I've been having a really great week--actually I haven't, I'm being sarcastic. I've actually been having a lot of trouble with my recently-turned-four-year-old boy.
I was expressing my frustration and discouragement to my mother earlier this week after we had had friends over to play and Owen was so crazy it was maddening. As in running around our house yelling and flailing his arms, as in he couldn't not knock down all three other playing pieces whenever he moved his man while playing Candyland.
Then on Tuesday I went to a church-sponsored personal enrichment meeting. One of the women was talking about parenting. I really enjoyed her presentation and was remembering things I had learned in my undergraduate studies.
Then as we were discussing comments and questions, an old woman in attendance who-quite literally- is off her rocker, commented telling about the other day when she was watching some kids (And she said she wouldn't mention names because "you know who you are") and how there was just the sweetest little girl and her brother who were sooo good. They got out toys that they were supposed to play with they played really good, and stayed where they were supposed to and didn't run off like the other little boy who was there and wouldn't stay where he was supposed to.
And they helped pick up all the toys when they were done playing. And the little girl was just the sweetest little girl, because she told me all about the other little boy. "'Don't worry', she said, 'that's how that boy always is,' she said, 'he's never listens in our primary class either.'" And the woman went on and on about how sweet this little girl was, and how you just ask her if you want to know about who the good kids are.
And all the other ladies chuckled and chuckled over the story of the sweet, precocious little girl, and what a good mother she must have (right because it was a comment made after a "parenting" lecture). But I wasn't laughing.
Because the 'other little boy'--the naughty one who is not a good listener-- is mine.
Wednesday afternoons I always take Owen to "3-year-old and up" story time. They encourage the children to go in there alone, so I just send Owen off. I peeked my head in yesterday two times to make sure Owen looked like he was behaving himself (a few weeks ago I noticed him laying on the floor while they were reading a book- so I was checking up on him.) However after story time one of the librarians came up to me and told me that they would like it if I came in with him next week as he's been having a really hard time just sitting up and not banging in to the other kids.
. . . I'm ready to throw in the towel. I really am.
But luckily, thankfully, we have a diversion planned for this next week. We are driving to Michigan to visit my sister and brother-in-law and Owen's cousins. We are all very excited.
Maybe this is was I need: a vacation and a Mommy reboot. We need to get away from everyone else. All those people who I feel are constantly judging me based on the behavior of my child. We need to be around people who love us, people who accept our weaknesses and imperfections. People who understand what "normal" behavior to expect from an energetic young boy.
And I need to do some thinking and some pondering. Obviously something is not working with the way I am parenting my son. But it's ok. Because He's only 4. I won't just give up, because I know we can get better.
The thing is, I had already started making a number of changes in our household over the last few weeks, specifically for the purpose of improving on the current "system" of child-parent, child-tv/computer, and child-self interactions. I know I started these changes for a reason, and I believe that althought this week was a very discouraging one that these changes will begin to improve our lives.
A few of the things I've been/need to consider making changes in are:
Time allotments for tv/computer time
Providing adequate creative play space/opportunity
Family devotional time
Child solo time
Parent/child together time
Not yelling or threatening each other
My own personal free time
Responsiveness to each other as a family
Getting us out of the house more
What works for you? Any thoughts about the way you do things or have seen things done that me help me? Any topics I'm not considering on my list that I should be?
Thanks. Actually to express my thanks I'll leave you with a chuckle (No one likes to be a "downer.")