Teenager vs. Aunt Heather Part 3 – Flexing the Attitude

Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.  ~George Orwell

Kyle at Latrobe Airport for his birthday 7-31-10 Aunt Heather Piper

A happy Kyle at Latrobe Airport ready for his flying lessons – 9th birthday. 7/31/10

So far in my last two posts, Kyle has been giving me major attitude and disrespect.  I got him a math tutor that he didn’t want and feels he didn’t need, even though he tanked Algebra II last year, and now I was waiting to pick him up for church, which he clearly was resisting.

Waiting for the bus to drop off my little man,  I greeted him with a big smile, trying to ignore the tone he had already set while talking to him briefly on the phone prior, while on the bus in route.  Kyle smiled and headed straight for the house.  I told him to grab his homework, we had to go.  In all reality, I had somewhere I had to be at 4:30 pm and we were cutting it close, plus I was suppose to be on a conference call for work.  I mean my life doesn’t always revolve around Kyle, unbeknownst to him.

What did Kyle do?  He ignored me and left me out in the driveway for an hour!  Yes, you heard me right.  I was sitting in a hot car, waiting on Kyle, in the very hot sun, till I felt sick.  I banged on the door, still trying to keep my cool, even though I was boiling and now nauseous with a headache from the sun and heat.  Kyle argued with me till he finally came out.  I asked, “Did you bring your homework?”  He rolled his eyes, went back in the house for another fifteen minutes and came out with a piece of paper.  I thought, “That was all his homework?  Okay, whatever.”  During our brief conversation while he was on the bus, I stated to grab all your homework.  In fact, I believe on Sunday, I told him when I was picking him up, to grab ALL his homework.  There was no issue on Sunday with the plans, but know there was.

On a side note, if Kyle did that to ANYONE, made them wait on him, let alone in a hot car in the sun, I would have had him moved his butt out the door before he hit the fifteen minute mark.  But then again, I respect others and I try to take others into consideration.  Kyle’s actions was not respectful and teaches him to be a self centered, rude child to only turn into the same type of adult.

While making our leave, Kyle began the argument fest again, “Why do I have to go to church?” and “Why don’t I have a choice?” and “Why do I need a tutor?”  I’ve always been very truthful with Kyle, whether he wants to hear it or not.  Seriously, I’ve never lied to him, with the exception of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, which I came clean on years later.  Always being upfront and honest with the kid was my demonstration of showing respect and the right way to live.

Anyway, I explained to Kyle, his dad, my brother Ryan wanted him to be raised Catholic.  And as his godmother, my job is to ensure he has a close relationship with God and is spiritually healthy.

Lila-Aunt-Heather-Piper-8-1-15

Me & my cousin Lila. She’s my little protégé … A little Heather Piper in training… At Mikey’s wedding 8/1/15

Obviously, Kyle didn’t like those answers and did what I hated the most, he kept repeating himself, without even giving me a chance to explain and kept interrupting.  He didn’t want answers, he wanted to complain and get his own way.  Then, he argued, “I was raised Catholic, I was Baptized and I had my First Holy Communion.”  I couldn’t help but give a little chuckle.  That’s the answer of an uneducated child who thinks he’s an adult, but is only fourteen.  I said, “Kyle, you weren’t raised, you’re not grown up.  And those are milestones to reinforce your faith.  You have a lot more learning to do.  Plus going to church reinforces your faith week after week so you don’t forget.”  That was followed by, “Why don’t I have a choice?”  Actually, I corrected him, stating he does, if he chooses another church, I will support him, but he can’t just not choose God and abandon Him altogether.  Kyle’s comment, “Why not, I’ve done good so far.”  I was very upset by that comment, stating, “Really you think your life was led this way because of you?  And you don’t need God?”  He shrugged his shoulders not having an answer.

If later in life Kyle decides to abandon church and his faith, then that’s his decision, one I tried to build his spiritual foundation to get him through life, to make honest and moral decisions.  Kyle asked when that was, I laughed a little and said, “When you’re eighteen.”  Okay, I did giggle over that, but I meant it.  He retorted with a, “What?  That’s by law!  Why not before that?”  I simply stated, “It’s by law you can make your own decisions, I didn’t make that rule.”  He was furious!

As we were cruising along, he said, “I have a lot of homework to do!”, which was his battle cry from the time we spoke earlier on the phone.  I reiterated, “That’s why I told you to bring ALL of your homework.”  He snapped back at me, “Well I don’t have it all.”  WHAT?  I slammed on the breaks, now ready to loose it on this kid.  I was already late and at this point, we were going to miss mass.  I turned around, and made him get all his homework.  He took another fifteen or twenty minutes, making me wait.  Obviously, that was Kyle’s way of getting back at me, which I didn’t appreciate, but I was thinking of the bigger picture and what was best for him.

