"Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude..."

Friday, July 8, 2016

I think I mentioned yesterday that our worst days are our non-busy days and yesterday was definitely a non-busy day. It kicked off with a crazy storm that rolled through yesterday morning which led to swimming lessons being cancelled. After getting everything pulled together, running out the door, and then turning around mid journey, I had a hunch things weren't going to go very well. 

McKinley was whiny most of the morning after, complaining that he really wanted to go swimming, and one thing I truly can't stand is whining! I tried explaining that even though the storm had seemed to pass, and that rain was out of the forecast, there had to be a good reason as to why they decided to cancel swimming. I turned his attention to playing for a bit before working in his Kindergarten activity book, something he actually likes to do. After a very successful activity session, I rewarded him with videos while I took a shower. McKinley is obsessed with three things on You Tube; The Axel Show, TwentyTrucks, and this Spiderman video that sings all the nursery rhymes while Spiderman apparently saves the city. I have to admit, it's one of the MOST annoying videos I've ever watched, but I do love listening to him sing the nursery rhymes around the house days later.  

Post shower, it was later than I expected, and we still hadn't had lunch. I suggested that we maybe grab chicken nuggets and head to Meme's before his dance class. McKinley calmly stated that he hadn't really thought of that for today, but instead wanted to have McDonald's on Friday as it was a special day. When I asked why this was a special day, he stated it was the last day of swimming lessons. A fair request. So, as I finished getting dressed, I suggested that since it was so late, how about lunch at home, then dance class, and then heading to Meme's after that. In his most dramatic fashion, he fell backwards on his bed and ignored me. After getting all the laundry together, I made the same suggestion again. This time it was met with yet another dramatic gesture, a grumble, and a very stern response that stated had I listened to him the first time, I would have heard his idea.

Now, there was no idea uttered the first time, or I would have entertained it. And I mentioned that to him, in a very stern mom voice. I could feel the anger making it's way up my spine, creeping into my neck, and coming out of my mouth. And when that happens, I raise my voice. So as I'm looking at this five year old, who just rudely told me I wasn't listening to something that never came out of his mouth, I made all the decisions from there. Lunch would take place at our house, we would go to dance afterward, and no trip to Meme and Granddaddy's. Well that did it. The waterworks started, crying as though I had ripped his arm off, and then he says "You are so mean." That's right! I'm mean! And because I'm mean, I took the Kindle out of his hands, and took away videos for the rest of the day. Call me mean and I will make it happen!

But then I start to feel guilty. I feel guilty for raising my voice. For taking his reward away after such a great time working in his activity book. And for taking time away from my parents, who he much rather live with....as he's told me time and time again! And sometimes I find myself giving in hours later because I feel guilty. But, lately, I've found that I'm really sticking to my guns so that he knows I mean business. I can't be liked all the time, right? I'm the mom. If he's liking me all the time, I'm not doing my job, right? Am I right?

I don't read parenting magazines or books. My parenting philosophy is that no one had parenting books 20 years ago. Or 30 years ago. And my parents certainly didn't read parenting materials. They just parented. And that's what I'm trying to do. I'm probably doing it all wrong, but I'm just doing what I think is right. I do use timeout, but I won't do the counting to three method. You get one warning. After that, it's over and timeout starts. I do raise my voice because I think McKinley needs to know when I'm angry. I don't yell often, or hardly ever, so when I do I know he knows I mean it. At times, when I'm really angry, I walk away to compose myself because I know I've reached my limit. My mom often tells me that her own mom would have whipped her and her sister at least five times already so I don't really feel all that bad about raising my voice. 

I realize what's going on, at times. He's growing up. He's stretching his wings. Testing his boundaries. Testing my patience! And that all comes with getting older. However, he's only five (not eleven like he thinks) and if I don't start tough disciplining now, how can I expect him to obey the rules when he is eleven? I don't want to be the mom who rides him day in and day out, but I also don't want to be the mom who he thinks he can walk all over. There is such a fine line here. And I'm trying to find a way to balance it.

As Scarlett O'Hara would say, "tomorrow is another day." The last day of swimming lessons where apparently chicken nuggets are the best reward. A day of play in the afternoon. And a night away from me as we have a date night and he's having a sleepover with my parents. As for this particular day, all was forgotten by mid afternoon. An apology was provided by McKinley, unprompted. We shared a box of Fruit Loops while he laid in my lap and watched Brother vs Brother, and eventually that guilty feeling subsided. I know it will make it's way back. This won't be our last bad day, but I think with our change in attitude, we will get through it. 


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