Friday, June 13, 2008

I Make Bad Nine Year Olds Cry

Sometimes children can drive you batty. They can be hyper and they can be unfocused or slow and dawdle- whatever you don't need in the moment they are ready to provide. Sometimes this makes you raise your voice and point fingers and sometimes it makes you roll your eyes and try humor and poking or tickling to get someone moving. But then there are they days when someone really just loses their damn mind and says or does something so far over the line that you can not believe it. Today was one of those days.

Today Faddle was off the rails entirely. I picked him up from school and he was whiny and crabby. Usually this is solved by food, but no. He continued. He walked a fine line of my tolerance by not quite talking back, not quite being a smart alec, not quite being rude. We had several brief exchanges of my reminding him that he may not be rude. He rolled his eyes.

Then I took him to his piano lesson. He was rude to the piano teacher. Oh. No. You. Didn't.

If you are nine and are rude and disrespectful to me, you are gonna regret it. If you are nine and rude and disrespectful to other adults while I am watching you, you are seriously going to regret it.

We left the lesson and got in the car.

Fiddle: Giving a long explanation of how house cats and outdoor cats are different.
Faddle: Faddle! Shut up, you talk to much!
Me: Ahem. Faddle, you want to rephrase that? I was enjoying hearing Fiddle's ideas.
Faddle: Whatever.
Me: Faddle, what do you think I should do with you today?
Fiddle: No sugar! No snack! No popsicle! No TV!
Me: Thanks, Fiddle, but I want to hear from Faddle.
Faddle: Nothing.
Me: Nothing? You think you've been well behaved?
Faddle: I'm tiiiiiiiired. I stayed up playing my DS last night. And my fan wasn't on and I was hoooot.
Me: Well, I appreciate being tired. That is something that makes it hard to be happy and awake and pleasant, but it isn't an excuse to be rude to me, your brother and your piano teacher. And staying up and playing a video game you aren't allowed to use on a school night was entirely your decision and you have to live with the consequences.

We continue to drive towards my home. Faddle continues to be a pain. When we arrive he lies across the backseat of the car and complains that he's tired and doesn't want to climb the stairs to my apartment. I sigh. And leave him in the car as Fiddle and I leave for the door. He comes streaking up the driveway screeching that we left him aloooone.

The boys ask for a grilled cheese and so Fiddle helps me to make up a grilled cheese for them to split. The boys settle in with their sandwich slices and I do the dishes. Then Faddle just can't seem to stop himself. He can not resist. He can not just pull it together and get back on track. He's rude and obnoxious. Again.

Me: (removes plate of food from Faddle) Excuse me. That's enough.
Faddle: But I'm eating!
Me: (Using the very-quiet-you-are-in-trouble voice) I have tried to give you several opportunities today to regulate your own behavior. This is unacceptable. I will not be spoken to in that manner. And what's more, you have chosen to conduct yourself like this out in public. I am embarrassed for you.
Faddle: But!
Fiddle: (attempting to save his ungrateful brother) Oh man, shhhhhhhh.
Me: (continuing in the very, very, you-are-so-in-trouble quiet voice) The way that you spoke to your piano teacher. The way that you acted at your lessons was awful. Your piano teacher is a professional, someone who is an expert who is trying to help you learn. She finds interesting music and fun things for you to do and to play. She listens to you when you ask questions and she goes out of her way to make your lessons both good and fun. Today you were rude and disrespectful and you treated her poorly. You couldn't even be bothered to remember your piano music for your lesson. You acted as though you thought what she did was stupid and that her job was dumb. Your actions showed that you didn't think that her feelings mattered at all and you were dismissive of her efforts.
Faddle: Takes a shaky breath.
Me: (moving in for the kill) How do you feel about yourself right now? How do think that your choices have made you look today? Do you feel generous? Do you feel like a good friend and brother? Do you feel grown up? Do you think you have done anything positive today that makes this world, your friends, family or those who you have met any happier?
Faddle: Begins crying.
Me: I suggest that you find a way to get yourself back on track. You are too big to knowingly hurt people just because you're tired and cranky. You knew what you did and the things you said were hurtful, disrespectful and rude. I am not proud of you in this moment. You can do better. Much better.
Faddle: Sniffling.
Me: All right, you think about it and come and see me when you think you can behave differently. Until then, you may stay here.
Fiddle: Can I go?
Me: Indeed! Those who are not rude get to live a life of freedom and privilege, go forth and eat a popsicle!

1 comment:

bridgmanpottery said...

Dang, mama. I want to take lessons from you! Thanks for the pottery comments, I appreciate them.