Tag Archives: kid

Inked

My mother called me over the weekend before the clock even hit 9 am.

“Are you at home right now?” she asked.

“I am.”

“What time are you going to take the kids over to their dad’s house?” she asked.

“Around 2,” I told her.

“Oh. That’s too late. Nevermind.”

She was being awfully cryptic, which of course got my curiosity up.

“Why? What’s going on?”

“Well…..” She asked me if I remembered the Ninja Star that the Taz had been coloring at her house. Of course I remembered. He had colored it pure black and told me how all he had to do was throw it and it would whip through the air slicing anything in its way. I suggested that he not throw it in the kitchen, at least.

“I remember. Why?” I asked her.

“Well, apparently he was coloring it in my living room…”

Crap.

“Where?” I asked her, almost afraid for her to continue.

“On my couch. With permanent black ink.”

“We’ll be right over,” I told her. I was still wearing my robe and slippers. I hadn’t brushed my hair or teeth yet that morning. I looked pretty scary as I marched outside to go find the Taz. He was not out at the basketball courts in our complex like he said he was going to be, and his friends who were already playing out there said they hadn’t seen him yet. So I tried my luck over at one of his friend’s house. The Taz opened the door.

“You’re coming home. And you’re in trouble,” I told him, not even beating around the bush.

“Mom, I tried to call you to tell you I was at Todd’s house!” he protested.

“That’s not why you’re in trouble.” He followed me home, asking me over and over what he did.

“But it wasn’t me!” he said, once I told him of his crime. I saw red. I laid into him as we walked home, fully aware that the neighbors were probably hearing every single word I was saying to my son. I didn’t care. Now I was not only furious about the ruined Ethan Allen couch that sat in my parents’ living room, I was furious that he had the audacity to LIE to me. The next door neighbor sat on her front porch, smiling and waving at me as we walked up the walkway. Without breaking my tirade against my son, I smiled and waved at her. It was only seconds later when I realized how ridiculous I must have looked as I lectured my son and still kept up appearances, somewhat, to the neighbor – all while still sporting my robe, fuzzy slippers, and wild hair.

We got dressed and went over to my parents’ house. My son sat miserably in the back seat, occasionally letting out a sniffle. If there was anything scarier than his mom (and lately, I think I’ve lost the scariness factor…), it was his grandparents.

“They’re going to kill me,” he sobbed, finally admitting fault about the marked up couch.

“You’re right,” I told him. “And this time, don’t even look to me to protect you. You’re on your own, buddy.” It brought back memories of the golf ball through the window. I had felt it my duty to take the brunt of the punishment of my father’s anger before it was passed down to him. But this time? No. It was all on the Taz.

We got to my parents’ house, and my dad greeted us with a smile, obviously trying to lighten the situation. My son slunk out of the car and faced my dad, much like walking the long pathway to his executioner. My dad led him into the house and called my mom. Together they went over the various things that the Taz had done just this past week. He had left the gate open so that the horse was able to get out and potentially stomp all over my dad’s newly landscaped backyard. He had missed the toilet and peed all over the floor. And now my mom’s couch held numerous black marks that might never come out.

It came time to talk about correcting this situation. My parents looked to me, the hopelessness in their eyes. They had been growing increasingly frustrated over the past year as the Taz messed up at their house. He had been eating their leftovers planned for dinner after school. He had been eating food in the living room. The house was growing messier and messier because he wasn’t picking things up. He was going to his friends’ houses and not coming back when he was supposed to.

“Maybe he needs to go back to daycare,” my mom said. “I’ll even pay for it if I need to.”

“No, Mom,” I said. I couldn’t let him go back to daycare. His teachers there had been wonderful. But the Taz was a handful there too. I was constantly being called in because of something the Taz had done – breaking the pencil sharpener, experimenting with potty language, not following direction, doing gymnastics during circle time… With a bunch of kids as his audience, the Taz’s behavior would only get worse. “But he can’t come over here anymore. I’m probably just going to have to take him to work with me and let him sit and be bored for the last 2 hours,” I said. It was the only option. At my parents’ house, he had too much unsupervised time. My dad was there, but he was working. And the Taz’s ideas for self-entertaining were just not working. I turned to the Taz.

