Day 5 - Kid Challenges


Douglas managed to get himself a day with no play today, which was sad for all concerned. He apparently had a good day at school, but only a little time on the playground and very little 'choice time' in class which equates to free play. After he came home and we said goodbye to my dear friends S and C who were in town visiting, he sat down to do his homework. I wasn't in the mood to stand over him and beg/coax, so Michael set him up and we left him to it. His reading is so good that I don't have to do anything other than read the list from the teacher and point out the appropriate worksheets. He reads the directions and does it himself. He could do the rest too, but I figure I can manage that much :).

He sat and dawdled, muttered, got distracted, wandered, did work on one page he didn't have to, and stared off into space .... for almost 3 hours. He was periodically reminded to get back to work, but he took that long and still didn't finish writing his sentences. It was enough work that if he'd paid attention to it, he could have finished in about 45 minutes. I still think that's *a lot* for kindergarten, but he takes it to an extreme. Gets it from his parents I guess, has to do it differently. Coloring in 6 balloons becomes an exercise in creativity with different colors and patterns and swirls. He always asks to do extra drawings, coloring things he doesn't have to, etc. He doesn't visibly dislike any of it, but gravitates to any that allow free expression of any sort. He doesn't really like writing out words of the week, or practicing letters.

Then it was time to stop for supper. It was spaghetti and meatballs, and he LOVES the meatballs and really doesn't like spaghetti, though it no longer causes violent gagging for which I'm eternally grateful. He inhaled the meatballs in about 3 minutes, sucking large amounts of air along with it as they were really too hot to eat. Then the sauce and 1/4 cup of spaghetti took ... 1 and a half hours. 90 minutes. Of the same ridiculous dawdling, complaining, fussing, whining, and so on. He ended up having to finish in silence, and I suspect M pitched in on the last bite or two. When I told him there was no play time and he had to go to bed, he of course burst into tears.

A brutal day for a 5 year old, but I was SO tired of nagging I wanted to leave it to him to see what it was like to really waste his time. And I think the point was made ... at least for a day or two ... we'll see.

As for his brother ... nothing stunning today per se, but the realization has been getting stronger in the last few days that he's going to be an even bigger challenge that D. He's typical in that he does anything for attention/reaction, no matter whether it's positive or negative. He, however, is to the point where he knows *exactly* what he's doing, and will gleefully and excitedly do exactly what he's been told not to, turn and grin at you to see the reaction, and if you don't get to him fast enough, will turn and do it again with a laugh. Pinching his brother while he's doing homework (usually in his underwear, so lots of options there ... what's with the never wanting to wear clothes?) is a recent favorite, and of course the reaction from D is enough to get him really going. Trying to tell D that the reaction is exactly what he's looking for (a loud yelp, anger, etc.) doesn't really help him change his behavior. He remembers for the next 30 seconds and then goes back to yelping. Fynn just does NOT care. If you tell him to apologize he'll go give a hug (meaning head-butt) and kiss, and then pretend to be demure for about 12 seconds before getting the implement of choice (read: fly swatter, pen, spoon, pincer-fingers, car, musical instrument, you name it ...) and going back to beating or poking. Day before yesterday I was sneaking a nap in D's bed while M had them busy in the kitchen for a few minutes, and he escaped, came in and found me, and woke me up by jamming a small square wooden block in my eye socket as hard as he could. Needless to say he got a reaction from me that time.

I try to give him a quick, quiet, firm reminder, move/remove the offensive object, and turn my attention away. So far it seems to be utterly ineffective. I'm not giving up yet though. We've almost won the "don't eat the cat food and play in his water" battle, or at least I pretend so and don't move it nearly so often, so perhaps there's hope? These phases seem so incredibly long and hideous and frustrating at times, and then again the months seem so horrendously short and wasted and I can't believe he's already 16 months. Yes. I know. But it's still true and a matter of perspective, is it not? I seem to have misplaced my rose-colored glasses today.