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Figuring out my boy

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I have been struggling to blog recently. The biggest reason is because of my own little negative spin on some things… which is really the person I don’t like to display. Another reason is because every time I sit down to blog, it becomes this HUGE, LONG ramble of 100 different topics that I should have blogged individually. I have had a very hard time “organizing” my thoughts into a way that might resemble a good blog post. I think I have a post here that might work. But, hang on to your seat. It could be bumpy.

My son is three. He turns four in April. He is adorable. He is cute. He is babied. He loves to be these things. He enjoys being the baby. I love that he enjoys it (most of the time). He is less independent than his older sister, who had decided by age 3 who she would marry, where they would live, how many kids they would have, and what type of pets they would take care of. Oh, no… not Jake. He is more concerned about which costume he will wear today and what superhero he will pretend to be. He does not like to discuss colors or shapes or letters or numbers. He has no interest in learning about cars or trains. He learns things, but he isn’t interested in these things. He could not care less if we live on Maple Street or Valley Brook Drive. He has no desire to learn our address or phone number. Instead, he tells me about superheroes. He recites to me that Iron Man’s name is Tony Stark, Batman is really Bruce Wayne, Spiderman is Peter Parker, and, well, I’ll spare you all of them. And, yes, I do officially know all superheroes and their “real” names. And their girlfriends, families, and the bad guys they oppose. :) Maybe I will quiz you for a prize at some point. Haha.

Jake takes the time to notice things that I don’t really pay attention to. He tells me every morning about the different colors of the sky. He doesn’t miss a morning. He tells me how beautiful it is… even when it is gray. He tells me his favorite color is “all da cowors.” Truly, his favorite color is red. He wakes up with a stretch and a “good morning” everyday. He usually follows that with a great big hug and then is quiet until he’s ready to talk… which is normally about 30 minutes, conveniently like me. He tells me he likes my makeup when I’m getting ready, even if I don’t have makeup on. He cares that it makes me smile.

My baby is so sweet. I can’t even begin to express the amount of happiness he brings to my life. His cute smile… his sheer excitement over the simple things in the world… his adorable pouty face when he’s sad. I love him as much as any mother could ever love her baby.

Which makes it all that tougher to discipline him. That’s why I think parenting is so tough. Discipline is hard. It isn’t something that I like to have to deal with. It’s the part of parenting that I always dreaded, long before we ever had kids. I guess part of me always knew that I’d be the one that had to be the disciplinarian. My husband, while he has improved greatly in this area and totally has a good bluff going on the kids, just isn’t as good at being mean as I am. Lol. He’s too sweet.

So, I guess that’s what this is really going to be about.

Discipline… and that gray area where I get stuck, wondering if I am doing the right thing.

Jake is stubborn. I love his stubbornness in a lot of ways. However, it makes discipline hard. He would let me beat him (not that I ever would) before he would apologize. I have taken away toys. I have put him in the corner. I have busted his butt. I have put him to bed early. I have put him in timeout.

And, most of the time, he takes his punishment. But I can look in his eyes and know that all he got from it is that he has to be sneakier and better if he wants to get by with something. I know that he isn’t thinking, “I shouldn’t do that again.” I can just tell. He’s plotting how he will get by with it without punishment the next time. I have to admit that I think this is pretty funny. Hilarious, in all actuality… because I can remember feeling that way from time to time, myself. As a parent, though, it is pretty exasperating.

While he can sound like a sneaky little brat (and trust me, he can be), there’s this other side. Kind of part of the sweet side that I described is this other side to Jake that I just don’t know how to deal with when I’m disciplining him. You have heard about scarring your kids for life. Most of the time, I think that is bull crap. Everyone has their hang-ups, perfect parents or not. Yet, I still worry that I’m not dealing with him the “right” way.

There’s this insecure side that comes out. I see it more than any other time when we are playing with other kids. Jake stands back. He watches. He is observant. But, instead of joining in and figuring out how to play or what to do, he bails. And said bailing is always followed by a series of excuses. He’s tired. He’s sweaty. He’s hurt. There’s always a reason that he can’t join. And, always, I know that it’s because he is afraid that he really can’t do it. 

Basketball is a perfect example of this insecurity. We signed him up, because he loves to play basketball when we go to the Y. As a matter of fact, he wanted to play so much that we worked it out with the sports organizer to let him sign up a little early (he doesn’t turn 4 until April) as long as Brad coached. He talked about it a lot. He wanted to play every time we went to the Y. Yet, when it was time to practice, he wasn't so interested. He did decent at the first practice. There were only 4 other kids there. By the second practice, he’d decided that he couldn’t dribble and he couldn’t shoot. He isn’t great, I’ll admit. But, he’s also the smallest and youngest kid on the team, and he honestly did fine. At the second practice, he sat on the side and whined that he wanted to go home for the majority of the practice. Then, came our first game. He went onto the court with the team, decided he was done about 2 minutes into the quarter, and stood on the side until his dad could sub in another player. Brad asked if he was ready to go back in when it was his turn and he refused. Then, in the last quarter, he decided he wanted to play (this was after I gave him a full-out lecture and busted his butt for swatting me away). Brad wouldn’t let him back on the court. He told him that if he couldn’t play when his daddy needed him, then he couldn’t play any other time. Jake cried and apologized. Yet, at practice last night, he ignored everything Brad and Dawn said. He ran in circles on the floor, refused to try to shoot the ball, you name it. We were so pissed at him (and Bailey, too, but that’s another story). He said he didn't want to play. I asked him why. He says, “I can’t dribble. I can’t shoot.”

AH. What do you do with this? I tried to explain that he can’t learn to dribble and shoot if he doesn’t try. This is where the terrible stubbornness comes to play. As much as I argued my side, Jake argued his. We were not going to agree. Period.

So, here we are. I am trying to figure out how to motivate him. I am definitely not able to motivate him by threatening and taking away things. He’s lost toys, been spanked, sat on the side while the other kids played, lectured, yelled at, and reasoned with. Nothing is working.

What do I do? I can't discipline him for not having fun. I mean, basketball is supposed to be fun. That's why we signed him up. Yet, I can't let him get by with thinking that he can just sign up for things and then ignore the people trying to help him, especially when his Dad is one of those people. He NEEDS to listen to him. 

So, I'm in one of those spots these days. Trying to figure out how to deal with a little man who has one of the most unique personalities you can imagine. Maybe he's immature and just not ready for the things that a lot of other kids his age are ready for. Maybe he's just going to decide to do this like everything else, on his own terms. Maybe he just wants me to lose my mind. 

In any case, we will figure out something. And, then we'll look back and laugh about this. :) 

I hope. :)


  1. Tiffany said...:

    As I was reading this, I couldn't help but laugh. Emma is the same exact way. She wanted to sign up for ballet, at the first few practices she did fine. All of a sudden, she hated it. She said she couldn't do all of that. Then it was gymnastics, same thing. I hoestly don't know what to do either. I hate not letting her do different things, but at the same time I don't want her to think she can quit if something gets a little hard. So, don't feel bad, your not the only one going through this!! If you find out something that works, please let me know! Ps she is starting violin lessons next week, hopefully she sticks with this one, I guess we'll have to wait and see!! :)