His whole demeanor was less than favorable, even though I promised him I would never yell at him again, I was ready to explode!  I reminded Kyle of this fact, and I also stated that I didn’t appreciate him raising his voice at me.  He was practically yelling at me.

Once we headed out again, Kyle dictated, “You’re going to take me to church and then bring me right back.”  What?  Is that what he said?  It was, word for word!  First of all, who made him my boss, and who ever gave him the right to speak to anyone like that!

It was a struggle the entire forty minutes to Latrobe (counting traffic).  I told Kyle to get off of his video games. (he started to play on his iPhone) If he had that much homework to do he could get started on it now, as opposed to wasting valuable time on video games, especially since he made a big issue about church.  He wouldn’t listen.  I was loosing it big time.  He spat, “Why?  I don’t have to listen to you, you can’t tell me what to do.”  My response?  “Yes you do and looks like I just told you what to do.”  That kid actually puffed out his chest as if physically threatening me!  I was not having it from a little snot nosed teenager with an attitude problem.  I smacked him on the top of the head and took the phone right out of his hand.  (My reflexes are faster than his)  His response?

“YOU STOLE MY PHONE!”  Are you kidding me?  I merely told him I have his phone because he’s now grounded from it for the night.  He yelled like a crazy person, and stated I couldn’t ground him.  I said, “Looks like I just did buddy.”  Keep in mind, I have yet to yell.  My tone was even but very authoritative and unwavering.

I don’t know where all this was coming from, but it was intense and very disrespectful.  I was not going to back down.  Like I told Kyle when he was a little man, “I invented stubborn and you’ve met your match!”

Kyle at Idlewild c. 2003 Aunt Heather Piper

A young Kyle at Idlewild Park, Jump’in Jumgle in Ligonier for Gutchess Picnic. c. 2003

The best part?  Kyle said I was ridiculing him.  Really?  I asked how.  His response.  “You keep calling me names and ridiculing me!”  My response?  “Kyle, you’re acting like a jerk, so I will call you a jerk.  What name would you like me to call you while your acting like this?   I’m not ridiculing you,  I’m not making fun of you, I’m stating a fact.  You’re acting like a jerk.”  He didn’t like that comment either.  Of course, I knew anything I said, unless it was something he wanted, was futile.  For some reason, he wanted to take his aggression out on me and in his eyes I was his enemy.  However, in all reality, I was the one who loved him the most.  Anyone else would have caved in to his demands or sent him back to not deal with him.  I chose the harder route, one for his benefit.

I drove us to my parents house, partially to cool off and because I thought Kyle might straighten up for my dad.  The entire ride Kyle spat, “Take me back, NOW!”  Nope.  As we pulled into the driveway, I said, “You go in and give Pappy a hug.  He didn’t do anything to you.  Be nice, he misses and loves you.”  What did Kyle do?  He stayed in the car for a while, wouldn’t come in, and wouldn’t begin his homework.  I was beside himself.  I went out and warned him, “You’re not going anywhere until you do all that homework.  Do you understand?”

What did he do?  He went into the house and began looking for his phone straight away, with his superior attitude.  Prior to that, I explained the entire situation to dad.  Dad was beyond furious and at his last end with this kid.

Dad called Kyle into the living room and the major attitude, in the form of a teenager, stood before my dad acting tough, but I saw his lower lip quivering.  During the conversation, Kyle stated he didn’t want to come to the house anymore.  I knew those words really struck Dad in the heart.  Dad’s tone was strong and very intimidating.  While listening to him from the other room, I felt like a kid myself getting in trouble.  Dad’s voice dripped with anger and yet there was definite sorrow behind it.  Something I’m sure Kyle didn’t catch.  Then, Dad brought a tear to my eye when I heard him raise his voice stating, “You see that picture (on the mantel) THAT’s YOUR DAD!  WE’RE YOUR FAMILY!  Do you understand that?  So you better start treating us a little better!  After everything we’ve done for you, you act like this?  Kyle, I’ve always done EVERYTHING for you and you treat us like this?  Fine if you don’t want to come here anymore, then you don’t have to!”

Turkey Coop 9-6-15 Aunt Heather Piper

Our turkey coop at Mom & Dad’s. 9/6/15

What did Kyle have to say?  Nothing.  He walked out of the house.  I found him doing homework sitting on the wood pile.  I could tell logic wasn’t strong with him that day, for he should have moved his homework to the deck, but whatever.  I got dressed for church and said, “Let’s go.”  Without another word, Kyle got in the car.  I handed him his youth group t-shirt, the one everyone was wearing for mass.  He actually thanked me.  That was a step in the right direction.  (Previously I explained the process to get him the T-shirt.)   He put it on without saying much.  Another step in the right direction.  I stated that I’ll give him his space and sit in the back of the church, while he sits with his youth group.  No comment.

