Boys will be boys?
It used to be that I was proud of just about every little thing that Zachary did. (Zachary, the child above who looks like he is about ready to kill his brother.)The fearless way he would toddle up to a crowd of bigger kids at the playground. It never occurred to Zack that the older kids would not want to play with him, or that he could get knocked over by their big boy play. I was proud of his social confidence. I was pleased at how vocal and active Zack was in music class. He would always ham it up, and make the other parents laugh. That's my boy I would think.
But now. Now it isn't always sunshine and roses. These days, my son can sometimes make me wish that I could disappear into the park bench or pretend that some other child belongs to me. The well behaved one playing quietly in the sandbox.
Zack is always the loudest. The wildest. That one kid who is running out of control screaming "Poopy Bottom Butt" at the top of his lungs. He doesn't listen. He seems to not care when I open my mouth in protest.
Today was one of those days. One of those days that left me shaking my head in distress and wondering where I have gone wrong. We were on a post-preschool play date at the park. Zack was whopping it up with his best bud Matias. The two are quite a pair. Both of them eager to wrestle, push and taunt each other, all in the name of a good time. They get on well. But I get the sneaking suspicion that not everyone is impressed with their rowdy behavior. Other mothers steal a concerned glance in my direction as if to say "don't you think they are being a tad rough?" Or "Do they really have to keep carrying on about butts?"
I try and reign him in. I tell him to clean up his language, be careful of the other kids. There are warnings and time outs. But the behavior continues. This is who he is. Kinder people might describe him as energetic or athletic. The cynic's would probably just say he is naughty. I usually fall somewhere in between.
But he crossed the line when he started teasing a sweet shy girl who was trying to share the play structure with Zack and Matias. The boys started teasing her and ultimately poking her, causing her to cry. I did not witness the incidents, but was kindly filled in by an overly zealous and disapproving nanny. She wanted Zack to apologize, as well he should. But still, I didn't care for the judgemental tone.
I tried to reason with Zack, explain how is actions made the little girl feel. I tried to illicit a feeling of empathy, but Zachary simply barked out an angry "Sorry!" at the girl and ran away to continue his play. Out of ideas, I decided it was time to pack it up and leave the park. Zack protested, I stuck to my guns. We can't be at the playground if you are mean to the other kids. He cried and pouted and stated "You don't love me anymore"
"Zachary" I said feeling quite exasperated, "Of course I love you. I just don't like your behavior". A cliche, no doubt, but I felt every word of it. If I am to be perfectly honest, and that is what this blog is all about, I would take it one step further. I love my son with all my heart, but he is at a stage that I just don't like very much.
And I'm not proud of that.