Monday, November 9, 2009

Sticks and Stones

alt 2009-11-7 132

As a seventh grader I was having a hard year. Now that I look back on it looks a lot like depression, but we were calling it puberty--puberty that gave me head aches, nausea, dizziness, an inability to feel happy, lack of motivation, etc. I spent most of that year staying home from school, I did the homework that my mother picked up for me, and returned for me. When I did go to school it, and I, was far from pleasant.

One day, on the way into my science class, I was complaining. "Ughh, I hate this class. If all we are going to do is read from the book why do I have to be here. Its not like Mrs. listens to our questions, or even tries to answer then." Well, she over heard me, wrote me up, and called my mother. I may have been unpleasant, but I was not a trouble maker. I thought she went overboard. Being written up was for people who hit the teacher, not the people who complained.

I admit, I was harsh, and I did feel guilty. I never complained about that class or teacher at school, keeping it all for my mom to hear. And, boy did my mom hear it because it seemed like this teacher couldn't forgive my complaining and had it in for me for the rest of the year. And, if you think this is just exaggerated memories of a seventh grader you can ask my mother who did most of the communicating with the teacher for the rest of the year.

Well, since seventh grade I have been critical of adults who take children's comments too seriously.

And now I'm the adult and taking the comments of a child too seriously. I know this child doesn't fully understand what he is saying when he tells me what he thinks of me. I know this child does love me when he has been screaming and crying non-stop for Daddy for the last three hours. It is driving me crazy. I just want my nice boy back, that one who cuddled back. That one who was helpful, and interested in what I was doing. That one who at least responded when I talked to him.

I'm at a loss of how to get him to understand he can't continue doing this. When I try to stop it I feel like I am caring too much about my feelings, and then the other end--too validating of his feelings and thus perpetuating the problem. I usually end up ignoring it and him, which doesn't seem to bother him because no amount of my attention or cuddling has changed the situation.

The truth is, the reason it bothers me so much is because I feel guilty. I was good at nursing and working at the same time. The days I worked from home I typed around his little body, and worked while he slept. It was heart-wrenching to leave my infant and go to the office, but when I got home I sacrificed myself to make up for it letting him stay latched-on as long as he wanted. I'm not good at nursing and keeping a three-year old engaged in something other than TV and I'm not good at nursing and doing the "thing" (like cleaning up toys, etc.) myself with a little help--like we used to before the baby came along.

I don't need, or want to be the favorite parent. I just want to be a favorite parent.


Mick said...

Being the favorite parent isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Dani Grigg said...


what is it about 7th grade? it was my worst year, too. everyone was mean.

Mindy said...

Can you nurse and read at the same time? Maybe don't feel bad and keep the TV off for a while, see what he does. That's a tough one...let us know what works when it does.

Heidi F said...

Amen sister! Where do the darling parts of our little ones go? They seem swallowed up in exploring and testing everything...but I don't want to wait until they get through these toddler-then-teenage times to exchange that happy parent/child love again. :) Anyway, it seems you are doing well in thinking it through, reflecting and enduring!! Way to go and keep on keeping on. :)

Tammy Lorna said...

Oh Brecken, I'm sorry :( I'm not a mother, so I really don't have any advice for you that might help, but I'm sorry you're both having to go through it. Sounds like he's finally getting into the stride of the terrible twos (a year late!), and you and I both know it's hard to go from being the blissfully happy 'only child' to one with a sibling :) But still, I'm sorry you're both going through it. And he really doesn't mean the horrible things that fly out of his mouth (No godson of mine could). At least, he doesn't mean them with the finality that it's tempting to listen to them with.

On the upside, he's not trying to throw Simeon out the window. I knew of a little girl who kept trying to throw her new sibling out the window - so it could be worse :)

Sorry Brecken. I hope things get better soon. I love you, and I know he does too.

xo Tammy

PS. Have you tried singing to him? Music always calms me down, but he may be beyond that at the moment :)

Tammy Lorna said...

PPS. Beautiful beautiful photo by the way. I really love it - it totally catches the essense of your post.

