Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hello, I Must Be Growing Now

Well, it finally feels like summer here. The temperature is heating up after a lovely, cool, breezy June & early July; swimming lessons & baseball practice have begun; the berries are ripe. And my son is either a) exhausted, b) sobbing, c) screaming, d) hungry, e) bored, f) growing like crazy so all of the above. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly at times, like this morning. This morning at 3:00. Until 4:20.

Seriously, sometimes I think there must be something wrong with the way I'm parenting. Surely other parents don't have to deal with such an argumentative child when telling them to turn off the tvcomputerWii? Surely other children are eager to help around the house and takeouttherecyclingmaketheirbedpickuptheirtoyscleanoutthecatlitter? Surely these children would be thrilled to playa game or go to a movie and not just want to layhereandwatchtv? (Yes, I'm being facetious. I know other parents go through this.) I feel like if I look closely, I can see everything he's learned melting out through his ears.

But oh, when I step back! I can take in how HUGE he is. His legs are SO long. Which makes me laugh, because my husband and I are not known for our supermodel gams. He has our short-ish torso on top of these STILTS. He doesn't have any growing pains, but his KT leg is giving him more fits than usual, getting tired and heavy. I know that it drags him down at times, but I also know he will use it as an excuse if he doesn't want to do something. Going to the grocery store?! "Mom, my leg gets too tired! I can't!" But he can manage to stand in the outfield playing baseball for an hour and a half just fine.

It doesn't help that he has developed a crazy sweet tooth. Not that I let him have all the sugar he wants - I'm no fool. I know that pouring sugar down his throat when he is going through these growth spurts is the equivalent of pouring a tanker of gasoline on a campfire.

Yesterday, I think I saw the worst of it. It started in the usual way: time to get off the Wii. It's a lesson you'd think he'd have learned - he had to go 5 days without Wii, computer and tv because he was disrespectful and not listening when I told him to stop. He'd been on for over an hour, he was turning into a robot. When I gave him 5 minutes to finish his game and told him to come outside with me and read a book, he went sort of nuts. "MOM - there are BEES out there. WASPS!!! I'm NOT going out there". When he made it outside, he cried like crazy. When we came inside, he cried even more - screaming, yelling, SOBBING. I walked away to the dining room, where I tried to gather myself, stacking the mail, trying to breathe. Charley called, and when I tried to tell him what was going on, he said he'd let me go so I could deal with it. I misunderstood - I thought he was giving me the brushoff instead of actually letting me go so I could deal with it. It was my last straw. As I stood there stacking mail, and JH continued to yell at me from his chair in the living room, I said "I quit". As I turned to head downstairs for some peace and quiety, JH turned up the volume, and the sobbing started in earnest. "MOM!!! I LOVE YOU - YOU CAN'T QUIT! YOU'RE THE BEST MOM EVER!"

You know, that shitty parenting sundae just isn't complete until you top it off with a nice, juicy guilt cherry.

But lest you think I'm wallowing, don't worry. I think we're through the worst of it. We actually had a great afternoon after all the sturm and drang. I think maybe he just needed to let it out. He hasn't really cried like that in a long time. And I've noticed since our friend Annie's memorial service, he's been extra clingy, so I think, in addition to all the crazy growing he's doing, he's processing some pretty huge emotions as well. We all are.

Daddy's off today, so JH will get some quality time with him while I go to work this morning. And hopefully, he'll sleep in. So far, so good.


Donna said...

Ahh, the video games. A mixed blessing if ever there was one. My two will play for hours if I let them (and sometimes, I do!). But they also get pissy with each other when one promises to do something and doesn't, one sabotages the other's avatar just for the hell of it, or sometimes for breathing too loudly.

I bet you are right about processing emotion. He is such an intellectual kid, and you guys don't hide the scary stuff from him like some parents try to. Somebody's mom just died. Even though his mom is healthy, I know my 9-year-old would be growing an ulcer thinking about whether that would happen to mom and dad and would never actually say a thing until it all bubbled over in a meltdown about something completely different.

My kids do not have any physical challenges, but it never ceases to amaze me how my 7-year-old can run around at the baseball diamond and the park for 2 hours straight and throw a fit when it's time to go home at 9 p.m., yet that same child will complain that his feet hurt after 10 minutes of shopping (as long as the shopping is not for him and does not involve Nintendo or Pokemon, then he is FINE!).

Motherhood-- ur doin it rite!

Robin Amos Kahn said...

Wow, Annie, the day to day parenting thing is so intense. You described it perfectly and all I can say is, it gets worse and then it gets better. It's the toughest job and the most rewarding, even when you're convinced you're the worst parent in the world (which you're not, because I am.)

And just realizing that the loss of your friend Annie and the fears that raises, is very perceptive.

I was talking to the daughter of our close friends the other day (also Annie) and we were talking about the effects of 9/11 on young people who lived nearby. Her sister said recently, "Ah, it never really affected me. I just have a nightmare about it every week or so..."

We just all do the best we can. We didn't have Wii, but we did have major fights about the computer. I just think you and Charley are great parents and Joe-Henry is so loved and such an amazing boy.

And you really are an excellent photographer.

Lisa L said...

i look back and wish i'd never allowed video games in the house. what was i thinking? matt used to lie there for hours playing those things. chores? schmores! when you're addicted to the games nothing else matters.