Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not One of My Finer Moments

My child, he's awesome. And I mean, like really really awesome. Like other parents would be jealous if they knew how awesome this child is. And I just destroyed his feelings without abandon. I was a total jerk to my awesome kid. And I did it out of complete selfishness. I wanted to do something and he wanted to do something, but we both could not do it at the same time. I pulled rank on him and then when he had a typical childish reaction to it, I compared him to someone that I shouldn't have. And I destroyed his feelings. Wow. That sucks. For both of us.

Boy A has been incredibly helpful, kind and selfless the last couple of days. He selflessly cleaned my bedroom. I didn't ask him to do it, in fact, I'd prefer that he not do it, but he chose to do it because he saw a problem (a huge mess in my own personal space that I am responsible for) and he chose to fix it for me. Without question, without expectation, he did it.

Then today, we were going to take he and Boy B to a basketball game. They were both really excited about it. Boy A even chose to bring along a book to read because he knew that the game gets long for him to sit though. He was responsible, made a good choice, planned ahead, all those things we have been stressing to him.

The wait to get into the game was LONG, and Hubby got tired of waiting, so we went out to lunch instead, which was nice. We had the waiters sing "Happy Birthday" to Boy A and he got a sundae, which he thought was pretty cool.

After lunch, we came home and I took my mom and Boy B back to my mom's place and Hubby and Boy A were on the computer while I was gone. When I got home, I got on the computer to read a couple of blog entries, hoping to write a couple of entries myself, and to watch two shows that I haven't had a chance to view yet. We have televisions in our house, but since we don't have cable, we have four channels, which we don't watch anyhow. Any and all of our television viewing happens online. Mostly our televisions are used for the kids' movies or sometimes a video game.

Anyhow, every two minutes tops, Boy A would come up to me and ask me if I was done yet. After about an hour of this, I was tired of hearing it. Not to say that my reaction was the right one - because it wasn't - but it was my justification for my reaction at the time that it happened.

The first thing that I tried was to let him know that no, I was not done yet, because I had just gotten on. The second thing that I tried was to explain to him that I would let him know when I was done. The third thing that I tried was to explain to him that since the two little ones were napping, and since Boy B was gone, it was a nice, quiet time that I could use to work on things that I wanted to do. I also explained to him that he had already had a chance on the computer and that it was my turn. Then he asked AGAIN. At which point, I was really not happy. I scolded him (probably with more volume and more gusto than necessary - well, not probably - definitely with more of both than necessary) and told him that I got to use the computer because it was MY computer, that I paid for it, that I continue to pay for it by paying for the internet service that we use. And since I have paid for all of that and still do pay for it, I should be able to use it when I want to. Not at all meaning that he had to pay for his ability to use it, just expressing the idea that if I have worked hard to pay for something, I would like to be able to use it as well, right?

He went upstairs and got his bank, and brought it to me. He was crying. He asked if he gave me all of his money if I would let him on to play his game. I got more upset. I told him that he didn't need to pay for it, that I just wanted to be able to use my own computer. I also told him that if he was going to cry over not being able to use the computer that he probably did not need to use the computer in the first place. And I compared him to one of Hubby's friends who is obsessed with gaming - in a very serious, life-limiting way.

He ended up going up and hanging out with Hubby. The two of them had some awesome father/son time playing a game together. And I got to watch my show in peace. But you know what? It wasn't worth it. Watching my show in peace and being able to be on the computer was not worth upsetting my son. It was not worth making him feel insignificant. It was not worth any of it.

When my show was over and he and his dad were done with their game, Boy A came back down to the computer. I was signing out of my stuff. He peeked at the computer. "I'm logging off right now, Buddy." I told him. His reply was, "I wasn't going to ask, Mom. I was just seeing what you were doing." Wow. This kid amazes me. When he acts like a mature young man, it catches me off guard when he acts like, well, a kid. He's nine. He is a kid. Sometimes I just expect too much. Sometimes I expect him to understand things that he shouldn't have to. Sometimes I expect him to be patient and selfless. Sometimes I expect all of that, so that I can be selfish and that isn't right. I learned a lesson tonight. Thank you, Boy A. And once again, I'm sorry. I love you.

*side note* Boy A did get on the computer and had some fun time to play. We also had time to sit and talk and I gave him lots and lots of praise for the things he has done the last couple of days that I am so happy and proud of him for doing. I also let him know that I was wrong. I let him know that we all make mistakes, even grown-ups, even parents, but when we do, the best thing is to admit when we were wrong, ask forgiveness, move on, and try to learn from the mistake by trying not to do it again.


  1. This is a great post. Sometimes it's hard to share these moments with other people, especially people we don't know well. But I think it's great that you posted it, and I bet so many of us can relate. I know I can.

  2. Our kiddos can teach us so much! Thank you for sharing this here. I think we can all benefit so much from honestly sharing our struggles AND joys with each other!

  3. The best part about this post was that you apologized. Not easy for parents to do, but recognizing that you are not perfect is one of the best things you can do for your child. I was 22 when my Dad apoligized to me for the first time. It really did change everything.