“And your Xbox is gone, again.” He shrugged his shoulders.

“That’s ok. At least I have my friends,” he said. Seriously? I mean, seriously? The kid was under scrutiny right now, and actually had the audacity to brush off his punishment?

“Well, they’re gone too. Is there anything else you’d like to mention that ‘at least you have’?” I asked him, daring him to speak.

“I’m thinking…” he said. I think smoke may have been coming out of my ears at this point. “Nah, I have nothing.”

“Taz, aren’t you tired of getting your things taken away from you?” my mom asked.

“Well, I’m kind of used to it,” he said. “I get my things taken away from me all the time.”

And it’s true. The Taz screws up. And then he opens his mouth and denies it. And then we argue about it while he shifts the blame on everything and everyone around him. And by the end I am so mad that I have taken away his video games first, then his friends, and then, if he continues, anything else that is within eyesight that he cares about. He’ll then be on his best behavior for a couple weeks or so until he has earned everything back. And then, the cycle starts up again. It’s never ending.

It reminds me of my childhood. When I was a teenager, I was a punk, straight up. And because I symbolically stuck my middle finger up at my parents by blatantly disrespecting them in all things I did, I constantly had things taken away from me. First to go was always the car. Then it was time taken from being with my friends or my boyfriend. Phone use was taken away, as was my stereo. Little by little, all my belongings were taken out of my room and stashed away until I had learned to talk a little more respectfully and had done my time for whatever infraction I had committed. Thing is, I got in trouble so much that I stopped caring, and pretty much acted like I could do what I want. If my parents took the car away, and everything that came after that, it stopped phasing me. And it definitely didn’t improve my attitude.

And now, I am having this same battle with my 9 year old son, struggling to reach him as he makes himself unreachable. And if he is acting like this now, what is it going to look like when he is a teenager? If he has a constant need to break rules as if he’s forgotten them, lie and blameshift when he gets caught, backtalk when the conversation isn’t going his way, and then get in a power struggle with me as I try to correct the situation and he acts like he doesn’t care, how horrendous will it be several years from now?

I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried talking to him, getting down to his level and allowing both of us to talk about our feelings in this situation. I’ve tried the silent treatment, limiting my conversations with him to one or two words, telling him I cannot speak with him until I have cooled down considerably (and sometimes taking days because it has set me over the limit). And of course, I’ve been mainly resorting to taking away his possessions.

Nothing’s working.

The only answer I have left is constant supervision. Obviously I have to be the Taz’s shadow. If it’s attention he wants, well, he’s going to get it. When he isn’t in school, he will be at my side. Truth is, he does better when he is under my thumb. So I will be taking the extra measures to make sure that this is what happens. I might be losing my freedom in a big way, but the behavior issues need to be addressed and put to a halt before they get any worse.

I’m not going to lie, though. This bites. Totally open for suggestions…

Advertisements

Like a Hole in the Mouth

My daughter stayed home with me today. This morning she was sitting in the dentist chair, the same dentist chair she sat in 8 years ago for the same procedure, getting two stubborn baby teeth pulled so that her already descended adult teeth could be brought down where they are supposed to be. Right now those adult teeth are reminiscent of vampire fangs. We may not need a Halloween costume for her this year…. I tried to get a picture, but she ran away faster than I could say, “But it’s for my blog!”

On the way home she was in a good mood even with new gaps in her mouth and the gauze preventing her from talking. She kept trying to, despite the fact that she was as easy to understand as my parents’ dog Zoe who seems to think that we understand her perfectly as she growls happy hellos at us and pushes us over with a nuzzle. After several garbled attempts (“How do you feel?” “gerbdgd.” “What?” “nrt gerbdgd.” “Huh?”). My daughter finally gave up talking and resorted to writing to be able to converse with me.

“Do you feel ok?”

