Friday, March 19, 2010

More Tales from the Twilight Zone

At the beginning of February, I blogged about the Twilight Zone. Jackson went, in the space of a week, from being the most impossible creature to live with on the planet, to a regular fun-to-be-with kid.

After that, Jackson had  a pretty good Olympic break, the break where Husband and I abdicated all parenting to Club Penguin.

Since that time, perhaps not uncoincidentally, we slipped into a wormhole and found ourselves back in the parental abyss. We've had a lot of trying times. Every freakin' night, the spelling homework is an issue. There is moaning, groaning and outright refusal. We negotiate, give him choices, lay down the law, nag, plead, beg and lecture, all without success.

He has become very proprietary about the computer, thinking that he owns the thing and talks of granting me short visitations to do things like email teachers, sign up for swimming lessons and print out the grocery list. Don't even get me started with the convulsions that begin when I try to make Scrabble moves on Facebook!

At night, our little night owl goes to bed not long before us and sometimes after us. That is not new. But he generally amuses himself, after a long Harry Potter reading session with Daddy. Earlier this week, he was coming into our room, initially to tell us about something he was reading, but ended up refusing to leave. There is nothing that crankifies Husband and I more than having our only precious minutes without kids (9:45 pm onward) eroded by a kid who won't leave us alone. Many cross words have been exchanged after the hour of 10 this week and last.

And so the despair sets in. We feel like we will never have any progress or maturity. The likelihood of Jackson being able to grow up to form healthy relationships and be part of a civil society, seems remote.

Then on Wednesday, Jackson was pretty happy. He did kvetch at me over homework, but that was 15 minutes of storm in an otherwise calm day. Dare we think the tide was turning? Did we find ourselves back through the wormhole?

Thursday, he was dropped at home at 5. He immediately, headed upstairs to his "Club". He's created a club and thinks it's going to make him rich. He made an announcement board taped to the banister upstairs that details exciting offers, asks for volunteers and tells of exciting upcoming events. He can get kind of obsessed over things like that where doing anything like eating or doing homework take a back seat.

But after 15 minutes of dealing with his club administration he said, in the pleasantest of voices "Mommy, could we do my spelling now?".

I simultaneously grabbed his spelling list and a paper bag so I wouldn't hyperventilate. He went through his spelling words and got one letter wrong on one word and we sorted that out (after all BOUQUET is hardly easy to remember). I TOLD him he could have a turn at the computer (instead of him muscling his way in). And instead of taking the throne in his fiefdom, said "Mommy do you want to play a game on multi player with me?"

So I played a game with him that I played very badly and then left him to play on his own.

The entire evening passed without a cross word from him. He easily turned off the computer at 8:30 and headed upstairs. After Harry Potter with Daddy, we heard him rummaging around but he bothered us not.

The last thing I said to Husband before I fell asleep was "Jackson had a perfect day."

When I went to get him up this morning, I suffered a great shock when I went into his room. Guess what he was doing in his pre-sleeping hours??
Yes, he cleaned his room. His clothes were laid out for school today, and his room looked divinely tidy, with only the Harry Potter book out waiting for tonight's reading session. And yes, the dirty laundry is in the dirty laundry basket. Very TZ.

Of course you have to be careful not to venture too far out of the easily visible areas.
(under bed)

What brought about this incredible turn of events where we have a kid volunteering for homework and room cleaning?

Well, I did make some very loud threats about not letting him see a movie that opens this weekend that he would be crushed not to be able to see (Wimpy Kid Diary). But that was threat #23,486 in the past few weeks, so I don't really understand why this last one was the one to precipitate such good behaviour.

But I am not complaining. Spring officially starts tomorrow. We have a gorgeous sunny weekend forecasted and I plan to soak up both the sun and the sunny disposition. In the Twilight Zone.

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