Thursday, October 09, 2008

You Call that Funny?

Yesterday as the boys and I walked home from school, I decided to take advantage of Matthew's good spirits and talk to him about homework. I said, "Matthew, when we get home today let's get started on your homework right away."
He smiled at me and said, "OK, Mom."
I added, "And let's remember how it went yesterday and let's see if we can make it better today. Remember how you thought the work was too hard and you had a big fit about it? And you got really mad and wouldn't do your assignment? But when you finally settled down and focused, you got the work done quickly. And you told me it really wasn't that difficult afterall. Do you remember that?"
But I was thinking, I cannot handle another day like yesterday. I sure hope this little "talk" will be what he needs to approach the job rationally. He's really a smart kid. He should be able to hear my words, remember how miserable we BOTH were over homework yesterday, and make a better decision today. Please, God! Let today be better than yesterday!!!
He smiled at me and said, "OK, Mom."
I said, "Great."
But I was thinking, GRRREAT!!!
So, with high hopes for a peaceful afternoon, we finshed our walk home.
Upon entering the house I thought, Wow! This is going to be even better than I had expected! Elizabeth was finished with her homework and was happily reading on the couch. Joshua had finished all his work at school, and since his buddy just got a kitten Joshua was going over to his house to see the new addition. That meant - the house was quiet (i.e. The TV wasn't on.) so I could let Matthew do his homework at the kitchen table, rather than sending him to the dining room. (I usually have to do that because Matthew simply cannot stay focused when there is noise around him. He doesn't like being "separated," but there is really no other way to do it.)

Matthew got his work out, I gave him a pencil, and WHAMMO! the peace came to an abrupt end.

The homework was subtraction of three-digit numbers and Matthew thought it was going to be too hard.
I said, "Matthew, you know how to do subtraction. You can do this!"
But I thought, C'mon, Matthew! This is easy math. So you don't like to "borrow." Get over it! You can do this stuff!
But he wasn't thinking rationally. He started crying and yelling. Things escalated to the point that I told him he needed to go to his room for five minutes to get control of himself. But instead, he yelled at me again.
So I said, "OK, now it's ten. If you aren't out of the kitchen by the time I get to 'three,' it's going to be 15." *Note the absence of anything which resembles a gentle, soft-spoken tone!*
But I thought, Why does he get to go to his room for ten minutes by himself? I wish I could get sent to my room for a Time Out. This isn't fair. Hmph!
And I watched Matthew run to his room and heard him slam the door. I walked over the the microwave and set the timer for ten minutes. Then I looked at Elizabeth and sighed.
She said, "What?!"
I said, "Do you mean to tell me you didn't hear what just happened?"
But I thought, Man, that must be a really good book if she seriously just blocked out Matthew's tirade!
She told me she did hear him. But, whatever.
Yeah - It must be a good book!

When the timer went off, I went and knocked on Matthew's door then went into his room. I hugged him and asked, "Are you ready to come out and do your homework now? You seem to have calmed down."
He smiled at me and said, "OK, Mom."
And he came and sat at the table, and we worked out a problem together, and he finished the rest of the page in a matter of minutes.

As he was putting his paper into his homework folder, Matthew said to me, "Hey, Mom, isn't that funny? You said when I get upset I think my homework is too hard, and I can't do it. But then when I just decide to do it, I find out it isn't that hard afterall. And I get it done quickly. And that's what just happened today!"
I smiled at him and said, "Yeah."
But I thought (as I contemplated banging my head against the wall), Funny? You think it's funny? Oh, child, we've got to work on your sense of humor!

BTW, I am leaving tomorrow to go to Florida with my husband. He won a trip for two, and chose me! *grin* Have a great weekend. I'll be back next week!

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Jessica said...

OH Karen, this is too sweet. You sound like you handled it wonderfully.
So you're coming to my state? Enjoy! It's warm, humid with some nice breezes. And the occasional rain shower.
I hope you have a great time.

luvmy4sons said...

Have a great time in Florida...we all need to get away at times! I wish I could say I couldn't relate, but I CAN..and since I home mores ways than one! Also, hate to tell you...but your comments didn't sound mean and nasty at all to me! LOL! Sorry. Still not convinced you are not a sweet, soft spoken mommy!

Stacey said...

Just wanted to comment on the comment you left me....yes, I was referring to my hubby. And no, he generally does not stick out his tongue in pictures (ususally!). However, those who know my husband are fully aware of his ability to be goofy/silly/crazy. I say this with all-due respect for him though. Afterall, I knew him well and still decided to marry him *grin* So all in all, I was just being silly too! I guess I felt the need to explain :)
Have a great time in Florida!

JanMary said...

Great post - sounds just like our house during happy/homework hour.

Florida - have a wonderful time :)

My ADHD Me said...

Are you sure that it wasn't MyADHDME Jr over there? We go thru that exact thing here. It is SO difficult!! Maybe this afternoon I'll go to MY room and slam the door!

Julie said...

It's amazing what a little time alone in a room and a WILL to learn can do isn't it?

I have a son who I have had to send to his room for years to gain control of his emotions...."ANGER"....

It has always amazed me when he has come out of that time with himself to think.... His whole attitude is changed and he's ready to learn.... Amazing....

Thanks for stopping by the blog today to visit.
I enjoyed your visit AND your comments....

I also loved your video of the book. I can't wait to check out the book.

Blessings on your day,

Mrs. Sidney said...

Have a good trip.

Melissa said...

Wow - what a life lesson! Hopefully he'll remember that as he gets older.

Have a great trip!

Sandy Toes said...

Love this post...especially what You Though after about a sense of humor! I have one of those in my house, too!!!!! Sometimes right before he gets home...I just pray that this will be a peaceful night...he can do it but just gets frustrated!

Great post!
-Sandy Toes

Kris said...

Oh, girl...I feel for you. I've got one of those kids. Just be glad he's not a hormonal, PMSing 16yo girl!

Have a great trip!

Edie said...

Karen you handled this so well. Now do you have any advise for my 28 year old!? She won't go to her room or be NICE!!!

DADDY to the GROUP said...

Yeah, we have scenarios just like these at my house too....Its just another character building opportunity isn't it? Most of the time its building my character and helping me exercise my self control, and sometimes (on a good day) it may build a little character in my kids but for the most part...I would say its a mom character building activity...yuck! :) I sure didn't read the parenting fine print did I?!

Enjoy your trip to Fl.!!!

mamajil said...

UGh who knew my computer was logged into my husbands acct.....(the above comment from daddy to the group is from me Mamajil....) Have a wonderful weekend and as always I enjoy your blog!!

Alisun said...

Oh man this could have been my house just days ago. Forest would be the one to hear nothing and Brooke would be the fit thrower. Yep we had to subtract 3 digits also how funny! NOT

Amanda said...

WAy to stick with it mom!! Sounds like you did know best, and had the patience to see it through. And I totally agree about the whole, where's my time out thing???

You keep on keepin' little missy! ;)

God bless-

Chatty Kelly said...

Hoping things start getting better - homework ugh! We all go through that at times.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

As always I'm impressed with the way you handle things around your house. :)

Have an awesome trip to FL!

My ADHD Me said...

I wrote about you in my blog today. Of course you aren't here to read it.
Well, there's always tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you're only a day away.....or the next day!