Friday, December 12, 2008

More Thoughts On Ben

Benjamin is my five year-old who has been the subject of many a frustrated rant here in the blogosphere. I am exhausted to the core by parenting him but he is teaching me a lot about my true self- the one who lurks in my soul-the extremely independent little girl who wears her heart on her sleeve and is prone to tantrums from time to time.

The Christmas season has us bustling, Ben and I. We've spent most mornings this week shuffling between the grocery store and Target- but really just keeping busy- which is how I am parenting him these days. So we chug-along, singing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" about one hundred times in a row (this is his favorite song- mostly, I think, because he believes that old St. Nick is keeping an eye on his behavior and he's a little worried about the outcome...) Our worst moments come when there is a lull in the day and he feels listless and bored. While my other kids are content with watching T.V., reading, building with legos or even baking, Benjamin cannot seem to function under those parameters, and will begin abusing everyone around him or taking his life into his own hands by writing on the furniture or the walls with a Sharpie. He has an extremely high need for activity and I struggle to provide that, along with caring for his one year-old brother, and his older siblings, when they are home from school.

Today he nearly exploded in Costco, begging me to buy him a snow shovel. Reluctantly, I caved-in to this request, knowing that we probably needed another one anyway. Donning his usual Power Rangers costume, he proudly carried it out of the store, neglecting to bonk anyone on the head or butt in the process (whew!). And ya know what- he shoveled our entire walk-way and sidewalk before kindergarten! And loved every minute of it.

I have begged God to provide me with an instruction book on how to raise this son of mine, but I think the answers exist in places I am often not looking. Ben needs tasks that involve exerting his whole being- this isn't convenient for me as his mother, but this is who he is right now and our harmony is dependent on me respecting even the parts of him I that I feel I don't have the energy for.

Benjamin and I on a warmer day, last August.


Rachel said...

Based on the previous post -- I bet he'd love to learn to play drums. It'd be hell for you, possibly, but he'd really, really, really get to use up some energy.

Second thought: any boy who can shovel the whole sidewalk needs more chores. Laundry, sweeping, vacuuming -- the hard stuff. Make him work. If he gets out the sharpies, make his (adorable) little ass scrub the walls.

This is why my son does the toilets in our house. If he won't practise aiming better, well, he can clean up after everyone, every week.

Then, reinforce the work-y goodness by praising him as your helpful, wonderful boy. He will eat it up.

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