Thought #3

I wrote this earlier in today in response to a post by https://gratefulsinglemoms.com/ (I am so sorry I am unsure how to do it so people can click and go to your page) called Incubate.

It is awfully scary when our children show a wisdom that we ourselves cannot see.

Lessons Learned

This was a week of lessons for both myself and T. I think too that it has been a hard week for him as the amount of time the Ex has spent with him has been minimal. I cannot even work up anger. I am resigned. I am sad for T. I cannot make him change. I cannot make him see the young man who is growing up right in front of our eyes. T is playing Farming Simulator as I sit here typing this.

I was excited because I am able to listen to my music on my notebook while writing and also watch T play Farming Simulator. I believe I have explained before? Long story short you build up a farm. People create maps and you go farm. Drive around. It is a popular game judging by the amount of Youtube videos I have been subjected to. At the moment I am sitting here with our shared headphones on (the ones that cover the whole ear not inserted buds that would be gross) listening to Florida Georgia Line. Basically I load the entire album and start at the beginning. Today may be the first time in a long time that I get through the very long list.

We had two rather comedic episodes that left me gasping for air I was laughing so hard.

Yesterday morning I was about to wash the bathroom floor and asked T if he wanted to go use the bathroom before I did. He said yes. As he is climbing down his ladder I stand there  and tell him he is not to pee on the floor, the seat, the side, nowhere but into the toilet as I had just finished cleaning it. As a matter of fact, I suggested that he straddle the toilet and push it down to pee straight in. With hand pantomimes. T stared at me in absolute horror and as I turned away informed me that that was the absolute worst advice ever. And if I had one I would totally understand why. I giggled again typing this up.

Later in the day as I was driving him to the Ex’s for his night with him T was muttering away about what an absolute boring evening it was going to be. That none of his friends could come over. It was going to be dad, grandpa and grandma. I

I am trying something new. We are all programmed to notice the negative, the absurd, in other people’s pain. We mock others to make ourselves feel better about our own selves. When T and me had our long conversation the other week I told him that we needed to change. That we needed to look for the positive no matter how hard it is going to be. And it is going to be hard. I mock others. I make fun of them to others. I am no saint as I told K and P. It is a habit, a trait, who knows but it needs to be changed. Now the other day when I dropped T off at school I mocked the bright color of one of his classmate’s snowsuit. I tried to recover by saying at the very least we would not lose him in a snowstorm. Told him that he was not to make fun of the boy to which he emphatically told me he would never. I told him I was sorry. That I should never have made a comment and about a child’s snowsuit nonetheless.

So back to T and me, driving to the Ex’s. Grandma and grandpa are visiting. T is going to be bored. I suggest that he could hang out with grandma. And glanced over to see him looking at me like this. Yes I pulled over and took this picture. Mom, he leans forward his arm on the back of the seat, that male posture when they want to tell you something really important in the car, Grandma is old. And she is annoying. The laughter escaped me and I tried to stifle it. I looked at T and explained to him that grandma really loved him. That she wanted to spend time with him. As he is muttering away, frowny face on, arms crossed. That was when I learned something new about T.

I suggested (I am great for suggesting things) that he might want to spend some time with grandma because she would not be around forever. And he said no that was not true. Um yes, unfortunately we all die someday. Nope, we get another life. I looked over at T and said you think after we die we get a different life. Yep. So you believe in reincarnation. Yeah like having past lives and all that. We get to be together in the next life too. There are times when T reminds me how so very special he is. He also believes that had he been born a girl, the Ex and me would have still been his/her parents. The life would have been the same just pink. He expanded my mind right there.

Today he was annoyed that I had picked him up from his friend’s so early. Had thought that he was going to be staying there until 5 p.m. He was angry with me and refusing to talk. So I thanked him. I could have argued until I was blue in the face with him about his attitude but again I am trying different things to find what works for us. I want to stop that cycle I have seen myself falling into. But no, I thanked him. And waited. Finally he asked for what.

I told that I had taken his suggestion and had started writing a story the night before. Wanted to know what it was about so I gave him a quick a synopsis. Explained that what had started off as a short story about one thing had morphed into something else totally different. My main character had a story to tell we were just figuring it out. I thanked him again and he said you are welcome. I felt it was a small victory and we chatted and laughed all the way home.