I will when my lip wakes up.

“Did it hurt?”

Felt like a small pinch.

“How about the shot? Did that hurt”

She pointed to Felt like a small pinch.

“Hmmm…. Wonder what we should have to eat since you can only eat soft foods. Do you think you’ll want to eat lunch?”

I will once the numbness leaves.

We kept driving and were quiet for awhile before she started writing again.

Is it possible that my face won’t wake up?

Her lip was still fat and she couldn’t smile very well. She couldn’t even flare her nostrils she said, though it sounded more like, “ah ca eva thlar ma nathras”.

“It’s possible. Your face could remain droopy forever and you’ll never flare your nostrils again.”

SERIOUSLY!!!

“We may have to give you gummy food forever.”

She pointed to SERIOUSLY!!!

“No, the anesthetic is to too weak to stay permanently. You should be able to feel your lips in about an hour.”

We got home and I set myself up on the computer while she caught up on Facebook homework. We ate lunch – tomato basil soup with melted cheese. (“Would a grilled cheese sandwich dipped in the soup be too hard?” “Yes. Well, unless you chew it up first and then give it to me.” “You’re really disgusting, you know that, right?”) Then, when we were done with all that, we watched the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen (does Dave understand that he is potentially ruining all chances of cooking again if he does not quit now and nurse his arm back to health? Seriously!!!), and then a good old fashioned chick flick – Confessions of a Shopaholic. Despite her achiness, she remained in a pretty good mood. And it was cool to hang out, just the girls.

When my son’s school let out, we both went to go pick him up and then drove over to Starbucks for Frappuccinos and iced coffee to celebrate my daughter’s gaping holes in her mouth. (My son lamented how he was last to be picked for the football game at recess even though he can throw a perfect spiral. As I struggled with how to console him, the barista interjected, “I’m sorry, but it’s because you’re so dang cute. It’s true, that’s why you were picked last.” “That sounds about right,” I said as my 8 year old grinned into his drink. Thank you, Starbucks Barista.) The kids took turns grossing each other out, my daughter winning by default due entirely to her brand new gross out feature in her gums.

Tonight is the first night in a long time that we have nothing going on. There is no soccer practice or game, no meeting, nothing. Homework was finished before 4 pm. My son is able to play with his friends while it’s still daylight. We will actually have a real sit-down dinner – well, mushy stuff for my daughter (any ideas?). And rather than running from one place to another, we’ll actually be able to hang out as a family before settling in for bed. And while having my daughter’s teeth extracted wasn’t exactly her favorite thing she’s done all year, it gave us the excuse just to slow down and relax. I love days like this. It might not be a bad idea to plan a couple of them just because, and not because someone is having teeth ripped out of their mouth.

—-

The contest is still on…..for now.  CLICK HERE for details.  Hurry, contest ends Tuesday, October 13th!

Tooth Pains

My daughter’s first dentist appointment included X-Rays of her teeth, and a positive affirmation that she indeed had an abscessed tooth that needed to come out. She was 3 years old. We had spent the day at the Bennett Valley Fire Station for their annual pancake breakfast. One of her childhood friends, a solid and energetic boy who was destined for success in football in later years, was holding her hand as they ran. My daughter, the more precarious of the two, slowed them up. But he was faster and more nimble, and kept going down the rocky driveway. As a result, my daughter took a tumble and landed right on her two front teeth, filling her mouth with blood. The dentist had told us to watch those teeth, and that if a white pimple-like bump appeared above the tooth, to bring her in immediately.  It did, and here we were, my tiny baby girl sitting so bravely in the dentist chair as some man she had never met before tinkered with her mouth. But this had been my dentist since childhood. My parents were friends with him. And I had even babysat his kids as a teen. So there was really no question about who I would trust to treat my daughter’s teeth.

