Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nine year olds seem to think everything is boring.

It seems like, with parenting, as soon as you get the hang of one phase, you have a whole new beast to get used to.

My son is newly nine.  It seems like, sometimes, nothing is good enough.  He's constantly disappointed with a decision I make, with where we're going, what we're doing... It's exhausting.  And to be honest, I've been taking it personally.

Coen and Lucy and I have had a lot of time together this weekend. Yesterday I took the day off because they didn't have school and I mentioned in the morning that we could go to a pumpkin farm.  "No!" Coen protested. "That would be boring."
"It won't be boring!  They have a corn maze and a playground. It'll be fun."
"I don't wanna go!" Coen said, barely looking up from his Legos.
"I wanna go! Let's go now!" Lucy shouted, jumping up and down.
I sighed.
I promised Coen there would be no rushing, and that we wouldn't leave until after lunch, when they were bored.  True to my word we headed out after lunch and they both had a great time.
"See?" I said to Coen. "I told you it would be fun."
"Well I didn't know it would be like this!" Coen said.

Today Tad went to Madison and we went to spend some time with friends, our original plan being to go the Domes.
"I hate the Domes." Coen said.
"Hate? That's a pretty strong word."
"Well, I don't like them. They're boring."
Is everything suddenly boring at age nine?
We missed the Domes boat due to their 4:00 closing time and went on a haunted walk through the Greendale woods instead.  Coen questioned everything our teenage, uncomfortable, zombie tour guide said.  After it was over his Coen's grandpa (president of the Greendale Historical Society and volunteer at the event) asked him how he liked it.
Coen's reply: "boring."

Not only does he think everything is boring, but he also talks back all of a sudden.  Yesterday at the pumpkin farm when I said it was time to go, Coen said "No."
WHAT?  No?  What the hell.  Since when does he say no to me.
And sometimes he even calls me Alie.  Sheesh!

And you know how that is when you're with a friend who you respect, who you think is an incredible parent..and then your kids acts like a big jerk face in front of that friend.  And you feel sort of bad and sort of inadequate.  Because during these times of disrespectful, rude or just plain annoying behavior, I always wonder what I'm doing wrong as a mom...  But you know, I came home with that feeling tonight and I did two things that made me feel better.
1. I called Tad
2. I called my mom.
And I thought about a few things.  My friend is my friend who likes and respects me no matter what my kids do and I know that like any parent, she's been there. We have all been in a moment when our kid is not acting like....well...our kid and we know that all this stuff, however hard and weird and impossible it normal.  And also there's this...

When we were at the Pumpkin Farm and Coen said "no" when I said it was time to leave...  I didn't freak out or yell at him.  I took a breath and walked towards the exit and stood there. Within moments, I heard Coen say "Lucy. Mommy is waiting for us. We have to go." And they both came.

Today when we went to dinner after the walk, I went up to Coen and put my arms around him.  He melted into my hug and wrapped his arms around me. When I pulled away, he hugged tighter and gave me a kiss. "I love you Mommy." he said.

But you know in those moments, I never think wow, what am I doing right.  I think, what a great kid.

Parenting is hard.
Being nine is hard too.

And who Coen is...who he grows up to be... It's not all based on my parenting.  It's part how he's parented, it's a dash of environment, circumstance and experiences.... And it's the rest who he is.  And who he is is a great kid...a great person...who's nine.  And learning about social filters, parental control, and asserting who he is respectfully is part of his job as a nine year-old right now.  And teaching him that is part of my job as one of his parents.

Jeez. I better get some sleep.

Coen holding Lucy on his lap down the slide at the pumpkin farm because she was afraid to go alone

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