Once home with chores taken care of I went to grab the headphones and T was loading his game. Asked where the headphones were. As if I didn’t know, he had taken them into his room one day watching Youtube and left them in there. He fought with me. Told me I had taken them and put them somewhere and it was not his fault that I could not remember. I took the remote for the XBox and sat down on the couch explaining that he could have the remote back once he checked his room.

He argued with me and I kept my cool. I did not yell. I did not let my temper get the best of me. I spoke calmly and repeated that he would get the remote once he had gone to look for the headphones. Finally I said that if he was sure they were not there could he please just humor me and go take a look. Stood in the door and said looked. Uh-uh get up there and look.

I heard him climb up into his bed and silence. After a few moments I got up and double checked the table and counter just in case I was being a hardass for something I had in fact done. I stood watching him from the doorway as he climbed down and threw the headphones at me. I think he thought I was going to crow and say I told you so. Or some form of that. Instead I said thank you I really appreciate that you looked for them. Warned him I might sing and was that okay? I was informed that it was most definitely not cool to sing out loud. I made no promises. He giggled.

I need to be his example. I cannot expect him to act one way and for me to act another. I will slip. I am sure that I will make a mocking comment about someone, and snort giggle when reading memes on FB again I am no saint. But I will actively work to do this. For both of us. And in a world full of negatives looking for the positive is hard. And that is when I learned my second lesson.

What I do now is easy. I am in my home. Being a good example is not hard when I am not interacting with others for extended time periods. I will be going back to work. I will be around toxic people who are going to attempt to shame me. Those who are going to judge me. Not celebrating with me as I recover from this bout of depression. That I am emerging a better stronger woman. And it is going to be hard to not to give in. To not laugh at that little aside about a coworker. A dis about an employee. An irate customer. Being tired. I could come up with a thousand reasons why I slipped back and forget what I was doing this for in the first place.

Yes in part this is a step in my mental health and realizing that I was following a cycle that my father got from his mother. I was yelling at T and several times during the week I cut myself off from phrases he said. I need to break it here and now. But this is for Tember. Our children are our future, and I want to encourage T to see the good first before having to process the bad.

 

Parenting Win #2

T came back to me Tuesday after school this week. I drove a friend to the airport on Sunday and than drove home, not along my intended route but hey, I got home in one piece and I will not be anxious doing this again. However that is departures not arrivals. LOL. Monday evening something had come up and as M the ex is beginning a new job next week, one that is going to be nights, he was okay with keeping T the extra day for me.

Monday was no school and T and his dad were hanging out. I have had two different versions of the same story, sorta. It involved clothing and not listening. Again a 9 year old who believes that he knows everything. Due to this, the halloween costume that T wanted was taken away. He did not care. Rapidly, he lost television and computer privileges. Halloween was cancelled, he no longer wanted to go out. I was a little lost but I text K2 (babysitter and friend extraordinaire) and let her know what was going on. Figured that she would get the story out of T and help him see things from a non-confrontational parent-child way.

Sure enough Tuesday I received a call at work from K2 telling me that we were going to be going trick or treating after all. T had started to get excited when he saw the girls dressing up. So he donned mask and cape and off the six of us went. K2 and her hubby, her two girls, T and me. The kids had a blast. Big bags full of candy. Went out for about an hour and a half. On the way home, T admitted to me that while he had fun, it was not as much fun as when you were wearing a costume that you actually wanted to. I figure that without meaning to M2 has taught T a message loud and clear here.

Let us fast forward now to Wednesday. There has been some whining in regards to the use of the computer. The watching of Youtube. I was laying on the couch reading keeping an eye on what T was watching on one hand and the time on the other. It was shower night.

Who knew that showering could be such a difficult concept for a 9 year old boy. Let alone it took me longer to get into the bathroom and start the shower for him than it did for him to shower. 1 minute people, he took 1 minute to wash his body and hair and than he was out. Being environmentally friendly he tells me, I have my suspicions though that he might only stick a toe under the water. I will investigate further and let you know. And now the battle begins.

I had told him before he went in to shower, that his time on Youtube was done for the evening. When he returned 2 minutes later, he went to get on the computer. I said, no Youtube time is done for the night. And he sat down in front of the computer. We than engaged in a 45 minute standoff.

