Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is this why some animals eat their young?

My son is a handful. He's a peculiar, fascinating child that keeps me on my toes, always. Sometimes I wonder if he was sent to me to teach me more about patience, or to shove it back in my face that I thought I had it all together for a little while when he was merely a tubby lump of baby flesh.

Recently, he's gifted me with several grandkids. Before you ponder how the mother of a five-year old finds herself in that situation, I should tell you that these grandkids are numbers that Riley assembled from legos. I believe I am the proud grandmother to multi-colored 1-5. 1 appears to be Riley's favorite. I should have taught him it's not nice to play favorites. 1 goes everywhere with him. It's a matter of concern that these are crappy legos, so 1 occasionally loses a brightly colored foot or a piece of his head, sending his doting father into a rampage.

This is how he rebels when I request a smile.
Riley has been trying to bring his children to visit their great-grandmother during the day when he's at her house. I've unfortunately had to forbid it after it became too hard to wrangle their body parts up for the commute home in the afternoon. But he'll find a way. For as long as we've been transporting Riley to and from Grandma's house, we've been finding things in his backpack, pockets, stashed in the car, etc. that he's attempted to smuggle back and forth.

Last night, as he happily created his "21 Hoppy Place Family" on The Sims (21 indicating that they are, in fact, the 21st family he's made with the name 'Hoppy Place'. There is an entire neighborhood filled with Hoppy Places. Inbreeding. Also, probably 60% of them are named 'Joe'), I realized it was bedtime, and informed him. He was understandably angry- who likes to be torn away from starving simulated families to death?- and as he stormed through the playroom towards the stairs, told me "I am going to take some of these number magnets upstairs." I told him no- we had to remove toys from his bedroom because he hordes them in his bed and ends up sleeping on piles of plastic and metal. He raged against me, and I continued up the stairs and talked to Russell briefly. I glanced over my shoulder to the playroom and noticed that he had formed his beloved blankie into a makeshift satchel, and was smuggling number magnets into it. I watched in silence for several moments and then cleared my throat and said "Sneaky".

Getting caught obviously hadn't entered his mind, and caused a tempermental explosion. He threw the magnets and stomped past me, stopping only to punch my hip, and up the stairs.

Is this the face of someone that may need an exorcist?
I'd be lying if I said that I haven't evaluated his actions a million times in my head, trying to figure out what it says about me as a parent and what it is I'm doing wrong.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not doing anything wrong. He's got an absolutely explosive temper. He's as sly as a fox, and headstrong, and argumentative. He doesn't like to be told what to do. He thinks he's as smart as an adult and will challenge everything we say, and constantly demand to know where we're coming from when we ask him to do something. Maybe these are things that frustrate me when I am attempting to have a smoothly running home, or embarrass me when I compare him to better behaved children, but the fact is that they're not BAD things. He's not a little robot, and for every undesirable response we get from him, he makes up for it with something hilarious or tear-jerking. He writes us little notes- so many that I can't even keep them all- about how much he loves us. He tells us regularly that we're the best parents in the world. He treats his make-believe children with such tenderness and care, reading them books and stealing Zoey's toys to give to them. He constantly compliments us- tells me my dinners are "the best" and tells Russell that he's doing a "great job" filling the pool or mowing the lawn. These are the things that are important. He may not always say 'please' or 'thank you'. He may speak what's on his mind with complete unchecked abandon, but his ability to tap in and express what he's feeling, good or bad, is admirable. It's watching him lovingly assuring his lego children that he'll always take care of them that lets me know I've done something right. We learn how to parent from our own parents, after all.

Thanks Mom : )

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