Friday, September 3, 2010

Growing Pains

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.



  1. I know how you feel, my middle child is the one I seem to have the most problem with. She is 4 and she is the most loud, irritating one. She is more outgoing, is more likely to call kids names and throw a fit when she doesn't get her way. I admit I have a hard time controlling her all the time.

    Apart of it I know is her personality, but that doesn't excuse her behavior sometimes. I think you handled the situation great, and you were consistent and stuck to what you said. I think thats so important when discipling our kids. I'm still learning how to do it effectively but it does make such a big difference.

    Oh the joys of motherhood right? :)

  2. I have one of those. He is five. It's trying, for sure.

  3. Both my kids are strong individuals too. There's an upside though - these are the kids that are in intensive 'dialogue' about behaviour and values with their parents from an early age so when the teenage years come the groundwork is there. The quiet well behaved ones tend to pass under the radar until the teenage years and there hasn't been as much of a 'conversation'to continue on with. Hey, it's what I tell myself....
    Ps Poopy Bottom Butt - hysterical! - my son is six and still falls back on that time honoured classic!

  4. your honesty is needed!! all our kids go through stages we don't LIKE so much!! :)
    I don't know why the world doesn't tell you or warn you that parenting is f*ing HARD....and you will need lots of deep breaths to get through!


  5. You never bought into "Rachel, I love you, but I don't like what you are doing It made you cry even harder!

  6. Dude - poopy bottom butt is pretty funny. Maya would laugh hysterically! Besides, the kids who are leaders at this age are often leaders as teens and leaders as adults. Sure, it's harder, but Presidents, CEO's and inventors were NOT EASY KIDS.

  7. Okay, clearly certain behaviors have to be corrected. Like you can't go around poking other kids. And with the little girl, it was a good place to learn about empathy and apologies (both of which don't actually come until they're older). But the mothers who are looking down their noses at you need to lighten up. Actually, they're probably all mothers of girls (no offense to the moms of girls out there if you have heathen girls). My friends with daughters would always be amazed that I couldn't do certain things because of my son (like have breakables below waist level in the house). It's a whole different world. And, BTW, the poopy thing just gets worse as their vocabulary increases.