I had originally written this last month as a guest post on Call Her Happy, a blog by Jenna, sweet mama of two who graciouslly allowed me to write for her site.
As we continue to prepare for kindergarten, and work on reigning in the social skills of our busy boy, Red, I thought it would be a good time to share how the rule-following goes in our parts… (or would that be rule-“bending”, with a sharp lean toward “breaking?”)
Rules. Who likes them? Certainly not the fiery little 5 year old living in my house.
He’s not a bad kid – he just has a little trouble focusing. What preschooler doesn’t? I think boys especially?
Recently, after running off to climb a tree without telling us at a festival on our town green (where we couldn’t find him and my heart was in my throat for the longest minute of my life), he later simply stated, “I was having so much fun that I forgot the rules.”
Touché little man. Well played.
How can I argue with that? It’s not as if I haven’t conveniently forgotten a few rules myself in the past… (Early twenties? I am looking at you).
But since kindergarten is around the corner, we have been trying to work on the listening, and the focusing, and the good manners, and the following directions….and if that list doesn’t sound exhausting, just try enforcing it all on a kid who constantly comes up with reasons why he forgot to not do such things.
He is my love, my heart and my first born…so we are both learning the routines of what works and what doesn’t.
I have learned to be more patient. Just because he doesn’t jump at my request as soon as I say it, doesn’t mean that given a couple of seconds, he isn’t working his way towards doing it (sluggishly, feet dragging, but still, he is moving…).
I have learned to let him talk when he has something to say, even if it is in the middle of my asking him to do something. I feel terrible when he gets frustrated to the point where he yells, “You won’t let me talk!” so I stop and ask what he has to say, and it’s usually something completely off topic – probably a distraction technique, but I am not to be played that way.
He has, however, learned that looking at me with puppy dog eyes and asking “Do you still love me?” will reduce me to gooey mush and I will begin my lenghthy explanation of how I will always love him no matter what.
He has also learned from my many times of saying that I am unhappy with his choices, to respond with “You’re not mad? Just disappointed?” as if that somehow lessens the lesson I am trying to teach. Another time, when I used the word “unacceptable” to describe something particularly unpleasing, he asked, “What does unskeptical mean?” Oh dear, sweet boy how you make me laugh…but skeptical is exactly how your actions make make me feel!
He is full of funny strategies. My mom has told me that 5 is the age of storytelling and little fibs. Oh my yes it is….and she probably got all of her wise knowledge raising yours truly. I was a spunky kid, what can I say?
Harmless, humorous and huggable, he is so full of life. He is constantly thinking. Always coming up with answers. Always asking questions. These are qualities that I want him to keep and cultivate. I want the curiosity only to keep growing. And it will, of that I am confident. He loves to learn, and he challenges us, as parents, to search for more information on whatever subject is currently spinning around in his head. Thank you Google, YouTube and numerous websites for helping us with the never-ending question of “Why?” May it never stop.
He is so innocent. Though some believe that rules are meant for breaking, (I am pleading the 5th on this one) he is not there…yet. I have said on numerous occasions, that I will take little kid problems over big kid (read: teenage) problems any day.
He’ll catch on. Eventually. And then I’ll be sad that his little innocent stories are gone, and his funny excuses will no longer be made…they will be replaced with different “big kid” issues that I’d rather not think about right now…
We’ll keep trying to find a way to strengthen the rulebook, as long as he keeps finding ways to work around it. “I’ll follow the rules tomorrow Mommy, ok?”
Sigh. Ok little man…ok.