|I really have things to write about .
||[Aug. 25th, 2009|11:59 pm]
Jesus, I am really trying hard to stay positive and keep up energy levels during the day, but Christ! I just keep getting dragged back down. Well, that's not quite accurate. Actually it's not so much neutral to negative as it is huge swings up and down. Like up when I add up how much the invoices I've sent out to clients totals up to, and then down when the mail comes and none of their checks are there... again. I have so much money on paper, waiting for it to arrive... any day now, but have never been poorer in my pockets. Mostly I think it's funny, having to scrounge through the cupboards and make up weird dishes with old bags of split peas and dusty cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks (it was pretty good, actually) all because I don't have money to go to the store, or foraging for fruit for breakfast out of necessity- sure it's kind of fun and exciting. But in my weaker moments, it's kind of a morale-puncher. But mainly it only has the ability to get to me when I'm already distracted by the stress and drama of being a parent and trying to figure out what the ideal role is in these situations. It is tricky business. One second you're playing a boardgame having a great time, and the next second it's meltdown. You think you've got a smooth system set up, and then suddenly, the little man is like, Nope, I'm absolutely not doing that. Like tonight. The backstory is that he invented an ingenious bedtime self-regulating system- every morning that he wakes up without assistance and on time, he gains 5 extra minutes on his bedtime, but when he doesn't, it gets rolled back 15. Ingenious and it worked perfectly all last year. But tonight he decided he was done with it. Fruitless arguing, escalating consequences- an ugly and intentionally irritating scene that lasts for about an hour, and then suddenly he comes in and says, I'd like a BLT, a bag of Lay's, and an apple for lunch tomorrow. And I tell him, 'Alright'. And he says, 'I can have that for lunch tomorrow?'. And I reply 'Sure. I want you to be happy and have great lunches, but I also want you to manage your responsibilities too.' And then he's off to bed. End of standoff. (Epilogue: He still lost the privilege of his adjustable bedtime system temporarily and is back on a fixed 9:45 for a while.) Now before this, it's been an hour of intense debate on the idea of bedtime, on rules in general, on the (lack of) value of education, on vigilante justice, on trust. He had some valid points here and there, but mostly it was just a 'Screw the rules' sort of thing. (And honestly, I'm happy to see that he's got a healthy skepticism of authority and the status-quo.) But anyways, to see it all comes down to a BLT and a bag of chips? It's such a perfect representation of how confusing it is to be a parent of a 12 year old. But that's patronizing. How different am I, really? I guess the big difference is that I (sometimes) can play both roles, of the overwhelmed and the benevolent gift-giver. I mean I remember a mocha or the promise of buying a CD later that day motivating me to continue doing my work or to go to class in college. I guess everybody just needs a little something to look forward to. It's like how I can be so bummed out about the $900 Fastrak penalty (uggh) which we got for just the stupidest reason (I'm actually grateful because it was initially a $4000 penalty and we got it reduced), and then I can cheer myself up by using a dinner gift certificate we had saved to a good restaurant. I guess in a lot of cases it's a good skill to have, but obviously it can be abused if you use it to stay in a bad situation that you don't really have to stay in rather than having the courage to make the change, like some crap job or a lousy relationship.|
Some of T's contrariness has got to be hormones and fatigue, and some of the rest is simply testing boundaries and pushing to see if he can just get rid of rules and make his ideal situation. And like I said, I really respect that impulse... the trouble is when it infringes on the lives of others, or equals reckless choices. (We're dealing with a lot more than just bedtime recently.) I believe that you have to be allowed to make mistakes in order to understand them, but I also feel that freedom comes with responsibility, so it's so difficult to navigate how to deal with these issues. All just to say that being a parent is hard. Sometimes I have the impulse to just totally jump on the "He'll just learn from his mistakes" train and let him do whatever and experience the natural consequences of it. And I guess we do that to some degree, but oh how much easier it would be if we just totally succumbed.
Wow. Hope I didn't bore everyone, but oh well if I did, I had to get it out. So much more about myriad other topics actually, but I'll save it for next time.