Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Patience Needed

I work in a room of 2-3 year olds. My job requires someone who has a natural amount of flexibility, a willingness to be adaptive and a whole hell of a lot of patience.

What I notice when I get home, is that I expect my almost 6 year old to have somehow learned to be more patient than my 2 year olds whining for more apple juice. (Have I ever not refilled their cup with their second cup of juice or water? No, so I always wonder why they're so worked up over needing more.) Anyway, it's the same as home. Today, after X-man's therapy appointment, he asked to stop at Sweet Indulgence.

We did, and he picked out a red fish cookie. Then we went over to Schnuck's where I filled up on fruits and vegetables and some breakfast essentials. Then we picked up Lily and went home. He was in the back of the car looking at his Shark V. Train library book that I took to read to my students last week. I was bringing in my school stuff, the groceries, the dog from the back of the car in what was at least four trips back and forth to the car.

He was in charge of his bookbag, his book and his iPod (all of which could fit in the book bag). But the little dude also apparently took off his shoes and found a sucker somewhere in the back of the car and ate it, so he had garbage and he started whining that his hands were full.

I ignored it, since I knew it was going to take multiple trips for me to my stuff out of the car. When I got Lily inside, I gave her fresh water, filled her dinner bowl, put a pencil on the kitchen table, put my school stuff by my desk, checked the messages and realized that X-man was still not in the house.

Sigh. I went back into the garage, where he was standing next to his side of the car with the door open looking bewildered. "What are you doing?" I asked going to the other side of the car to start carrying in groceries.

"I can't do EVERYTHING!"

"So take two trips."

And apparently that was the equivalent of me asking him to walk across the United States. The whining commenced...

"Why do I have to take care of all this stuff?"

"Because it belongs to you."

"But I have to do everything!"

"Yes, because YOU are responsible for yourself."

"It's not fair."

"Yes. It is."

"You don't have to do anything!"

"X-man, who washes your stinky clothes?"

"You do."

"Who washes the dishes so you can eat on them?"

"You do."

"Who wakes you up in the morning, feeds you breakfast and makes sure you get to school on time?"

"You do."

"Who signs you up for camps that you want to go to over the summer?"

Sigh. "You do."

"Should we continue?"


He took his bag inside. I'm pretty sure he left his shoes in the car. But at least he threw away his candy wrappers. He sat down and did his homework. Then we went over 55 sight words. He, for some reason, keeps forgetting here and good, which is funny because they're two words he had down pat last summer during our Dick and Jane love fest.

I guess what I wonder is if I'm so impatient with him because he's my kid. Or is it because I exercised a lot of patience with 13 smaller children today, so that I don't have any left when I get home. Or is it because it was 3:15 p.m. and I had some kind of sinus headache going on since about 8 a.m. this morning?

Either way, every conversation at transitions with him has always been some kind of arm wrestling fight, and it pushes my buttons in a nasty, nasty way.

1 comment:

The Fearless Freak said...

I don't know if it helps but we have a similar conversation around here. Except with less whining, since I won't talk to people that whine. They simply don't exist in my universe and never have. Instead, we get dramatic foot stomping, arm waving and tears accompanied by pronouncements of "I don't know why you expect me to do EVERYTHING around here"! (Can you tell my kids are destined for stage or screen? :) )

Usually they get told to cut it out and get on it, but sometimes, I'll point out all the things they DON'T have to do, like you did, which only sometimes works. My kids are big enough that I could conceivably go "on strike" and make the stuff I do more concrete but I'm pretty sure it would only really impact one of them and she isn't the one that needs the reminder. He wouldn't care if he ate off dirty dishes (or right out of the pan) or wore stinky clothes or had to wade through foot deep dirt to get through the kitchen.