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Ruling the Unruly

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I just forget what it’s like, having a kid’s perspective. Michael…he is truly a conundrum. I just wish I could understand where his thinking and rationalization comes from, because he utterly befuddles me.

I don’t buy pop (er, soda, for you non-Burghers.) It’s expensive, it’s all sugar, and it rots your teeth as well as your stomach. But we have company for the holidays who do drink pop, so I bought a few six packs for them to enjoy while they’re here and decided to treat Michael with a six pack of his favorite root beer so he wouldn’t feel neglected. (Heaven forbid!)

My child. He is an only child (well, his half-sister is 24 and lives in Massachusetts, so he’s technically growing up as an only child…) As such, he really has no competition for the treats and things I buy just for him, although his father will every now and again dip into M’s stashes only to reap a scolding from me. I buy certain things, treats, if you will, for each of us: unfrosted brown sugar pop tarts, beer, and mixed nuts for Bill; fruit snacks, Capri Sun, string cheese, and Goldfish crackers for Michael; organic granola cereal, greek yogurt, an occasional avocado, and mixed berries for myself. Perhaps it’s because my brothers never respected my things growing up that I’ve gotten so adamant about my rule of ‘Don’t eat my stuff, I don’t eat yours!’ But I will go off on the offender for crossing treat lines, and I admit, it’s not pretty…

Anyway, I digress…Upon bringing pop into our house, I issued the decree to Michael that only one can of pop is to be consumed within any given twenty-four hour period. I laid down this law because my child would most certainly consume all six cans as fast as humanly possible and then demand more. I’ve observed this gruesome gluttony with his fruit snacks as well, child briefly turned chipmunk, stuffing two or more packs of fruit snacks in his maw all at once, cheeks bulging with their burden. He’s done this ever since he was little…and I can’t understand why. No one else threatens his fruit snack stash–they’re not going anywhere but he has to eat them as if they’re the only fruit snacks he’ll ever enjoy on earth!

I caught him trying to sneak a second can of pop the other day, and not even two of his root beer, he had snagged a Sprite for his succeeding drink. Fortunately I busted him before he could pop the can open and insisted he return it to the fridge, upon which began a rant and raving of how unfair I am, so mean, it’s just pop! He was thirsty! There’s water, milk, Capri Sun, orange juice…plenty of other options at his disposal….But that pop! He couldn’t bear the temptation…he had to have a pop!

Okay, I understand the ‘Gotta Have It!’ mentality, because if there’s chocolate in the house, it taunts me unmercifully until I eat every last bit…So I don’t buy chocolate other than in single serving size. I know my weakness and I avoid that trap as best I can. Am I expecting too much of my ten year old?

It’s just that he refuses to follow rules. Not just when it applies to how many cans of pop he’s allowed to consume in a day, it’s every other rule his father and I have laid down for him since the day of his birth. Don’t chase the dogs in the house. Don’t take things that don’t belong to you. He has a folder of mom approved websites he’s allowed to play on and he’s only to play on those specific websites. Yet, when he thinks I’m not paying attention, he’s off and playing on other sites, or Googling or You Tubing girlie pictures and videos–oh yes, busted!! And he’s only ten! And that was when he was nine! I so have my work cut out for me…

But back to the pop (I’ma ramblin’ today…do try to keep up!) Due to his little outburst over my incredible audacity to limit his daily sugar intake, I sent him to his room for a time out and requested during his time in solitary that he write for me a paragraph explaining his inability to follow the house rules. I am completely perplexed at how to get through to this child, so was hoping for a little insight on just how his brain works in this regard, this thinking that Michael is allowed to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, regardless of what I or his father or teachers have to say.

More grumbling and arguing and fussing ensued, ranting wanting to know what to write, as if I was supposed to give him the answer to that which has ever eluded me?! Finally he settled down and took to the task of writing his paragraph. Only, when he delivered his given assignment, it wasn’t a paragraph explaining the perplexity of his inner mind when confronted with ridiculous rules and regulations, but rather a letter requesting that the pop limit rule be changed to allow him not one but two cans of pop a day so he can, quote: “be comfy!” End quote. Oh, he went on to explain the reason he wanted a second pop was because his sister wasn’t at the house that night (she was visiting other friends, how dare she!) And how “Pop is addictive!” Another quote. Again, implying that it’s not his fault he tried to sneak a second can of pop–it’s Sissie’s fault for not being at his side twenty-four hours a day while she’s in town, and the addictive quality of the pop–he’s just a kid after all! And to square up the whole deal, he drew two smilies, one him and one me, with a heart in between, labelled ‘Forever.’ What do you do with that?

Apparently you don’t buy pop.

 

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