Monday, January 16, 2012

I Know All That

The Hooligan got into it a bit with a boy at his preschool last week. The Hooligan is, in fact, a hooligan. But he is a sweet and tender hooligan and he doesn't really fight much. Most of his shenanigans are of the self-directed, quietly making a gigantic mess or very bad decision variety. He's not an aggressive child, so I was a little surprised to hear he'd had a little tussle at school.

This is how the Hooligan told me about it:
"Hi Mom. Charley and I developed a friendship today."
"Oh really? How did that come about?"
"Well, first we argued and then we fought and then we hugged each other and made a nice friendship."

So we talked about it for a while and he seemed OK with the outcome. He had no idea what started it or why they were arguing, they just suddenly were. Then he said:
"You know, I am friends with Charley now, but he's really annoying."
"How so?"
"Well, he picks on my lunch and he sticks his tongue out at me all the time and he tells me that he can run faster than I can."
"So, what do you do about that?"
"Well, sometimes I just ask him to go away. Sometimes he doesn't listen when I ask him, so I sit there and pretend that I am being very quiet and still, but inside my head I am shouting so loud. Do you know what I mean?"

I know so well what he means that I cry. My Hooligan is my least expressive child. He'll tell you magnificent stories about spaceships and aliens and trains and ninjas that go on and on, but he doesn't often let on about what he's feeling. He's a lot like me that way.

Today was one of those days where I pretended to be very quiet and still, but inside my head... so much shouting. Some of it mine, some of it other people's, some of it justified, most of it not, all of it overwhelming.

So, I'm going to follow the advice I gave my Hooligan:

Ask it nicely to stop.
Play something different.
If that doesn't work, get help from an adult you trust.
Remember you can always tell someone about it before it gets too much.
Don't ever use your hands or feet to express your anger.

My Hooligan looked at me with his little 5-year-old eye-roll: " I know that, Mom. I know all that already. I'm just saying that sometimes it's hard to do what you should do."

I know, baby, I know.

23 comments:

  1. Wow. An insightful 5-year-old. Sometimes it is hard to do what you should do. Sigh.

    pudge. My word is pudge. Seriously? Back on the bike I go ...

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    1. Yeah, he kind of freaks me out sometimes. I don't know what I'll do when they figure out they are smarter than I am.

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  2. Sweet kid. Sweet mom. Great Smith's reference! ;)

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    1. Thank you. 158 points to you for catching the The Smiths reference (that can't be how you write that.) That song is pretty much about my wee boy.

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  3. Smart little guy you have :)

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  4. #4, to tell someone before it gets to be too much, is probably the hardest...to say, "I need help", is so very very hard. It's also the one that, when honored, provides the most relief. Be well.

    Inglumog. Do something with that, will you?

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    1. Amen and thank you.
      Inglumog is going to get used, trust me.

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  5. My father reported a similar exchange with my then ten-year-old son, who was being paid to help Grandpa pull weeds in the garden. After working for an undisclosed amount of time, Ben complained that the work was hard. Grandpa's response was to point out that, "Yes, it's hard. That's why I'm paying you to do it. " Ben: "Oh…"

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    1. If my monkeys take nothing else with them from my house into adulthood, I want them to at least remember that the hardest things in life are often the things for which we don't get paid, but that the reward far outweighs anything material.

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  6. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to remember or accomplish. I often find myself learning through my children's struggles, and reminding myself through my advice to them. Thanks for sharing- this one hit close to home!

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    1. You're welcome. One of my biggest fears as a parent is being a blowhard hypocrite - they can see straight through that stuff. I get so annoyed when they don't listen to me but then have to ask how often I actually listen to me, either.

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  7. They are so full of wisdom, aren't they? Hope the day got better. I've had quite a string of shouting inside my head days lately, so I can completely relate.

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    1. They are, aren't they? I'm constantly amazed by the stuff they have figured out. I just hope that they don't scramble it all in knots as they get older. Hope your shouting quiets, too.

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  8. Ah. He's a wise one. I like the Hooligan.
    I too hope the day got better..there's always tomorrow. And tomorrow's always brighter!

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    1. Thank you, darling. We like him, too. :)
      And I've got to say that hearing from you always brightens my day.

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  9. I wish I had read this several hours earlier, but I'm glad to have read it, period. What a precocious, brilliant young man. And what a perceptive Mama to see the connected story and share it with us. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, thank you. Such nice words. I'm glad you read it, too.

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  10. Wise little guy, your little boy. I wonder from where he got such wisdom? ;)

    Having spent a lot of years one way or another with small children, I can say that they do say the most insightful things. Their eyes see what we are too glazed over to see. They have not developed the defensive layers and the protective shell so they say what's on their mind. I like listening, really listening to them. In fact, you will still see that innocence in many middle school children. If you can sit with them away from their peer audience and listen to what they have to say, you can learn good things.

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    1. Thank you. I agree with you about children. It feels like my personal mission as a mother to keep those eyes "unglazed" as long as possible. I appreciate you and others like you who really listen to children. My mom used to teach middle school and often said that they were very similar to 3 & 4 year-olds when they forgot themselves for a minute.

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  11. Such a sweet young boy. Such a wise mom. I appreciate the gentle interconnectedness and the overall authenticity of this post. Thank you for both.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading and for such amazingly kind words.

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Thanks for reading and taking the time to say hello!