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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Bane or Boon?

So Number One and I had a big argument the other day, when we got home after I picked him up from his after-school indoor soccer class. The issue was that he wanted to play basketball, and I wanted to use the brief window of available time before I had to make dinner to help him with his homework (yes, he has homework; yes, he needs help with some of it; yes, it needs to be worked on every day so he doesn't fall behind). So he was doing the things that usually make me feel like I want to, you know, strangle him or sell him on eBay (ignoring me, turning his back on me, refusing to answer my questions, no matter how simple, continuing to shoot his basketball), and at one point he said, "You don't do anything for me." You can imagine my reaction. Hello, HE'S SIX! Sure, he can get himself an after-school snack, can work some of the controls on the DVR, and can (finally!) tie his own shoes, but seriously? I think he realized the sheer ridiculosity of his statement as soon as it had exited his mouth. At least I hope so. He ended up losing one day of TV (for wasting my time) and getting sent to his room, and we did manage to get some homework done right after dinner, and I somehow managed to avoid inflicting any permanent damage on his person or on the little green ball he uses when shooting hoop indoors.

Number Two, on the other hand, is delightful 99% of the time. He rarely gets upset, and when he does he'll throw a ten-second tantrum and be done. This morning as naptime was upon us, he came over to where I was sitting on the couch, looked like he wanted to be picked up, and when I did so just laid his head down on my shoulder. Sweet, sweet boy.

I think a huge part of the differences in my relationships with my two boys is the difference in their ages. I'm pretty sure when Number One was 18 months old, he was delightful at least 95% of the time (if not 99%). And when Number Two gets to be six, I'm also pretty sure that he'll give me grief as he tries to establish his individuality. But I think there's also a big difference in their innate personalities, which resemble their parents' as much as their looks do--only reversed. Number One looks much more like me, but has a personality much more like Mavis's. And Number Two looks amazingly like his father, but has a personality much more like mine. I don't get where Number One is coming from a lot of time, and this leads to situations that threaten to drive me batty. I am only very slightly comforted by my inlaws' repeated assertions that my husband was much, much worse (they are much nicer people than I am--if Number One were as bad as his father reportedly was, well, I shudder to think). Number Two reacts to situations in ways that I find much easier to understand.

So, I'll continue to muddle on through. Parenting can sure be a bitch sometimes.



Blogger MWR said...

I'm sure that when I was that age I did not even have the concept of homework.

If my first instinct would have been to respond "Is that a request?", would that make me a bad parent?

February 8, 2007 at 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No. It briefly occurred to me to say something like, Oh, you want to try life with me doing nothing for you, and see how you like it? but I resisted.

I'm not too big of a person not to have pointed out in the few days since when I'm doing or have done something for him, though. :)

February 8, 2007 at 11:17 AM  

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