Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Patterns

One of the first things kids learn in math in school is patterns. It must be the foundation of all other arithmetic principles. It is worked into the curriculum even in kindergarten.

This must have worked because my kids are constantly finding patterns in the landscape of our life. Only last week Jackson found a pattern in being sick. They find it in food, scenery, at malls or even in people "Daddy, Mommy, Jackson, Sydney" is really "boy-girl-boy-girl".

We are in the mid point of our 10 week summer. It is a long weekend in Canada plus I have the Friday before and the Tuesday after off from work. It's a long stretch for me to be at home and not having too many specific plans.

Friday, my first day home, Jackson was suffering the ill effects of a non camp week and he was a little testy. He had issues with the computer, the timing of his food, who was in the room with him and whomever couldn't read his mind. Happily, as previously noted, he did rally halfway through the day.

Sydney on the other hand was quite reasonable and her adorable self. She was understanding that "we need to give Jackson a bit of space today".

Saturday, Husband and I determined we need a fantastic morning activity to ward off testiness so we headed to the beach. We were out of the house quickly and descended on the beach, still quite unpopulated at 10:30 a.m. Husband dropped the kids and I off with our gear (4 chairs, 1 cooler, 4 pails, 4 shovels and a few craft supplies). While Husband secured a parking spot the kids and I looked for a good place to perch ourselves.

"Where do you think we should put our chairs?" I asked democratically.

Sydney pointed to a spot that was, in my estimation, most unsuitable.

"That's not very near the sand". I pointed out. "And it's near that group where someone has a megaphone and someone put up a big picnic shelter so we can't see very much. And it's near the garbage - it will be stinky." I guess it was really piling on. I moved us another 50 feet to a spot by the beach in full shade. And tried to sell the fabulousness of this location.

"Look, you can see the water! And there is tons of shade. Sydney you pick where the chairs will go."

Pouty princess sat on the ground, back ramrod straight , arms crossed in a full Category 5 pout. She was non-responsive. I ignored her and shuttled the rest of our gear to our appointed spot. Husband arrived and Sydney agreed to talk (and not pout) so that we can negotiate the chair location issue. Somehow negotiation turned into parental capitulation and we ended up in Sydney's preferred location. I decided to model very mature behaviour and demonstrate a high quality pout myself which resulted in a legendary pout-off in which no one won. Jackson started crying and Husband was exasperated. (Eventually, we move to a neutral and mutually acceptable location on the beach).

Sydney continued her poutiness throughout the day when faced with grievous infractions such as the condition of her grapes ("they have scratches on them").

Jackson had a great day and generously agreed to "give Sydney some space".

Sunday, the J Boy was fierce. He barked at me that he was "busy on my DS" when it was time to leave for church. He was even grumpy over the flavour of the new peanut butter we bought and generally testy in every interaction we had. At one point, I told him that was entirely unacceptable to speak to anyone in that tone and I took away his DS which led to a 90 minute "incident". It was another low in the parenting cycle.

Jackson only pulled himself out of the abyss when I told him that we had a movie planned the next day and he would not be going unless he could find a way back to civilization. It took him 3 minutes.

Sydney was her charming self.

Monday, a scheduled pouty day, and Sydney woke up with a frown on her face. The choice of her clothes, the colour of her underwear, everything sent her stomping off to sit on the stairs, arms crossed and lip extended.

We went to see G Force (which I recommend) and we needed to see the 11:50 showing to see the 3D version and to be able to fit swimming lessons in later in the day. This meant eating a quick lunch in the car. While we did have a little issue with Jackson not liking what I made for him, he easily recovered and we all nibbled as we drove to the theatre.

After the movie, I asked Sydney if she enjoyed the movie "I don't like eating lunch in the car" she grumped. This was news to me. We periodically do eat in the car to accommodate activities and schedules. It's not like it's every day or even every week, but it does happen and I have never heard this complaint.

She pouted and threw things and harassed her brother. The rest of the day was the same.

Jackson had a near perfect day.

Today, day 5 of my days at home, and guess who woke up testy? And doesn't like any of the breakfast options, was gloating about some crazy thing with his sister and is generally on the edge?

Do you see the pattern? Testy-Pouty-Testy-Pouty.

My question is how have they accomplished the testy-pouty pattern with such ease? Are they having late night conferences to plan it? "Ok, so tomorrow, it's my turn. I'm going to hate breakfast, not want to get dressed and will not do any craft no matter how good it is. You be super nice to Mommy".

Okay after writing the above entry, the kids, who surely want to keep me guessing, have decided today is a testy AND pouty day. I now realize how lucky I was to have had one accomodating child for the past 4 days. Please send reinforcements!

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