Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a duck"

That saying hangs in my kitchen.

Hopefully my children don't take offense. But it is sometimes true.

Never in a million years did I think this parenting gig would be so hard. When you're pregnant, all the focus is on you and your little bundle to be. "Oh!!!! Babies are so wonderful!!!!" "Oh!!!! Cherish every moment!!!!" "Oh!!!! They grow up so fast!!!"

Then you pop the kid out, and *POOF* - all those people VANISH. I secretly think they're hiding in my bushes whispering, "He-he... sucker."

Just for the record - I love my kids more than life itself. But they challenge me in ways I never knew possible. For instance, I pride myself on listening to that inner voice of mine - that gut feeling. Usually, when I'm about to make a decision, my gut knows it... my head just has to get on board. Parenting? Sometimes the only feeling in my gut is nausea. I don't have a clue what to do.

Take this little incident today. My son, who I'm sure has a higher IQ than I do and can last impressively long in a verbal war, announced that he no longer wanted to attend the school he is at, and if I would not remove him from said school he was going to flunk out on his own. He iced this cake by refusing to do his math homework for the day.

Many of you might have ideas as to what I should have done, but since you weren't here at 5:00 this evening, I'll tell you what I did.

I made him sit in a chair in the middle of the kitchen while I helped my other son with his homework. After that, I opened my laptop and addressed an email to his math teacher. I turned the computer toward him and said, "If you're not going to do your math homework, it's your responsibility to email your math teacher to let him know and to give him your reason."

Undeterred, he did just that. Ten minutes later, a very confused math teacher called my house and I privately told him the story. I hung up the phone and started making dinner. My son, curious, finally asked, "What did he say?" to which I merely replied, "He said you'll have to face the consequences," and turned back to cooking.

I said nothing else for thirty minutes.

My son sat eating in silence, then said, without looking up, "Fine. I'll do the math."

I didn't respond. There was nothing else to say.

This is just one of many challenges that I face - and we all face - daily with our children. And though I don't know if I handled this correctly or not, the one thing I did was remain calm. Please note that this is not always the case. But for some reason, his ludicrous announcement made me realize that he was almost begging me to be the quiet voice of reason - to help him renege on his decision without losing face.

And though right now I do feel like I've been pecked to death by a duck, I think that seeing the benefits of me staying calm will maybe make the next incident (and there will be one) like water off a duck's back.

4 comments:

  1. I can very much see him doing that :) I am impressed at how you outwitted him (not an easy task, I'm sure) Perhaps you could get a job as a war strategist with the Pentagon.

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  2. Kudos to you!! I rely heavily on my husband for the 'quiet voice of reason' as my hoarse voice is usually nursing hot tea and lozenges by the time he arrives home sometime after 6.

    -signed..another pecked-to-death Duck..
    (sahm)

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  3. Brilliant, actually. He's still pretty young to be given his own consequences, but it is true. A lot of parents seem to take on their child's tasks because "it has to be done." No. It doesn't "have to" - and when a kid realizes that he chooses to make it happen or chooses to fail, it is a major lesson that will help shape him further into the adult that he will become.

    It's encouraging to read your struggles and triumphs, Amy. These battles are just beginning with my 7-year old daughter sometimes. I've already learned that when I tell her what to do, how to do it, she rebels with an attitude.

    Good job keeping calm. My former counselor told me once, "When you feel like yelling, whisper." Takes a lot of practice and patience to do so.

    And it's reassuring that all of us victims-of-ducks can stick together.

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  4. Amy,

    You see parenting is just like a "walk in the park"...a park lined with snipers and the occassional land mine! Brings back so many memories, some good and some not so pleasant...Great Job!

    Steve

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