Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This summer's mothering challenge

I have been writing this blog post in my head all summer; however, I've not actually put fingers to keyboard because I sound like an impatient, irritated, mean mom...and I do not want to embarrass my son.

But, truth be told, mothering is not always glamorous and there are times that I simply don't know what to do. This is one of those times.

Here it is...  So far, my greatest challenge in raising Zach is reconciling how this extremely bright child does the wackiest things.

For several years now, I've been scratching my head and saying, "What would possess you to do that?"  My tone is generally calm yet perplexed, but this summer I've found myself needing to walk out of the room before I say words I'd be willing to fight another person over.  At the age of three, this young man held an intelligent conversation with a space museum worker about Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffey.  You know who Neil Armstrong is, but these other fellas?  My son watched hours and hours of NASA documentaries before his third birthday!  He could read in preschool and was doing multiplication in kindergarten.  I have had to refer to Google during conversations with him since he was a toddler.  The other day, he told me that he didn't want to be baptized because "he didn't feel the Lord leading him to make that public declaration yet".  He is a mature thinker and super bright.  He has impeccable manners.  He is very responsible with things he values.  He's figured out how to concoct a plan and manipulate people into doing what he wants.  Yet...  Sometimes he can't figure out (or merely won't do) the simplest things!  He makes huge, inexplicable messes and stands (or sits) in the middle of them not knowing what to do.  He touches everything in site, all the time, and sometimes these things break.  No matter how many times he's told to stand back from fire, walk on wet pavement, go around puddles, or stay out of the mud, he inevitably does the exact opposite (yet finds biking downhill to be too dangerous!).  And...  He rode his bike out in front of a car the other day.

I caught myself saying, "Your baby brother can do this..." when Luke was just two years old.  I try so hard not to say that...but it's often the case.  To make matters worse, Luke is a totally independent self-starter.  He practically walked out of my womb saying, "I'll do it myself, thank you very much."  We have different challenges with Luke.

This summer I'm struggling with the overwhelming urge to say, "You're smarter than this."  I know that I'm not saying, "What you've done is soooo dumb", but I'm just not sure how either of these statements write on the heart of a child.  I've stuck with, "You know better...You know the rules...You know this is dangerous." but years of repetition haven't yet done the trick.

So...  I feel like I'm spending much of my summer nagging and walking a fine line between teaching my child and tearing him down.  I don't enjoy it.

Bryan keeps telling me that when Zach cures cancer, we'll understand that his mind was too busy processing more important things than, "Hang the bath towel" or "Don't flood the bathroom floor".  But we'll only get to this cure for cancer if he learns to look at traffic while biking and not fall into a campfire.

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