Sunday, November 20, 2011

Testing 1,2,3 ...

He's testing me and his dad a lot these days.

He says he's not going to Hebrew School ... and waits for a response, lolling idly on the sofa.  We ignore.

A few minutes later, he refuses to come put on his rain boots.  I give up on those -- that's an argument I can afford to lose -- and coax him into his room, where I put him in a cozy sweater and rain jacket.

A few minutes later, at the door, it's "I hate this day," and "I'm not going."  This time, he loses a sticker on his ready-for-school-on-time chart, and stickers mean something:  once you earn 20, you get a dollar to put in your piggy bank and save up for toys. 

He throws a mini-tantrum.  Then, when Dad gets stern, he starts to laugh.

Dad has had it.  So have I.  It's been testing, testing, testing ever since he's been awake, and it's not even 9 a.m.

Dad gets down to his eye level and reminds him we've told him many times it hurts our feelings when we ask him to do things and he laughs instead of taking us seriously.  Dad then proclaims, "No treat for you today.  Your sister will get one."  (She's been mostly helpful today.)  "Not you."

Another mini-tantrum follows.

We ignore.

Finally zipped up and ready to go, he stands mid-way between the apartment door and the elevator, trying to see what happens if he stays there.

The elevator is leaving without him and so are we.  Eventually, he comes.

We're in the car and he's buckled up and ready to go at last.  I caress his cheek with my palm, give him a kiss, put my hand in his, and ask if we can push the "re-set" button on the day and start all over.

Sheepishly, a little sadly, he says yes.  Then, in a soft, low voice, he says "I love you, mommy."  Which is lovely.  But he adds:  "I wish I could hold your hand all day."  This part, sweet as it is, I choose to ignore.  Because I'm not getting into yet another power struggle when I gently disengage my hand and shut the car door.  We're already late, and the last thing I want is for my six-year-old to put me through yet another test. 

It's "Your Six-Year-Old:  Loving And Defiant" all over again (see my previous post about the Defiant Ones).  I marvel at how this little boy, not quite 42 lbs, but all of them stubborn, can turn from willfully exasperating to heart-breakingly tender in seconds.

Apparently he's almost NEVER this way in school, and when he does get a bit crazy, all the teacher has to do is look at him and say his name -- no doubt using patented Teacher Tone -- and he snaps right back into obedient, even enthusiastic, student.  (We just had our Parent Teacher evaluation this past week, which is how I know this.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that classroom and watch him fall back in line with such a minor admonishment; I wish the teacher would come to my house.)

Well, an hour has past since the boy was marched off to Sunday school, and I'm hoping our reunion later will be a sweet one.  But the day will still be young.  How many more tests are in store?


William V. Madison said...

I'm reminded of the tests of the Emergency Broadcast System, that high-pitched assault on our nerves. Mercifully, your Things are much sweeter, MOST of the time, than our regularly scheduled programming ever was.

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