Friday, November 8, 2013

He’s Still Stubborn

We had a parent-teacher meeting with Charles’s preschool teacher yesterday.  It ended up being a parent-teacher-student meeting because we came during naptime but Charles wasn’t asleep.  And I had to use the restroom when I got there, so I passed Charles quietly coloring at a table.  So of course he would not let go of my leg and insisted on being with me.  Spoiler: when I left to go back to work, he cried.


Charles is, as we already knew, a bright kid.  He can spell and read simple words and he knows all his colors and numbers.  He is adding and subtracting and he thinks math is the most amazing thing in the whole world (“Mom! Two plus three is FIVE!!!”).  He helps out a lot at school, always setting the tables for snack and listening intently during story time.  The teacher waxed on for twenty minutes about how great he is, how far he has come, what a delight he is to have in class.  You just know that she’s building up to saying something negative, right?


Well, it wasn’t anything we didn’t know.  He’s not biting kids (anymore – though his two-year-old brother has begun to do so) and he’s not using swear words or flipping the bird (all behaviors he initially learned at school from other kids and which we had to figuratively beat out of him), and he’s not throwing giant tantrums (he reserves those for home).  No, he just quietly refuses to clean up after himself.  When it’s time to put away toys, he won’t.  When it’s time to clean up books before going outside, he says “no.”


I feel for the teachers at his school, I really do.  We go through the same thing at home: repeatedly stating his responsibilities, his refusal to act, the consequences to not doing what he is supposed to do, the ultimate breakdown into tantrums and crying (sometimes on my part).  Charles is a stubborn little boy, and at 46.5 inches and 51 pounds (he had is checkup yesterday), I can’t physically make him do much of anything.  So he loses privileges and he gets put in time out and eventually he comes to his senses.  They don’t have those discipline options at school, and I understand that, but it’s not as though discipline is really working for us right now at home, anyway.


This morning, Charles woke up late and grumpy.  He didn’t want an English muffin, he wanted a bagel.  When I got bagels out of the freezer, he didn’t want those bagels and he shouted at me to put them back in the freezer.  I ignored him because it keeps me from losing my temper.  When Tony got home from basketball, I asked Charles if he wanted to shower with me, and he did, but then he refused to put his pajamas in his hamper.  Total standoff between us (I am stubborn, too).  I started to get in the shower without him and he started raging, “No!  Mommy!  No!!! I want to take a shower with yooooooou!”  I told him to put his clothing in the hamper.  He cried harder.  Tony told him to put his clothing in the hamper.  Charles finally relented.


This went on for the rest of the morning.  I was late to work.  I shouted, even though I hate that.  I really relate to that guy who takes photos of his kids crying (it’s now an entire website of reader submissions, so I know I’m not alone in this) and states the reasons, all of them illogical.  Charles freaked out because it was time to leave.  He got mad because I let Jamie close the garage door.  He screamed and cried because he was still eating his bagel but wanted me to brush his teeth at the same time.  His socks were not the ones he wanted, even though he picked them out and put them on himself.  It’s cold outside and he’s cold, but he doesn’t want to wear a coat or hat.  He likes his old, too-small shoes better than his new shoes and wants the old ones back.  He dropped his vitamin and couldn’t find it, but only remembered that he dropped it when we were almost to school.


photo (12)


Life with children is TOO HARD.  And Charles will probably snuggle up to me this evening and tell me, repeatedly, “I love you, mama” with a sweet smile on his face.  TOO HARD.  I just wish I knew when the switch would flip and he would start behaving rationally.  I’m guessing close to age 30, right?


Thank goodness I’ll be making cupcakes for his party tomorrow.  I need some chocolate.

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