Friday, July 18, 2014

Another Big Kid

First the twins graduated to toddler beds, and now this.



Xander lost his first tooth.  His Daddy helped him pull it out, after he realized he couldn't eat his corn on the cob.  He was so excited and, honestly, so was I.  More so than I thought I would be.  It was fun.


The tooth fairy left him $1, a light saber toothbrush, and a surprise Mario figure (they come in a little pack and you can't tell which figure you're getting; luckily the tooth fairy picked one he didn't have yet).  We explained he probably got so much this time because the very first tooth is special.

It's a fun time - almost 6 years old, signing up for his first organized sport (soccer, of course), starting Kindergarten soon - but it's a frustrating time, too.

His whole life I have parented him a certain way.  There's really no way to totally explain a parenting style in a few paragraphs, so I won't try.  But basically, I'm a talker.  Instead of just correcting behavior, I try to get to the root of the issue ("Why are you acting like this?  What do you feel?  What made you feel that way?").  Aaaaand -  I'm not the most strict disciplinarian.  Like at all.  I'm the grace-giver, for sure.  And until fairly recently, this worked well with Xander.  He's a people-pleaser, and a rules-follower, so he didn't need a lot of punishment - just me letting him know that I was disappointed in the way he was acting.  Not anymore.

Refusing to smile for the camera

Lately he's been seriously acting up.  And I don't just mean jumping around and dancing when people are paying attention to the twins just so they'll see him too (he's done that stuff for a while) or not smiling for my many pictures.  I mean when the twins are both crying or fighting, he'll start screaming or making more noise, just to add to the confusion.  Or he'll encourage them to do something they aren't supposed to do.  Or he'll go out the front door without telling me what he's doing (and even sometimes yell, "Can I come home with anyone!?  I don't want to live here anymore!").

Yesterday we went to tour his new Kindergarten, and the Vice Principal was showing us around.  He was running around like a crazy person.  Literally running into empty classrooms and touching stuff, crawling under tables, laying in the floor, and even yelling "DOO DOO!" once.  I told him many times to stop and come stand/walk with us while I was trying to listen to the VP and push the wiggly twins around, but he absolutely refused to listen to me.  Then I realized - I had no authority over him.  Which kind of woke me up.  This isn't a "stage" anymore.  This is simply how he acts around me.  And it's not good.

So now I'm dealing with me, basically.  He is a child.  I am the adult.  It is my responsibility to find out what is going on in his heart and direct and guide him the right way, yes.  But he has to listen to me, too.  He has to follow the rules, even if there is a valid reason that he's feeling wild.  He's always been my buddy and I think I've treated him as a peer for too long.  It's time to re-affirm that I am his parent, and I am in charge.  And it's - gulp - okay if that upsets him from time to time.

I'm not changing my entire viewpoint, of course.  I still feel that it's very important to figure out they whys and get to the heart of the issue.  But there has to be a balance - discipline and grace.  I'm praying hard for that little heart of his (and his brother's and sister's, for that matter).  And for mine while I fumble my way through this.  And if there's one thing I know - it's that the Lord provides.

Still snuggling with me, even after a rough day.

Yep.  We're gonna be okay.

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