Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kid compulsions

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So Mini-Him has been on vacation for about a week now. I was hugely excited for him, for me and for the many things that we still hope to accomplish. I suppose it's a human trait to be oblivious, emotionally I mean, to the challenges that will arise from having expectations. I know, in my brain, that nothing is ever easy. So when I discussed the goals I had set for Mini-Him and myself before the vacation, I said, "I know it won't be easy." It was with a sense of relish, bravado creeping in, with which I air-brushed my hopes. All the wise, older women around me had smiled, not as excited as I was. I put it down to them having lived their lives. Surely, it was hard to get worked up about a nine year old's art and science projects?!

Well, there is a monster and a blessing called TV. We're disconnecting the good and evil incarnate today. Just so Him and I don't give Mini-Him confusing signals. So far, we've tussled with setting TV limits. The free time between watching scheduled shows is spent with Mini-Him arguing about how much more he should be watching. There have been interesting observations he has made that shame me.

Some sound like this, "Well, Dad and you were paying the bills that day and made me watch TV while you were busy!!" True, only because puzzles were 'boring', a page of Math was 'not fair' and reading was 'too much'. He even said, "You take advantage of the TV Mom. It's hy-co-cry-tical (hypocritical). What does that mean? Hycocrytical?"


It means that I'm always speechless when it matters, I thought to myself and ignored him studiously.

But still, we plan to watch when he's asleep. At least there won't be confusing signals then!


Also, Mini-Him doesn't know to use a bicycle, which, I'll admit is our fault. But our fault through being over protective. He has an epilepsy diagnosis and we have gone overboard trying to protect his body from unnecessary trauma. The doctor advised that he stay off bikes too. Now that I believe the time is right, his opinion is necessarily different.

"Mini-Him, we're going to practice riding your bicycle today. We'll go in an hour," I tell him, putting on my best calm, unconcerned mom voice. I cannot possibly show him that I care about this. Any amount of concern from me brings an equal and opposite rebellion. So, I worked on my book cover as I sent sound bytes of intent.

"An hour? But...but I have Ben10 in an hour! Why do I HAVE to ride a bicycle Mom? It's not the end of the world if I don't. Let's go swimming instead." Of course, he has forgotten that he hated swimming too. It took a concerted effort on our part to pry him away from the safe life that we had to impose on him. But he's learned to love it. I hope that he'll learn to love this too. The world surely won't end, like he wisely said. But my motherly duty toward him will definitely be better done.

Half a painstaking hour of bicycle practice later, we're arguing again. He's famished...he says, for chips only. Bar-b-cue chips. Which we make the mistake of buying when people visit. "Why can't we be like other people?" Mini-Him grumbled already, "Everyone has chips. Why do I have to eat carrots and dip?"

I thought a great deal this morning. About why I have these compulsions that only make life more difficult. Why does he HAVE to ride a bike, do math, organize his little space or watch less TV? And why am I the "TV hycocrite"?

A few answers seem forthcoming now, as I wait for Him to arrive and take over. I am the TV hycocryte because I am definitely a hypocrite who needs absolute quiet time. It only happens with the TV blaring and him listening to the darned thing. That way, I get to stay quiet and he is quiet. Yes, this passes for quiet time in my household.

My compulsions stem from needing some aspects of growth dealt with before the teenage years set in. Before I'll be fighting a hormonal Mini-Him with a new set of arguments. And yes, there is something to be said for living a productive life. Which I don't expect him to understand at nine. But when he asks me, "Is it going to be the end of the world if I don't?" I have very few words left.

Did I ever mention that Him's family is full of lawyers? Him himself can't help jumping headlong into an argument. Only, it's yet to dawn on him that his voice, booming out the counter to every theory, makes everyone else fall silent. Before long, there is a monologue in place of an argument that used to be a discussion.

I guess my compulsion is really about Mini-Him having, in my humble, unasked opinion, a balanced outlook.

Even if that renders me unbalanced.

12 comments:

  1. I wish Big Daddy would do away with the tv as well..but he is so into the sports I know it will not happen.....the joys of motherhood...

