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November 12, 2008 / allyo


I am having an internal struggle right now over how we deal with Jamie’s lollygagging these days. Now, my friend D’s son M is a year older than Jamie and I remember her frustration with this last year so I know it’s totally age-appropriate, but we have entered a stage when he willfully ignores us, refuses to talk to us (and verbalizes his refusal, which is one part hilarious and two parts frustrating as hell), and even when he does consent to, maybe, putting his underwear on, does so while singing and staring into space. Meaning it takes approximately 55 times longer than it should.

Now I try to consciously schedule our time so that we have extra lollygagging time allotted in the evenings when I am on duty, and I’ve nagged MD into getting up earlier than he wants so that the time crunch is hopefully alleviated in the mornings. But Jamie does everything so slowly these days. He even eats slowly, and if you’ve ever had a meal with him you know that he is capable of putting away adult-sized portions. Just at the speed of a tortoise. It seems counter-intuitive to me to push your kid to eat faster but I found myself at the cheeseburger store (Wendy’s) the other night giving him 5 more minutes to finish and then dumping the rest in the trash. True at that point he had had a cheeseburger, half a kids’ fries and 2 chicken nuggets, but still. It seemed…gulag-ish.

Anyway, we inevitably reach that point of frustration where we’re out of time and at night that means no playing in the bathtub or the loss of 1, 2, or all 3 bedtime books. In the morning it means leaving the house later than usual but with MD’s current schedule, there’s not consequence other than frustration. It’s not like he has to be at work any time soon. I’ve been trying very hard to not start hollering when that frustration hits, while MD views yelling as the inevitable conclusion to a series of disciplinary options – at least, that is how it seems to me. But the yelling and the bickering between the two set me on edge every morning. I leave the house anxious, upset, and angry. Evidenced by my response this morning – an angry “WHAT?” – when MD called out the window to me…to tell me I had forgotten my phone.

Thing is, even though I work hard to not yell – or to keep it to a minimum – when I get frustrated, lately I find myself slipping in little digs. Like, “It’s not like you’re going to listen to me anyway,” or “I don’t even know why I bother,” or, “Sorry, I just don’t believe that you’ll try harder next time.” MD’s called me on it and yet the words just fall out of my mouth.

Here’s the thing – I know that the yelling puts me on edge because the only person who ever yelled at me growing up was my mother. And yet my grandmother, who prided herself on never losing her temper, dug and dug and dug at me. I’ll never forget the shame and hurt when I thanked her for buying me some fashionable back to school clothes my 8th grade year (um, a purple argyle sweater with a turtleneck, headband, and socks to match if I recall correctly) and she responded, “Try listening and doing what you’re told more and maybe I’ll keep it up.”

Thing is, neither one of us are handling the frustration very well, and I also get worked up about MD and Jamie because ineveitably when MD isn’t home a lot Jamie pulls away from him. It’s already started after a week and I am finding myself in the middle, an intolerable and impossible position. Of course jumping into the fray when they are battling it out places me right in between them and it lets me ignore the things that I need to work on in favor of nagging my husband.

Argh. And I know that morning chaos is here to stay. No matter what the age, there’s chaos in the morning. Hell, we had chaos in the morning when it was just the two of us. I think I need to grow a thicker skin…



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  1. MystikMomma / Nov 12 2008 10:28 am

    Hmmm, I admit there are times I too become frustrated with the time spent doing things that “should” take less time. I usually ignore it and just move on with what I need to do. Mind you I have no clock to punch, but the boys get it and realize that momma isn’t stopping for them to get it together. I think you will find your groove in your way. That is what parenting is all about, finding your groove for your pace of life. Each new phase brings out another challenge. Put some focus on you and do what you need to in order to survive. My only advice.

  2. dawn / Nov 12 2008 1:31 pm

    I’m sure you’re not talking about my angel because my kids are always and always have been absolutely perfect due to my amazingly patient, kind and wise parenting.

    Ok, back to reality, Madison is still a lolly-gagger — it’s her attention span or lack thereof. Some days I’m good at handling it and some days I suck. (sigh) Parenting is not for wimps but I sure wish it was.

  3. FriendD / Nov 12 2008 1:39 pm

    Honestly? I truly believe that children think that time will stand still for them. This is a tough one. What power this kind of behavior provides them! “I’m tiny and just sitting here eating slowly but I will drive you completely insane in the process.” Good luck. No pearls of wisdom here, I fight this battle every day.

  4. bmiad / Nov 12 2008 11:24 pm

    The lollygagging x2 is driving me insane. Did I ever think I’d bring a timer to the dinner table? Certainly not, which is to say, you have my sincere sympathy. Very cute costume, BTW.


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