Parenting – no place for wimps

Yesterday for dinner I made some delightfully indulgent bacon cheeseburgers, and fried up some potatoes and onions in my never-ending quest to get my kid to like potatoes. He whined that he wanted me to make them that “other way,” the way he likes them, but I had no idea what he was talking about, because he has NEVER LIKED ANY WAY THAT I PREPARE THEM, EVER. He doesn’t even like homemade french fries. It’s like he’s not even Greek and Irish, for God’s sake. What’s wrong with him? I will keep feeding them to him. We also had some homemade pickles to go with, and a cucumber salad, because it’s like national cucumber week or something in my home, I guess. I didn’t have any other fresh veg and payday isn’t until Tuesday so ya eats what we gots.

The kid ate an entire, adult-sized, quarter pound hamburger, the offending several bites of potato I made him eat, a huge pickle and all the cucumbers that were left, and like an entire cup of applesauce. I made applesauce about a week ago and I’ve been pushing that all week. I finally realized that blending it when it’s done will make it smooth the way he likes it, and he’s more likely to eat it if it is smooth. Then an ice cream sandwich, then he said he was still hungry. He’s FIVE. Oy, what will I do when he gets older and eats more?

We had to finish his weekly homework last night, as it was due this morning. Honestly, some of this is just excruciating because when he is tired, he really, really has trouble focusing and concentrating on doing work, even fun work like the K homework, and he either clowns and dances and plays with stuff or whines and is crabby. I get it. That’s pretty much how I felt about homework my entire school life. But it has to get done. It’s hard not to take the shortcut and be all, look, don’t bother looking around the apartment for a half hour, you’re taller than the laundry basket, shorter than the string of Halloween lights, and the same height as the fridge door. But I try to be patient. Then he had to draw each thing he identified, and label it, with his pencil jammed into the paper and his backwards E. By the time he was done with All The Eating and All The Homework, it was time to get into pajamas. I let him watch like 20 minutes of TV while he dawdled and played and got into PJs, then the struggle of getting him to stand still when he is so tired that he’s hyper, so I can brush and floss his teeth. THEN he wanted to read practice words out of the Richard Scarry book as his nighttime story. We’re supposed to read to our children every night, but he generally doesn’t like being read to. He likes things that are interactive. He likes to look at pictures on the page and make up elements of the story. He doesn’t want to just lay there and have you read to him. And if he wants to practice reading words, I’m not going to say no to that. I pushed him a little bit last night and he was able to actually read the word “glasses,” which I think is pretty awesome. He understands how it works, it’s just getting all the peculiarities and weird pronunciation things about the English language that will take him some time to master, so for now, he’s good. He asked how he’s supposed to remember when O sounds like this or O sounds like that and I said honestly, you will just eventually memorize it. He asked what that meant and I said it’s like the conversation we worked on for him to tell the librarian about the book he got out last week: “I didn’t like the crow book. It repeated things too much and I didn’t like that there was a gun in it. Can you pick a different book for me?” I said it and he repeated it back again and again until he could say it whenever I prompted him. Learning his lines, that one. And it worked, sort of. Last night he came home with the new library book, which is an ABC book about Alaska. It had the word “qiviut” in it, which I had to look up on an online dictionary. Really? Qiviut? Well played, librarian. But now my kid knows what qiviut means and probably nobody else does, so WE WIN.

It all took so long and was so tiring, I forgot about the rotating books that came home that had to be returned today, and were required reading for the night along with the homework and everything else we did. Oy. So I went in and flipped his light back on – it had only been off a few seconds, and we quickly went over those. It’s exhausting going to school ALL OVER AGAIN via my kid. I seriously cannot remember my Mom doing all this stuff with me. But then again, I can’t remember what happened a couple of weeks ago, so maybe she did and I just don’t remember. But I have a feeling she would have just blown off the rotating book thing and deemed it too much work and too much of a pain in the ass. Which it was, but it’s what we’re supposed to do, and I want to teach him that we do what we’re supposed to, not that we do as much as we feel like doing and then stop (which is largely how I approached my schoolwork), even if there is more that needs to be done. So this approach hard on both of us, but for different reasons.

Tomorrow morning is his swim lesson, then home for heavy snack or early lunch, then he’s off with his Dad to spend the night at his aunt’s. I am hoping for some hiking time in the woods, and maybe cooking a meal just for myself, and watching a shitload of TV. All the Robin Williams movies I requested from the library are in, and I may have a little movie marathon. Sunday, we are going to my hometown to an orchard to load up on apples, cider, and our favorite apple doughnuts. This is a good start to fall.

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