Jessica said...

At least Reuben hasn't started calling Simeon "Nobody" yet.

I'm not a parent, but I do have to deal with 200 kids, 75% of whom hate my guts. I've decided that it would be impossible to be a teacher if I took offense at everything my students said to me, but it does get to me sometimes. Between teaching, grading papers, and planning lessons, I probably work about 13 hours a day, and when I hear my students complaining about my class to each other, or telling me they hate me to my face, it gets a bit old. On the other hand, there are the nice moments when a student says "thank you" or "I'm really learning a lot in here" or "Don't let the jerks in this class get you down" and those comments make it all worthwhile. (And for the record, I have never written any of my students up for telling me that they hate me.)

One of the unfortunate things I've found in life is that it's often the people we love the most who we treat the worst. I'm not sure how to solve the problem other than to say "hang in there". I hope things get better.

Sandy M. said...

Oh Brecken! As trite and hackneyed as I know this sounds, my heart bled a bit for you as I read your post. I'm sorry you didn't always have happier school years. I'm sorry that you're feeling hurt with some things now.

I didn't and probably still don't have your wisdom - I've always taken (anything negative) our children have said and done way too much to heart, so I don't have any great ideas on how not to!

Except - do you know that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Harrison Ford and his 'dad', Sean Connery talk about what an absent father he was - never there for Indy, and how lonely that was? 'Dad' basically replies: "Nonsense! I was a wonderful father!" "When?" asks Indy, and his father never takes a step back, but insists that he was a great dad. That always makes me laugh with envy - I wish I could be that confident and guilt-free!

It's hard anytime. It's really hard when they're teenagers.

I have considered though, that loving someone so well and not being appreciated for it is possibly a tiny taste of what the Saviour had to, (and still has to) endure. Perhaps I do become a little more like him when I continue meekly to give my best love even to those who deride, ignore, and are even sometimes hateful.

I am sure that you are a good Mum! As long as you can feel that - and feel that Heavenly Father agrees, I don't see that anyone else has much of a leg to stand on, do you? :)

emilysuze said...

It amazes me that children know exactly what to say to hurt a parent the most. I'm with Jess, I only have experienced this vicariously through the things students would say to me and it was so hard to not take every criticism and harsh word as a direct attack on me. However, I had the luxury of going home at the end of the day, crying on Chris's shoulder, and pumping myself up again before I saw those kids again the next day.

It's hard, but it sounds like you're aware of the situation and that you'll make it through this. And then, someday when R has little ones of his own, he'll go through this same thing and realize how much you loved him even on his rotten days.

Keep up your great work with your two beautiful boys!

Lark said...

Alma 37:37 “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day”

Pray with your son when he is out of control. Let him hear you ask the Father to help you know what to do and let him hear you ask the Father what he needs.

About the seventh grade. I will have to tell you the rest of the story. Parts you never knew and parts you may have forgotten. The teacher didn't call your mother. Mother went to a conference and ask why her daughter thought she was not allowed to ask questions in science class. This very immature women scolded "I don't have time for questions!" That was only the first clue to the many weaknesses of this teacher. In the teachers adolescent way she told about her hurt feelings over hearing students didn't like the class. Your mother could write several pages about the bad experiences she had with this women who had never grown up and should not have been teaching 7th and 8th grade.

Rena Hoyal said...

I sometimes read your blog and I'm glad that I do, because it lets me know that there are other people out there going through the same things that I am. We experienced a big change in Jarek when Adelynn was born (he was just over 3 years...he is going to be 4 the end of Dec.) He just seemed different when the baby came. He acted up, didn't cuddle as much. I wondered too where my sweet little boy went. Just let me say, time has helped, everyone had to adjust to the changes that were happening. Mom has to split her time and the once little boy has to grow up a bit. I have seen that Jarek now knows after 8 months that I am still there for him if he needs to cuddle or spend time with him (just learn to read when he is asking or not asking straight out---he may be asking in his tantrum or his quietness) It will get better....keep on praying like your mom says too. I hope this helps. Thinking of you.