You know those kids who talk and talk to any grown-up that will listen? We all feel so sorry for them and assume that they get no attention at home from their parents. Well, my oldest son proved this is not always the case. He got more attention from adults at home than most kids because we spent some of his earliest years living with grandparents. I don’t know if it is due to this, or simply an inborn personality trait, but he demanded attention ALL. THE. TIME.
He always hated it when I would sew because it took more of my concentration than most household duties so I could not interact with him as much. He would run by and pull on the fabric or try to steal my scissors. Finally, one day he won. I quit sewing for quite a while after he grabbed the pin cushion and ran all through the house throwing out pins behind him laughing maniacally. I combed the carpet for more pins for an hour!
Another thing he hated, was when I tried to watch TV while folding laundry. He constantly turned off the television and tried to swipe piles of folded laundry onto the floor. From the time he was about three until he went to Kindergarten I was turning the TV back on and carefully protecting folded piles from him. Just a couple years ago, two of my younger children destroyed all the neatly folded piles of clothes on the couch by pretending it was a pile of leaves to jump into. I started to lose it and then suddenly remembered how I used to have to refold some things every single week!
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Church had always been my son’s least favorite place to be, and we spent many services in the cry room. I eventually realized that getting to go to the cry room was his objective, even though I never played or let him get down from my lap while we were in there, and frequently spanked him as well. So, I resolved to stop taking him in there when he was about four years old. My husband and I agreed that he was getting well past the age that it should have been necessary.
He did NOT agree with us and suddenly made it his life’s mission to be removed from the sanctuary.
He would misbehave and give me a devilish look and whisper, “Aren’t you going to take me out?”
I would ignore him.
For the next year or so, he spent most Sundays at church intentionally drooling on my skirt, then outright spitting on me, and placing his teeth around my arm ever-so-gradually increasing the pressure until he was biting me. He would also get ahold of a few strands of my hair and pull it slightly, then a bit harder and harder. I would always be unable to completely ignore it at some point and have to grab his jaws or hand to make him stop, but I never took him out. He never became loud, which would have forced me to take him out, but for some reason, he only did very quiet naughty things.
One evening after a particularly bad experience at church, (I’m sure you know evening church is ALWAYS worse no matter what kid), I asked him, “Why do you behave like that at church?”
He incredulously responded like it was the most obvious thing in the world, “You are both right there and won’t pay any attention to me!”
We, of course, explained the purpose of going to church and why we ‘ignored’ him there. I will not claim this was magic cure moment, but after that talk, his behavior did improve slightly during church.
This is a series of stories about my oldest child. During his early years, I spent my on-line time reviewing symptom checklists for a variety of behavioral disorders, and I was quite sure we would have to send him to military school one day. I was completely defeated by his behavior on many occasions. I have long struggled to find the right way to share these stories on my blog. I finally decided just to write them as they are, with no great revelation about their impact. (Though a couple do include a follow-up disciplinary technique that worked!) My purpose in sharing these stories is three-fold. I hope to provide a good laugh, to give a thank-goodness-its-not-just-my-kid OR an at-least-my-kid-hasn’t-done-that feeling, and also to instill hope that your ‘that’ kid can turn out to be as amazing as mine someday. He still drives me somewhat crazy, but at 18 he is a great person with a bright future (and was not sent to military school)! Some personality traits that are horrific in a young child are pretty dang awesome in a teen ready to head out into the world.
Want to Read More Posts in this Series?
That Kid Who HATES Shots
I am the mother of seven children ranging from teens to a toddler, living out in the middle of nowhere, USA. I aim to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out. I am Christian, but not the really nice kind that is good at it. I am also conservative, but I promise not to be in your face with political agendas very often. I like to infuse humor into my writing, so don't freak out if you are offended or appalled by what you read here. There is a very fine line between serious advice and sarcastic hyperbole.