At one point I decided enough was enough so I gathered up phone, kindle and with the cats following, turned the living room light out and crawled into my bed. T followed as well. And layed down at my bedroom door and proceeded to continue his howling. For he was bored. Nothing I suggested was good enough. He wanted his electronics.

Did I really want a bored unhappy kid on my hands or did I want a happy bored kid on my hands? If I did not relent, he was going to take the school bus home to his dad’s. I said alright, I will text and let your dad know. He will just bring you back to me. He was dumpster bored. Despite his explaining that level of boredom I still do not understand. I did though offer to take him down and let him sleep out in the dumpster in our parking lot overnight, and we could revisit the dumpster boredom level this morning. That idea was shot right down.

We even did the countdown of how much time I was wasting for him. By not allowing him to have his own way.  I video taped part of it and sent to his father and a few of my girlfriends. I had to. It was all I could do not to laugh as he caterwauled and screamed. Every so often when he paused for breath I would ask if he was done. When he said no, I allowed him to continue. Finally he wound down and I asked if he was able to listen and hear what I had to say.

T did. Until I reached the part about how his actions have consequences and boom, he is off and running again. Finally I had enough. It was after 9, I had been listening for 45 minutes and was done. I indicated to T it was bedtime and he should go to his bed as I was going to sleep. Oh yes, more screeching and hollering.

I got out of bed and he danced back into his room. So there is the I no longer have to push him into his room, he goes when I get up. And I closed my bedroom door. I was not going to fight with him. I was not going to yell at him. I told him I loved him but it was time now for bed, and as this was my time, I did not have to listen any longer.

There was a little more screaming and sobbing like I had driven over his imaginary best friend, and now I was stressing. All I could think was my upstairs neighbors have now called the RCMP. Awesome. But I had a plan, I was going to make T answer the door and explain that all the screaming was because I would not allow him to watch electronics. Figured I was safe but did go in and mention the possibility to T. With severe protests that the RCMP would not be coming, T began to calm. Eventually he fell asleep.

When he awoke this morning, it was all good. Not cranky. Not upset. We talked and he agreed he was again in the wrong with his behaviour. Rather, I asked did he think that he deserved to watch Youtube this morning and he agreed he did not. Also in agreement that this behaviour would not be repeated. Offered to let him watch the video. T declined. There will be a viewing prior to his returning to his dad’s for next week.

And I told him I was keeping this video until he got married. I want him to have to explain to everyone he knows, and his newly extended in-laws, just what dumpster boredom is all about.

 

Challenge Time

I have been through a recent creative outpouring of poetry. Not a whole lot of introspection or how y’all doin? posts. But this last week and a bit have been a bit of an odd one for me and I needed to look at, peer, poke and prod the happenings before I felt able to write about them. A couple of things have been just awesome for me, making me smile. Cheering my heart and making me realize that I am still growing and getting stronger with each passing day. The other began as armageddon and ended with peace on earth as I know it for the time being.

First I should tell you what I have challenged myself to this week. I turned the television off at 2 p.m. on Sunday and do not intend to turn it back on until T comes back Monday. So far so good. Everyone I have told this to always looks at me like I am crazy at first and than to a tee they have all said ‘Oh but you like to read that will take the place of the t.v.’

Wait what? Because I like to read I am not going to miss t.v?

And you know what? They are so right.

I am reading blogs I follow. I am immersing myself in others poetry, stories and find myself crying and laughing as well. There is this rich world in front of me that is way more lively than what I can find on the t.v. set.

I am writing. A lot. Everywhere  I turn I am finding myself inspired. Words come together in a way that resonates and I am off and running. I am being more patient as I write as well. I am willing to set aside the poem and come back to it. Once I have mulled it over out on the back porch of my mind.

Not that the writing has to do with the not watching television. That was happening before. I have had a creative outpouring that is for sure. Love poems, Heartbreak, Depression, Happiness, the words pour forth and at times I feel unworthy to be their Champion. I have even had an idea for a story. That one is way out in the back field being mulled over although it is slowly taking form.

