I feel like I'm failing my daughter.  I spend a good chunk of energy on her brother every day.  She's started to ask us to do things for her that she could easily do herself.  I don't know if this is because she doesn't think she can do it herself or a developing sense of entitlement.  Either way I'm not into either of those options.

Or maybe, we're all tired.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When using curlers, remember a larger curler will give you body, a smaller curler will give a more defined curl.


Anonymous said...

Or maybe, we're all tired.


I think you're doing great.


Beckett Gladney said...

Oh I can soooo relate to this. Actually it sounds pretty normal for that age and type of boy, to me. I do think boys like Riley and Will and even Casey and some other little 'perfect' boys have to test the limits periodically. Sure the yelling and hitting and tantrum stuff is unacceptable behavior and we as parents have to clamp down on it, but it doesn't sound like Will is unusually bad or anything. He's a boy who needs to see where his boundaries are and I swear I think they test us to the limits just to see if we *really* love them in spite of the worst they can do. At least with my guys, if they pull shit like that and then they get real consequences and then reassurance that I still love them, they relax and the horrid behavior stops (for awhile, anyway, not forever). The testing doesn't seem to really stop, it changes as they get older. I keep hoping they'll outgrow the need for it...

And of course that sort of incident is much more likely to happen in late afternoon/early evening (the Arsenic Hours) because everyone is tired and cranky by then.

It's just so hard to deal with it when they do explode, though! It sounds to me like you handled it all really well, so don't beat yourself up, you're doing great and you are an awesome mom, even when you feel like the worst parent in the world.
*massive hugs*

Maureen said...

This, too, shall pass.

And, years from now, you'll probably realize that you were worrying over something that you ended up solving anyway.

Or, you'll realize that you did the best you could.

Or, you'll kick yourself because, with the perspective of time & experience, as you come to know your child's personality better over the years, you'll realize that you should have done things differently altogether.

But, you're doing it all with love. And, whether you realize it or not, great insight into yourself and your children. And, you've got your priorities straight, even if you fall prey to your own human frailties at times & no one can blame you for that (well, except yourself and I know this because I do it myself all of the time).