UPDATE – today was much calmer. Despite complaining about having a stomach ache, M went to his swimming lessons. This afternoon, he read while I cleaned mouse poop out of the cupboards. Seriously, can this vacation get any better??!!
I am on holidays this week. The plan was the M would get a break from camp abd we would hang out and enjoy each others company.
It’s Day 2 and it’s pretty clear that there’s not much enjoyment going on. M keeps complaining that “I’m making he do things he doesn’t want to do.” As far a I can tell, this includes anything other than playing on the computer or watching the Olympics. Me, I’m almost ready to call and see if they need me to come into work.
I know from experience that M tends to do well with some structure to his day. So several weeks ago, I told him I was signing him up for swimming lessons. He’d swim for 30 minutes every morning and then we’d go do something fun.
Every day last week, I reminded him that we weren’t going to sit around the house all week and we needed to come up with some ideas of things we could do. On Sunday, I asked him what he thought we could do on Monday. When M said he didn’t have any ideas, I suggested either mini-golf or the water park. He chose mini-golf.
But when it came time to go swimming, M balked. He didn’t want to go. Then he agreed to go, but he didn’t want to walk or ride his bike. Given that the pool is less than a 10 minute walk from our house, driving seems like a waste of gas. But we compromised – we’d take the car and go straight from swimming to mini-golf.
M seemed to enjoy swimming and we had a good time playing mini-golf. He wasn’t too happy that I wanted to run some errands on the way home, but he didn’t give me too hard a time. Although he complained every time I asked him to turn off the TV or the computer, the rest of the day was relatively uneventful,
However, compared to today, Monday was a walk in the park. When it came time to go to swimming lessons, M refused. He claimed to “hate swimming.” We spent 10 minutes arguing back and forth about the merits of swimming lessons – according to M, there are none. Finally, I told M that we’d take the car (walking seems to be a big obstacle this week).
As we walked onto the pool deck, M spotted a group of girls. He turned to me and said, “I’m not going in the water.” Never mind that the girls were part of a day camp and weren’t paying any attention to him. I suggested that instead of going in the water, he could stay on the deck and talk about water safety with the instructor. No way – he knew everything he needed to know about water safety. Another 10 minutes spent with me trying to convince him to participate and him refusing (are we detecting a pattern here?) Finally, I told him that if we went home, he would spend the rest of the day in his room and he would have to pay me back for the swimming lessons out of his own money. A bit heavy-handed, but it wasn’t even 10 am and it felt like all we’d done this morning was argue.
After a few more minutes, M relented and spent the rest of the lesson time, happily chatting with the very patient instructor. On the way home, I told him that I didn’t enjoy arguing with him. We agreed we would try to get along for the rest of the day.
The truce lasted for a couple of hours. We had decided to go and see a movie this afternoon – M`s choice. On the way into the mall, M argued with me about where the theatre was located. It wasn’t where he thought it was and we had to ask for directions. Then after the movie, he got upset when I wanted to get something to eat and check out a couple of stores. He refused my offer to buy him a bagel and creme cheese and whined loudly about how long my order was taking. At one point, he told me he was going to walk home. I told him I’d see him when he got home. He stayed with me.
By the time we got home, I was just about at the end of my rope. If a band of gypsies had showed up at my door, I would have paid them to take my kid. Instead, I gave him something to eat and left M in front of the TV and went out and did some gardening. Occasionally, M would stick his head out the back door and tell me what was going on. Fortunately for both of us, my plants needed a lot of attention.
Despite dancing on my last nerve today, M did a pretty good job of handling his anger. He used a few inappropriate words, but he didn`t completely lose his cool. His obstreperousness only last for a short time. He apologized for his behaviour (both times), without me having to ask.
M couldn`t tell me why he was so upset today. At one point when he was angry with he me, he told me that “we were only doing things I wanted to do and nothing he wanted to do.” When I pointed out that all he wanted to do was sit on the sofa all day, he didn`t disagree.
So what`s a parent to do? I can`t call in sick. I could insist that my husband stay home tomorrow then head out for a day at the spa. I could stay in my room all day and not worry about my kid`s head exploding after hours of watching beach volleyball and synchronized diving.
Tomorrow is another day and my fingers are crossed that it will be better than today.
M and his dad worked out a schedule for tomorrow. We`ll try swimming again and then head out to a museum for a couple of hours after lunch.
If that doesn`t work, I`m sure they`ll need me at the office.