My oldest, who’s currently ten, is a tween and going through quite a bought of attitude. It’s so bad, that even correcting the most minor of incidents incites a coup d’etat. God forbid it be a major incident, because correcting that…well let’s just say, it never ends well. For either of us. Usually me a ball of tears in the bathroom and him, well, he’s usually a ball of hot mess after.
But this morning, oh boy this morning, was unlike anything I have ever dealt with from this big bodied ball of raging hormones.
Morning was calm, peaceful, and I was able to go to the bathroom in complete silence. There’s nothing like being able to hear your thoughts during a good restroom moment. Kids were already downstairs, getting ready for the morning. My oldest was making my cup of Joe and his sister eggs, as those seem to be the only thing she will eat now. Peg + Cat was blaring across the surround sound happily.
I make my way downstairs, peeking over the banister to see what all the commotion was about. Both are just dancing and clapping away to Peg + Cat singing away. I smiled and continued my journey into the kitchen to grab my coffee.
The living room is erupting in laughter, with little hands destroying their high chair tray. I walk over to my computer, power it on, and get ready to start my day–well whatever start that may be–I get to it. Headphones gently hugging my ears, Green Day on, lulled behind the dinging and pinging on my computer.
I pause briefly to let my tween know to start getting ready for school. He huffs and puffs, arms crossed in-between in defiance, as he pulls out the morning’s subjects. My daughter completely enamored at “The Letter of the Day” on Sesame Street.
My tween stomps over to me, and slams his Spelling For You book down on my keyboard, demanding that I explain, “How he’s supposed to do his vowel chunks,” when he already did it yesterday.
My head began to throb and I’m pretty sure the vein in my neck bulged, because my son stepped back slightly, knowing he messed up with how he approached me and the situation in its entirety. Hands tense, I grab his book, trying not to ball it up and throw it somewhere in the living room and I once again, explain to him how to accomplish his vowel chunks.
Snatching his book, he stomped off annoyed.
Sighing, I went back to responding to emails and attempting to find a job, which by the way, the job hunt-hasn’t gone very well-but I keep attempting anyway. In hopes that one recruiter will give me a chance to excel or drown.
Anyway, I digress.
I glance over my shoulder, my daughter not moving for fear her favorite show will end, my son…
He’s head down, sniffling and sighing away at the horribleness I was having him complete. I ignored his bouts of mini-tantrums and continued to work on what I was failing at miserably. In the middle of responding to an email, my tween decides to partake in all that’s unholy and begin the Star Wars saga meltdown.
Attitude, tears, more attitude, arms flailing in the wind, pencils hiding for their lives.
“This is stupid! Why do I have to do this! I hate my life! Why do I have to do school? None of my other friends have to do school!” He screamed gruffled.
My chair wheels scrape against the laminate flooring as I scoot back, watching the scene unfold. Suddenly our eyes meet. He angrily crosses his arms, huffs one long puff, and kicks his chair over.
I slowly cross my arms, and the stare off begins.
“I hate school!”
“Well, you have to do it. It’s a necessity.” I state calmly.
His arms still crossed, he opens his mouth but nothing comes out. Snapping it shut quickly, he turns his back to me. His foot tapping frantically on the floor.
I sit in my chair waiting for the ridiculousness that’s about to come out of his mouth.
Flinging himself front, pointing his middle finger at me he says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
I initially wanted to just yell at him, but I took a minute and inhaled a long, deep breath.
“What’s the problem?” I asked him, jugular bulging.
He didn’t respond, he just stared at me like I was talking outside of my neck. So I asked once more, “What’s the problem?”
Without hesitation he relented an explosion of attitude with a little word added in. I was appalled and at a complete loss of rebuttal with the word bombardment that came from this little boy. Rolling my chair slowly towards him, leaning fully forward, I challenged him to do it again. To speak to me like that again.
He paused, his eyes bloodshot from the attitudinal yelling. Slowly I corrected my posture, and again calmly asked, “What’s the problem?”
Pausing for a brief moment, he responded, “You suck!”
At this point I’m infuriated at the outright defiance and attitude spewing from his every available orifice. I don’t want to yell at him, returning his attitude with attitude, because that never works. Calmly placing my hands on my forehead, I sigh, pausing for a brief moment before sternly stating, “Please bring down your PlayStation and your phone, you’re grounded till your 18.”
His eyes widen, his face shook with shock, “Why what did I do?”
My chin rapidly pointed to the ceiling, neck tilted sideways. Did he really just ask me what he did?
I again stated what he did, while exaggerating his exact reactions. It didn’t make the situation any better, but I couldn’t think of anything better at the time. So why not show him how he looked? He slowly began calming down, speaking normally and without attitude; while apologizing profusely for his behavior. While consistently asking if he could keep his electronic devices.
I consented, on one condition of course.
Releasing a guttural sigh, “Fine. What do I have to do?”
“Oh, about that. You just have to write I will not be an brat and get an attitude with my mom of school 100 times. Neatly!” I said, struggling to hide the smirk fighting to be released.
Now I knew he wasn’t going to do that, and he would take his punishment instead. Well, he made me eat my words.
Spinning around quickly, his back facing me, foot furiously tapping. He was thinking. My child, the same ball of attitude and off the cuff child, is actually taking time to weigh the pros and cons. I didn’t know whether to scream with joy and excitement, or sigh, because it was taking forever for him to make up his mind.
Turning around, holding his hand out to accept a handshake, “Fine. 100 times right?”
I was shocked. Who is this child and what did they do with my son? I grudgingly held my hand out, accepting his handshake and the deal that was set forth.
He picked his chair up, whipping it into its proper position, sat down and got to writing. I just rolled my chair back waiting for the attitude meltdown that would occur once he threw his hands up in frustration from all his writing. Well, it never came.
Over an hour passed, when he finally walked over to me and asked me to look at his writing. Pausing my response to an email, I roll backwards to give my final seal of approval.
His handwriting was immaculate and I couldn’t be prouder.
So he got to keep his electronics, but walked away with the lesson that mom doesn’t mind grounding him until he’s an adult.