Originality vs Stubbornness

Before I start, SAJ is in labor ... woohoo! Waiting for news :)

I realized this weekend that I have a true dilemma in raising my son. I've suspected it for a long time, but things crystalized this weekend for some reason. It's about DOV's desire, apparent for a long time, to do everything HIS way. I've been attributing it to stubbornness, which he comes by very honestly from both sides of the family, but it's not just that. It's not just doing it HIS way, it's doing it *differently* than expected. By me or by anyone else. He has to be a frigging original in everything. It came into focus on Sunday afternoon for me. I'd finally ventured out with him (michael worked ALL weekend, holiday and all, such fun) in the 20-something degree cold, and walked to the local value-mart-almost-dollar-store to see if they had any workbooks. He's sounding out words and it seemed like a good time. I found 2, one letters and one phonics, both for .99 of course. We took them home, and after playing with the clay set (also .99 and half dried out already :) we opened the letters book. It's typical, one page per letter with a little exercise like "circle all the apples that have a big or little A on them" kind of thing. When I read the directions and told him to trace the letters first, then circle the apples, he started to trace *around* the letters, perfectly outlining them. That may have been a misunderstanding, as I don't think he's been told what trace means, so when I explained, he scribbled over the lines instead. I showed him how to do one, and the next 2 were perfect. Then he was off scribbling again. All typical, yes.

Then we get to writing his name on the line at the top. You know, the 2.5 inch line where he's supposed to fill in his name. He writes the D, carefully making it fit in the space. Then the "O", elongating it gleefully to fit the whole rest of the line. When I asked where he was going to put the rest of the letters now that he'd filled in the line, he said "inside the O" and proceeded to fit the rest of the letters, in miniscule form, into the O. It finally hit me then (there are countless other examples, that one just hit me) that it's NOT just about doing it the way I tell him (or preferrably not) he has to do it some Other way. A New way. I know it's a fine line, but I do believe it's there. He can't accept that there's one right way to write the word, he wants to be different.

I have the first parent/teacher conference in a few weeks, and though it's just preschool I still hope to find out a bit about how he interacts and behaves there. Maybe it will shed some light on whether it's just me he does it to, weighting it on the stubborn end of things, or whether it's to everyone else. I know he does it to Michael a lot too. His grandfather commented last night, when i mentioned it, that it certainly runs in the family as he was doing things like that in 2nd grade and on ... finding different ways to write his name, etc. just to be different.