An abscessed tooth is caused by several different things. Obviously, my daughter’s was caused by trauma. The trauma caused an opening to the tooth enamel, leaving room for bacteria to enter and infect the center of the tooth. If untreated, the infection can spread to the bones supporting the tooth.  Basically, the tooth needed to come out. So at 3 years old, my daughter got to experience her first visit to the dentist with a tooth extraction. But this dentist was so kind and gentle, my little girl sat there with her mouth wide open and trusted him to take the tooth right out of her mouth. Of course, the laughing gas and local anesthetic helped in a major way…..

For an extracted tooth, the Tooth Fairy paid up well, leaving her two gold coins, a little notebook, and some smelly pens. And for 3 years my daughter walked around with her adorable jack-o-lantern smile. Whenever classes did silly ice breaker games that involved asking who lost a tooth first, she always won. And when she lost the other tooth, my daughter’s toothless smile became irresistible.

Eventually the tooth did come in. And more teeth fell out and then grew back in. But two stubborn teeth refused to fall out, even though their predecessors were on their way in. The adult eye teeth came in over the baby teeth like vampire fangs. We originally thought that she had two pairs of eye teeth, not realizing that the baby teeth hadn’t fallen out yet. We figured that we would just get the upper teeth pulled when they came in more, and that would be that. But a trip to the dentist proved that the baby teeth were in fact there, and it would be those lower teeth that would have to be pulled out before the adult teeth could be moved into place. And he talked to us about Orthodontics. We set up the first of many appointments, and next Monday my 11 year old baby girl will be getting a mouth full of metal.

The thing that kills me is that, with exception to the wild eye teeth, my daughter’s bite is PERFECT. Not like mine as a kid, my teeth were awful with a gap in the middle PLUS the fangs, and snaggleteeth everywhere. My 8 year old son has teeth worse than mine ever were, and will be helping to fund our dentist’s retirement. But my daughter? If it weren’t for those two teeth she wouldn’t even need braces at all. As it is, she will only need to wear them for 12 – 18 months. All to the tune of several thousand dollars.

Yay me.

Guiding our Children Positively

Call it sassiness, adolescence, or plain old Back to School backtalk, but my 8 year old is suffering from it. And this means that our whole household is suffering from it. Last night was a prime example. We’ve been working on implementing the rules for a successful back to school schedule: packing up the backpack the night before, preparing most of the lunches, and being dressed for bed before bedtime so that a little bit of downtime is allowed. But each direction I gave was met with a complaint, a whine, a cry, or a “You’ve got to be kidding me!” The last straw was when he had to get a lunchbag down to put his lunch in. Upon trying to reach the top shelf and failing, he uttered, “Are you trying to humiliate me?!?”

Kids.

He claimed I didn’t care about him. To that I told him that I felt he didn’t care about me. It all went downhill from there. Argument after argument ensued until finally it was all done. By the time it was finished, it was bedtime. There would be no time for downtime. And he had a fit over it. I was exhausted, he was angry, it was all a bad combination. I put both kids to bed with a hug and kiss, though it wasn’t as endearing as usual. Upon closing the door, he called out, “I love you!” I said it back, and went back downstairs with feelings of guilt over how the night had played out.

The best way to guide a child is with love. Not with yelling, not with frustration, not with anything but love. They respond to it, things go more smoothly, and real lessons are taught that they soak up and remember. A hug telling them that you understand how hard things are with so many new responsibilities. Helping them when they get so overwhelmed they can’t see straight. Encouragement that they can accomplish anything. Telling them how proud you are of them when they succeed.

I got caught up in the moment. I did not do any of that. I was so frustrated I couldn’t get past the stress I was feeling over the frustration of the night. I failed to stop and think about the stress my 8 year old son was feeling, and how he really could have used an encouraging word. As the adult, it was much easier for me to turn the situation around than it was for him.

In times of stress, stop and take a deep breath. Pause before you say anything. Ask yourself, what am I teaching my child with this behavior. And then implement the kind of behavior you want mirrored back to you. Yelling never creates peace. As parents, it is our job to control the environment in our households. It’s not easy, it never is. And as humans, we’ll slip up time and again. But if we work at it, we can create more peaceful households, which can have the potential to create a more peaceful world.