Tag Archives: carter

THAT Child

Yesterday my 4 year-old son became THAT child and Jeff and I became THOSE parents.

We had a big day of service projects at my church instead of having church service.  My job required me to stay behind at the church building to lend a hand in the techy aspects of things.  Jeff was out helping a family move.  We left Evan with my parents since we were going to be there for about 6 hours.  We thought Carter should surely come so he could have fun playing with the other children.

About 15 minutes into the day, I get “delivered” my child.  If you are a parent, you know this term and the feeling of dread that ensues.  It’s the we-can’t-handle-your-child-do-something-about-it-before-you-bring-him back delivery.  Well, I’m trying to work so I’m really not feeling it.  The word is that he hit another child, got put in time out and then did it again.  So, I tell Carter to sit while I finish what I’m working on.  Because I want him to sit and because he will do A.NY.THING to get our attention right now, positive or negative, he did not sit.  In fact, he gets up and starts to walk away.  I’m in the production booth and there’s a room full of people loading Oper.ation Christ.mas Child boxes.  I stop what I’m working on and talk to him about hitting being unacceptable behavior and how we treat our friends and listening to the teacher.  You know, all the things you’re supposed to say when your child hits another child.  Per the teachers request, he’s going to have to apologize before going back in.  I ask him if he would like to apologize and return to class.  He says NO.  His face is full of anger and defiance.  The only other choice is to sit with me.  Of course, he’s 4 so he adds in an extra choice of running away from me.  I get him, take hi in the bathroom and give him the spank.  I hate the spank and it never does an ounce of good, but I continue to go there in those dire cases of “must snap him out of this immediately”.  Stupid, really.  The anger level goes up and the likelihood of apologizing and going back to class falls significantly.  We leave the bathroom and he walks right back into his class.  I pull him out and tell him that his teacher would like an apology for his behavior.  Refusal.  Screaming.  Tantrum.  At this point, we’re drawing a lot of attention to ourselves.  I need to get him out of there.  So, I go get the car so he can sit in there and cool off.  I bring the car right in front of the front door so I can see him and take him out there.  He doesn’t like this choice, either.  Tantrum ramps up.  The arms and legs join the game and now I’m getting hit.  And the screaming is really loud and he’s planking in his car seat to make it impossible for me to put him in there.  I have to kind of lay over him to get him in.  I’ve never seen my child act like this and now I’m crying.  Thankfully, after about 30 minute of going back to talk to him and check on him every few minutes, he does calm down and want to come back inside.  I bring him in, we have a little snack together in the production booth.  All is well and he’s ready to go back to class.

I take him back and there’s a shift change in teachers.  I hear “if he does it again just take him back to Mandi”.  I used to be a teacher and that’s code for: you don’t have to deal with this child if you don’t want to.  Nice.  He stays in there for about 20 minutes then they take the children outside to run around on this huge hill beside the church.  I watch them go outside and I’m thinking that unorganized craziness is probably not going to be a good thing for my child.  He was brought back to me a few minutes later for playing too rough.  The girl who brought him to me said “Tell your mommy you were a Bad Boy.”  Let me tell you, I do not EVER believe in calling a child bad.  Children are not bad.  Children are gifts.  Behavior is bad.  Choices are bad.  In the nicest way possible in front of this young girl, I asked him not to tell me that he was bad, but that he was behaving badly.

So, again I’ve got my none-too-happy son with me while I’m trying to set up the auditorium and lobby for lunch and talk with the caterer.  He’s trying to run out the front door, across the parking lot and back to the fun on the hill.  People are staring at me because I’ve been unable to do anything with my ill-behaved child.  And can you believe that some people will actually laugh at you while watching you struggling?  That didn’t set well with me at all.  I assure you, from my perspective it was quite the opposite of funny.

By the time Jeff returns, we have had countless issues and I’m sure the expression on my face said it all.  He takes Carter and gets him to eat something, but ends up taking him out into the lobby.  I hear tears from Carter and he ultimately ends up in the car again until time to go.  I didn’t need to ask what happened.

I think probably the saddest part to me happened via the Facebook later in the afternoon.  The girl who said my child was bad posted on the wall of the other children’s parents about how sweet/precious/fun/well-behaved their children were.  Of course, I got no such comment.  As a parent, we want our children to be liked and accepted.  To me, this felt like a big label being put on my child’s head.

I’m realistic, though.  I know my child was misbehaving.  I can’t know from his perspective why he acted the way he did or what could have been done for him to make it better.  But I’ve taught long enough to know how children who are labeled as troublesome get treated.  And I know that’s not going to do anything for my son.  As his parent, I have to take the full responsibility.  What have I done wrong?  Where have I failed in teaching him how to treat others?  Have I kept him in too long?  One way or another, changes have to happen.


Come Together

For some reason, blog posts almost always generate a song in my head.  This one is from the Third Day song “Come Together”.