I have been working at reading the same book for the last two weeks. It has really been a struggle for me. This is book 4 is a series that I began a year and a half ago. The first three books I devoured while I was down in Mexico visiting mom. And than I had to wait more than a year for this book. Began to read it. Read the recap so that I could remember what was going on. I am at 81%. At some point there was a major shift, like suddenly a huge chunk of the book, the one that seamlessly melds part one to part two, was gone. There are characters I have no idea who they are. I have no clue how something has come about. I am being oblique because there are people who might read or be reading this series and I do not want to knock it. Also I really like this author, her work is amazing, so there.

I am at the point though where I am seriously considering giving up. On that book. Time to move forward.

I am having one of my meandering conversations with myself. Hope you don’t mind and are enjoying the ride.

Compliments have been reigning down on me all over the place. I have been in the best place in the last little while. Me, mentally, doing fabulously. I am pumped about this. So I have been smiling and laughing a lot. Customers have told me they look to come through my line when I am in a till. Lately that has not been often. One of my staff told me she thought that things would fall apart if I was not as organized as I am. I know everything. Gosh she just makes my heart hurt she is so sweet. And not once but twice I was told that I in no way look my age.

T was here last week. His room still a disaster that I had been trying to get him to clean since July. I was and will not do it. He is 9. That is more than old enough that he can keep his own room clean. All week I let it slide. He was doing the basics so I was taking that as a win. Little did I know that we were headed for an epic battle.

Saturday rolled around and it all started out okay. T and me were getting along. Laughing and talking. He went out to play with his friends. No problem. Than he came inside with his friend and the attitude started. I asked him to clean up his room. That I was tired of the way that it looked and if he didn’t I was going to take a garbage bag and go in there and clean house.

Words were exchanged. T became snarkier and snarkier and my anger was reaching roiling point. When his friend’s mom got home, I sent him out and T tried to leave as well. I said no it was time to clean his room, that there were consequences to his actions and these were them in play. I only have one child. There was no practice kid for me so I am winging it as I go along. And I get frustrated really easily and annoyed. A lot of this is my own fault because I am the one raising him. Some of it is just him being a boy who can be a bit of a twit at times.

T tried to leave and I stood in front of him asking okay yelling at him to go back into his room. We ended up in a grappling match with myself pushing him back into his room so that I could close his door. He was pushing back staring up at me when suddenly he screamed at me:

‘Get the f*** off me! Get the f*** off me!’

I stared at him, my brain reeling from the fact that my 9 year old had just dropped the f bomb on me. Not once but twice. I stepped back and looked at him and he screamed angrily ‘Why are you like this?’

My response was ‘Why are you like this? I told you there were consequences to your actions T.’

I walked out of his room and closed the door.  I was shaking. I shot a text off to the ex which in hindsight I should not have done. I paced the living room a little bit, deep breathing as I went, calming myself. T was pitching things at his door, I was ignoring him. I looked over and realized that his door was open and walked over to close it. T was sitting on the floor putting things away. I asked him what he was doing because I could really not fathom what I was seeing. His snide reply was I am cleaning my room. Okay not gonna fight and I walked away.

He came out to the living room and I again asked what he was doing. He snapped I am going to the storage room what do you think I am doing. Ahhhhhh he is getting the vacuum out. A little annoyed at the tone but I will not respond. Let him go about his business. I washed the dishes and he came to me and asked if he could go outside. His room was cleaned.

I looked down well almost down at him and asked him if he thought he should really be allowed to go outside. He stared down at his feet and whispered that he was sorry. I asked for what? He whispered for dropping the f bomb on you.

I asked T if he thought that he was really old enough to be using the f word with me? He shook his head dejectedly and said no. We talked a little more and I checked his room. Made him vacuum a little more and said he could play outside for a little while.

That evening he swept the kitchen floor without my asking and fed the cats. We talked a little more and off he went to bed.

The next day we discussed the limits that were going to be imposed re computer time. That there was going to be more play time than watching youtube time. And that was when I realized that if I want him to spend more time at play, than I could not be zoned out in front of the television. Which lead to my challenge this week to not watch any t.v.

Wow, I totally just brought the whole thing home without even meaning to. Have no idea how so I am going to end it right here folks. I cannot get a better close. And I will glory in it for a few because never again will I be able to bring everything into a nice neat package.

As an aside, when the ex showed up to pick up T, he was told he would have to wait a minute while T cleaned the lego up off the floor in his room. He needed to keep it clean. Parenting win to add to my weekly tally. 🙂