Monday, March 19, 2007

Monkeybutt and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad...Writing Assignment

I realize I probably should update you all: Katie did very well driving, and we're both alive. Obviously. Good job, Katie.

I had an interesting parenting moment this evening. I've noticed that most people use pseudonyms for their children here (whether they be affectionate or not); I'll use my sister's name for my son here. So my son (we'll call him Monkeybutt) is doing homework this evening. Spelling, which means, of course, writing. There is little Monkeybutt despises more than writing, barring, perhaps, a poke in the eye with a red hot needle. So he tends to zip through his work with nary a care, or correction. In fact, when I question him, I find he doesn't even understand the directions, he's just writing random words in the slots. Now the fact that he had 80% of it correct didn't matter, he didn't actually know what he was doing. So I set about to explaining the assignment to him, he freaks and tells me I'm not supposed to help him (which actually means, "I don't want to know what to do here; just leave it alone so I don't have to actually think"), and then covers his ears and refuses to listen. A raised eyebrow and a mild threat later, he has uncovered his ears and begrudgingly listens (and understands, go figure) to the instructions and corrects his mistakes, then goes up to change for bed. Now my mother has listened to all of this, practically sitting on her hands to keep from slapping him one (admittedly, I had that same impulse, but quelled it as well), and wonders aloud why I would take that kind of disrespect from him. Now Monkeybutt has his moments, but has been growing into himself and truly has become a more delightful and respectful person to be around. I also recognized that his refusal to listen to direction stemmed more from his desire to be done with the assignment, rather than any disrespect. But, I admit, she has a point. It was ridiculous that I let him get away with that behavior. So I call him back down, say something to the effect, "I get that you hate your homework" which starts him anew on the unfairness of it all, etc...(like I never did homework), and Mom got up and left the table so she would keep her mouth shut. I then informed him that whether or not he cared for the assignment, the way he spoke and acted was disrespectful and should he choose to act that way again, he would learn a new meaning for "consequence"...(something like that.) He says he's sorry, goes back upstairs, and Mom comes in. She actually says she admires the way I handled the situation.

Why, you ask, do you bore us with this milelong description of a petty argument with your son? One: it was the most exciting thing that happened today. Seriously. It freaking rained all day and I babysat - whoa. Second: It illustrates two interesting developing aspects of my relationship with my mother and my son. My mom and I can coexist and I can parent - her input is certainly helpful, and she rarely criticizes. And I can surprise her with my own developing parental wisdom (and ability to hold back from whacking my kid upside the head). Oh - and my son can be a pain in the...


Z said...

Your writing style is fab! Glad to know Monkeybutt is still amongst the living. You and Katie, too, for that matter. Knowing how to drive stick-shift is a must.


J said...

Great job on handling the situation!! I know how hard it can be to walk that line between knowing what's disrespectful and what's "I hate my (fill in the blank)". Congrats on balancing this situation so well!