Supplemental blog: Cold Parenting (brr)


D was angry that I was leaving the school building without him as I was tired of waiting for him to stop screwing around and put his coat on, so I just walked out. It’s 15 degrees. A coat is just not optional in this weather, sorry. He came out of the doorway and stood screaming at me that he hated me and I was stupid and such, but I just kept walking. Eventually he ran to the car and got in when I turned it on. “You just lost TV,” I told him calmly. “Aw, no fair! You’re so mean!” “You’re on your way to losing dessert. You sure you want to keep going?” I asked him. He shut it. We rode home and I talked about how it may be terribly cold but we are starting to see a minute of additional sunlight each day, and we just have to hang in there until the earth catches up with the sun and spring returns and warms us again.

He was already tired, sucking his thumb on the way home, which he only does now when he’s really beat. He was shrieking at me about everything and super whiny. He had to poop. His pants wouldn’t come off, his socks are stupid. He’s cold. He’s STARVING. I whipped together the meal I had planned for tonight – ham fried rice, as quickly as I could, and then he flipped out when he learned I wasn’t serving anything ELSE but the bowls of rice. I told him I’d had enough of the nasty and whining and that the rice was a full, balanced meal, with vegetables, protein and grain and if he didn’t want to eat it, he could be excused but if he wanted to sit there, he had better thank me for making it and start eating. Which he did. And then talked about how good it was and asked to have it for his pack lunch tomorrow, and I said ok.

After dinner, we had to work on homework. He is getting TWO packets now; the regular stuff, which is largely an annoying clumping of page after page of cut-and-glue shit, which we both hate, and then like 6 pages of Common Core math practice. The sitter got started with him on the CC stuff last night, so we decided to finish that. He was tired and cranky and jumping around while I was trying to explain things but we got through the first couple of pages ok. Then there were story problems. One was so complex I wasn’t even sure what they were asking him to solve, and how to make him figure out what they were asking. I really have to act when we do stuff like this because I FUCKING HATE MATH and I don’t want him to hate it, I want him to feel challenged but eventually capable of figuring it out. But Jesus, he’s in KINDERGARTEN for God’s sake. It was basically like the other story problems in the packet, in that they wanted you to think about adding in a pattern. He was barely paying attention and finally got up and threw down the pencil and said I’m not doing this, it’s stupid. I SAT him back down with a plop and said listen kid, you are doing this, and I’m going to help you, and you’re going to get it done and you’re going to understand it. Just because it’s a hard process in getting it doesn’t mean you can’t get it, but you have to sit down and LISTEN to me. I explained to him how to think about it so it made sense. I put out puzzle pieces to show how many were being added to each row, and then how to count FROM the last number (not zero) to the next one, etc. We got through all the math homework. But the regular cut and glue homework packet hadn’t even been cracked. I made him do one page of that, the easiest page, filling in vowels in three-letter words, and then we had to work on his fucking art project that’s due Friday, wherein we had to lay out pictures of him from every year of his life from birth until now (5 total), label them with the year and a caption if we wanted, and then DECORATE the cardboard. He and his Dad got the pictures on there, and a few stickers, but that was it. So I labeled the years and then we captioned the pictures and he drew some stars and smiley faces and bam, we’re done, it ain’t for the Louvre. This is a lot of work for a little kid to do. But he has to get used to it. It’s only going to get worse from here in workload and complexity and I have to prepare him, that’s my job.

THEN he says mom, can I have dessert and TV now? You don’t get TV, I told him, did you forget? Why? he says. Because you were extremely mean to me. You don’t get to say you hate me and all that other garbage and just get away with it. He then proceeded to WHINE and CRY and throw a terrible fit. “But I said I was sorry!” he said. “And I accept your apology and I’m not mad. Now, do you want X or Y for dessert.” ON and ON with the crying, and suddenly completely stone faced he goes, “Mom, you know, I like bedtime story JUST AS MUCH as dessert and TV. REALLY. JUST AS MUCH. I SWEAR.” I tried not to laugh. I told him you can’t trade in bedtime story for those other things, bedtime story is good for your brain and we’re not skipping it. Back to crying. So, so crying, la la and then all of sudden he comes in the kitchen, dead serious face. “Mom,” he says. “I have an idea.” (this ought to be good) “What if you gave me two kind of hard or even really hard chores, and I EARNED BACK dessert and TV.” I complimented him on his negotiating skills and said that was a deal I could take. I’m not completely heartless and besides, this helps me. So he vacuumed the bathroom with the little hand vac and stripped his little bed of the sheets on it so I could change them into fresh ones. This is a win for both of us. And so he earned his TV and dessert.

But he’s right. It’s cold in here. Come back, summer. We miss you.


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