children, mommyhood

That’s the Spirit

I am seated at Tae Kwon Do last night and class has started. A frazzled Mom comes in carrying her son, I’m guessing he is around three years old, and I recognize the look of total frustration on her face. She manages to get her son on the mat and grabs a seat next to me. I start a conversation with her because I can sense she is ready to lose it. We soon realize we unfortunately have loads in common. She goes on to explain that she doesn’t understand why her youngest child is so defiant. Her oldest son was never like that and the behaviors, opinions and tenacity exhibited by her youngest are all new to her.

I try to break it to her gently that it is not anything she is doing right or wrong, but it is simply the personality of her youngest child. As I go on to describe some of the harrowing tales of my own motherhood experience, you can see her body language change as she is visibly relieved. She is clearly thankful that an apparently nice lady (that would be me in case there is any question) who seems to have nice manners, has children that are difficult to manage.

I told her that I hadn’t expected to be fought at every turn like I have with my boys. I said that she has to hang in there. ¬†Full Speed, while still extremely opinionated, is actually compliant most of the time. Now, I am working my way towards that with little T.Puzzle. I didn’t lie to her. I said it was hard and draining, and frankly, there are some days when I’d rather throw in the towel and let them win. But I don’t. Thankfully, I’m just as stubborn as they are.

The Mom and I looked at each other in an exhausted way that only the mothers of ‘spirited’ (she liked that terminology tremendously) children can. We realized there’s validation to be found in motherhood. On those days when you feel alone and like no one else in the world has a child as challenging as yours, just look at the Mom sitting to your right. That’s me and I have TWO of them. Don’t you feel better already?

children, mommyhood

Eye Am Defiant

Full Speed has this silly way of talking (it seems most of his classmates, especially the boys, talk this way, too) that borders on being disrespectful. It’s hard to describe but if you personally know a five year old boy, you know exactly what I mean. I keep working with him to have a balance of off-kilter, sing-songy phrasing and keeping the content acceptable (no name-calling, using toilet-related vocabulary and the like). He gets one warning if the content veers into inapproriate territory and then he goes to time-out.

As we were getting the boys ready for Saturday Tae Kwon Do, Full Speed slips up and I give him his warning. In the truck on the way there, he does it again. When we are parked, I send Mad Dog and little T.Puzzle on their way and Full Speed has to stay behind for his time-out.

He was absolutely fuming at me. I stood outside the truck and made a big production of looking at my watch to time him. His eyes are shooting daggers. With his steely glance locked on mine, he gives the seat in front of him a good, swift kick. I lean in and tell him if he kicks again, I start time-out all over. This angers him more.

To get back at me he looks me straight in the eyes and… starts hitting his own seat.

I had to turn around and not look at him at all. I didn’t want him to see me laughing (that’s so I don’t cry).

Oh, that Full Speed. Next time I’ll clarify not to kick or hit in a similar circumstance. You know it’s almost guaranteed he’ll start head-butting something.