We had a crazy night last night.  It was short-lived craziness, but crazy nonetheless.  I feel compelled to write about it because of the way Jeff and I handled it.

Being a new parent is a daunting task.  Not only has your marriage completely changed and redefined itself, but you’re both also trying to figure out what in the world to do with each seperate issue that comes up with this new little person.  With the first child, I think that these things continue to come up throughout each stage of their lives.  What do we do about scheduling?  How do we get him to sleep?  Why is he crying so much? to… How do we keep him off of the fireplace?  How much tv should we let him watch?  Who should we allow to keep him? to…  Why is he screaming on the floor?  What should we do for punishment?  Why in the HELL HECK won’t he poop in the potty?  It continues.

I have to admit that I’m a planning control freak give us props and say that we did talk a lot about a lot of issues ahead of time.  There were so many things that we were prepared to handle when they came up.  We had our “playbook” down pat for the first 2 years.  Now, things are changing.  This whole discipline thing is starting to get the best of me.  More than ever, we have to make sure we’re on the same page.

Anyway…back to the crazy night.

We ate dinner at Co.rona’s after church last night.  I notice Carter is acting a little punchy coo-coo on the way over.  I don’t know how to explain “punchy coo-coo” other than to say it’s how my son acts when he is reaching the point of exhaustion.  Some behavior examples in this transitional stage from okness to total meltdown are: baby talk, shutting his eyes when you speak to him, kicking his feet and other mildly annoying toddler things.  So, I’m mentally preparing myself for what may be coming in front of about 30 of my closest friends from church and my MIL.

We sit down to chips and salsa.  Carter dips into the spicy stuff.  It’s hot.  He’s “got fire in his mouth”(his words) and there are no drinks yet.  MIL offers to go to the car to get his bag.  I’m certain he can wait a minute on the bevs to come, but I can see on her face that she thinks he’s in dire need of a drink.  She gets him a bottle of water from the car.  He takes a sip, sits it on the table then knocks it over with his menu.  Deep breath.  Clean it up.

Time passes.  Orders are taken.  Carter decides to get out of his seat.  Just so you know, that’s a no-no.  During a meal, you stay in your seat.  I tell him to get back in his seat.  I get that stare.  The one that 2 year-olds master.  It’s a stare of defiance and of stone-cold resolve to NOT do what you are asking.  So I play my cards.  “Carter, get back in your chair right now or you are going to have to sit in a high-chair.”  Same stare.  Follow through coming.  I go get the highchair and put him in it.  I’m feeling the stares from my MIL.  Hers is different.  Hers is the I-can’t-believe-you’re-going-to-do-that-to-that-sweet-boy-you-evil-mommy stare.

(On a side note: there are two types of people I hate to discipline in front of–good friends and family.  Hmm…I think that just about leaves me at home.)

He’s in the high chair.  He’s starting to cry.  We move on.  Then, a few minutes later I offer him a chip and he hits me.  No amount of “Stop” and “I don’t like that” is affecting him.  Jeff and I change places.  Things are good for a while.  Carter gets sleepier.  He rubs his eyes.  He rubs and rubs and rubs his eyes.  He rubs them some more.  He wiggles.  He lays over.  He kicks.  He cries.  He rubs his eyes some more.  He cries louder.  Jeff moves him away from the table.  He rubs his eyes.  He cries.  Jeff brings him back to the table and takes him out and holds him.  MIL asks if she can help.  Jeff says no.  He cries louder.  MIL asks if she can walk him around.  Jeff says no, but not so nice this time.  He cries and kicks and wiggles.  MIL asks me if she can take him home since she’s done with her meal.  I say ask Jeff.  She asks Jeff.  Jeff says no along with some other comments that did not make the blog cut.  MIL leaves.  I finish eating.  Jeff lets me take Carter.

We go to the bathroom and wash his face, eyes and hands, but he’s still rubbing them.  I take him outside to cool him down to give the other guests relief of the screaming and I literally have to hold his hands away from his face.  More crying and fighting.  Jeff comes outside after he’s done and takes Carter so I can go in and pay.  I give him the lowdown and hand him off.  He puts him in the car and pulls up beside the door to get me.

On the way home we talk and give little sad laughs about how the night went.  I ask if he told anyone goodbye.  No.  We laughed.  But what struck me, what gave me a warm feeling on the inside, was the way that we DID NOT argue with each other.  We DID NOT take out any frustrations on each other.  We did not look to the other expecting them to fix it or have all the answers.  There was a definite feeling of “we’re in this together”.  After it was all over, we could still smile.


The Best Part

Carter visited my parent’s house and came back decked out in tennis gear.  He had to come back home to get some tennis shoes before beginning his tennis match.  The conversation about sports in this video is pretty funny, but the best part is at the end when the cat craps in the background.