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  2. I hear you Pleemiller! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this, but I am so glad to see it's not just girls who deal with this tween frustration. I was just about ready to trade my two in for boys, but now I won't have to!

    Tell your little guy that he's lucky he gets the dip with the carrots. In my house we don't even buy the dip anymore! LOL Yeah, that makes my tween REALLY mad!

    Good luck. You'll get through this, I'm sure. I'm afraid to see the teen years, though, to be honest. At least we can blog about it together!

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  4. Karen, I thought that girls were better...I guess they all act up when they get the chance! It's so funny to see him pull a face when I bring a plate of fresh veggies out. We're vegetarian for heavens sake! How does he imagine he's going to survive?
    The teen years bother me too. I wasn't too bad but my husband apparently, was a hell raiser! I see no evidence that my son is going to be calm. Yes, we're going to have to blog about it together and exchange tips. I wonder if we should encourage the kids to blog about their confusion? But that could open a whole can of worms *shudder*...probably not!
    Now I wonder if I need to throw out the dip. I have hummus but his expression was so pitiful when I brought that out, that I stopped waving it in his face. There's nothing to do but laugh about it, I guess, huh Karen?

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  5. Hmmmm... having a problem with eating vegetables sure does seem to be a little more difficult if you are vegetarian. That is too funny in a way. I think kids will struggle for independence no matter where they can find it.

    I have told my daughter that if she comes up with appropriate, well written content I will post it on my blog. I think it might be fun to see what she comes up with. As soon as I told her she was welcome to do that, though, she changed her mind. Yep, we are WAY too close to the teen years.

    If it helps any to know... I was a TERRIBLE teenager. We're talking, my parents had brochures out for military school bad. I think I was grounded more than I was not. There was one time I got grounded for a full year, and my parents stuck to that for nine months. I turned out okay, and my parents and I have a great relationship now. In the end it will all work out as long as we keep our heads.

    Yeah, I would say there's nothing to do but laugh about it. Keeping perspective will help us all get through with some sort of sanity.

    Have a great weekend!

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  6. Oh my! I would never have guessed your nearly military past from our interactions! It's good to know that everything's well with your parents now. Getting grounded for a whole year?! Wow Karen...they actually stuck to it for nine months? Okay, all of it gives me a ton of hope :-)...I'll just keep believing in the best outcome.
    As for your tween, isn't that so like a tween? Getting shy when you least expect it! If she does write, tell her that we'll read everything that she has to say and leave good comments for her.
    You have a great weekend Karen and hope stuff gets sorted out soon for you...Anne

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  7. Yeah, that's what happens when a teenager goes out riding in a car in the middle of the night.... without permission. My parents were FURIOUS, and rightfully so. In my defense, I didn't know the boy who borrowed the car from his parents was only 15. So, BIG lesson learned there, and I didn't go away to military school because I calmed down once I was grounded for so long. It's a great story to tell my kids, though, when they scream at me that it's not fair to have their electronics taken away for a week. LOL

    I'll let Andrea know that she has fans already. That will make her happy. I'm trying to get her to write a short story to post. I think I'm going to make it a summer school assignment and see how far we get.

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  8. LOL!!! That's funny now Karen, though it couldn't have been then! I think it makes you a well-rounded mom, not too soft/tough...because you've seen it all! I never pushed boundaries so when my son tries something that could be innocuous, I lose it fast, because I can't remember ever having pulled one like that. My husband has a more balanced perspective about him, I think. Maybe you'll have friends in your teenage daughters instead of the drama, because everyone can move past incidents faster.
    Would love to see Andrea's short story up. I will post a link to her short story on my blog when she's done with it(if she's agrees that is!)

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  9. Wow, that's a generous offer Anne. Thank you! I'll let Andrea know and get her working on the short story next week. Have a link on another blog will definitely be a motivation. She is a good writer, so I want to encourage her to develop that skill.

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  10. I am happy to do it! Who better to write about a tween's world than a tween?

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  11. So true! That's such a tough time in life, too. They really are stuck between being "babies" and starting to grow up. I can see it in Andrea for sure. There is not really music or TV that is appropriate for her age. She tries to fit in where she can. Thanks again!

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  12. You're very welcome Karen!

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