After leaving church, we were welcomed to stay and enjoy refreshments and snacks in the church basement.  I gave Kyle the option and he opted out.  We went back to my parents house, since it’s closer and I told him to finish his homework and once he’s done, we’ll leave.  He came in the house, never entered the living room where mom and dad were sitting, sat at the kitchen table and finished his reading.  He was a bit antisocial, but more than that I think he felt bad and awkward due to his outburst earlier.  Upon leaving church, his attitude did make a huge adjustment.  Perhaps he had time to reflect.

Upon completion of his homework, Kyle managed to give my parents a dry emotionless hug before we headed out again.  After hugging dad, he kind of looked like he wanted to cry.  Yep, like the Grinch, his heart was growing.

Keep in mind, Kyle still didn’t have his phone, nor did he know where it was located.  I had it now in my pocket, and I thought a nice gesture would be for me to give it back.  However, just as I was handing it over he said, “Now where’s my phone!”  We were almost there!  Umm…. I told him to watch his tone.  I gave him the phone but he wasn’t allowed to play any games on during the ride back.  He did his standard, “Why?”  I told him because he was grounded for the night and out of good faith I gave him his phone early.  He listened and placed it in his pocket making sure I couldn’t get it again.

On a side note, he was like an addict with that phone.  Truly!  A little alarming.

The ride was quiet.  Partially because I found Kyle dozing off, very unlike him.  Just before I dropped him off, I found out the night before, he was up till midnight doing homework because he had band practice till late.  That explains part of the attitude, he was tired, but it doesn’t explain what he was saying.  Of course, I’m aware he’s a teenager with no logical thoughts or actions sometimes.

Kyle did give me a hug and let me kiss that chubby little cheek of his.  He also gave me a nod in affirmation as if stating “I love you too.”  after I spoke those words.

You know it’s always situations like these that really makes me stop and reflect on my actions and questions if I’m doing right by Kyle.  I was told by a friend of mine, “Stick to your guns and do what’s right, just make sure they know you love them.”  I hope Kyle knows that, for I interject it when possible, even when I’m gritting my teeth trying not to grab him by the scruff of the neck.

How is Kyle now?  That past weekend he was really good.  He even helped me and Dad finish building the turkey run.  I didn’t even have to ask.  How much longer do I have with this teenage attitude?

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Video Games & Games and have No Comments

Negative Attention is Still Attention

Children need boundaries and ground rules.  When children don’t have structure, they makeup their own rules and negative behavior is what they use to get your attention.  ~Jo Frost

Kyle-on-quad-cleaning-branches-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle wouldn’t walk around when we first trimmed the fruit trees… he would only help by driving his quad…check out the flames on his quad!

It’s no secret that I like attention, that is only when I want attention.  Actually, I  probably lived for this type of recognition more so when I was younger, and now I could care less.  Sometimes I wish I could blend into the shadows, even though it never works.  Especially if I’m running around in my jp’s (jogging pants) with an old T-shirt and boots.  Now that’s a look!  In general, I must stick out like a sore thumb.  I know I do wearing an outfit like that.  Well maybe not, if I’m in Walmart.  But I’m not here to discuss my attention gaining personality, nor my attire.  I want to discuss my sidekick, Kyle Piper.

Kyle is the same way!  He loves attention!  No matter what kind of attention, positive or negative.  I know he’s just a kid, but he thrives on it something awful.

When Kyle was a little tyke, around a year old, maybe a little younger he would do this thing that absolutely upset everyone.  I’m guessing he felt like he was being ignored.  Now come on!  Seriously?  A cute little baby boy, the only grandchild in our family and the son of my recently deceased brother, ignored?  Now I’m not saying that is or isn’t the case, but certainly not from my family.  In fact, we probably were the opposite and gave Kyle too much attention, if there is such a thing.

What was this horrible act?  If I would set Kyle on the floor or if he was just sitting there playing and he noticed we weren’t paying attention to him, he would drop his head down to the floor, stop it before it hit, and then lightly bang his head.  Then, he would cry and hold his recently bumped noggin.  At first we would immediately respond to the unusual act that unfolded before our eyes.  One of us would run over and pick him up and consul this traumatized child.  That is until this happened too frequently to count.  Eventually, we would make it a point to ignore our center-of-attention-deprived child.  As he would continue playing the same show, we noticed he would look for our reactions, not getting much from us.  I take it that was his cue to maneuver his way over to our always open arms.  Naturally we would pick up the “wounded”, but no one ever dared mention the head banging.  I remember one time, I said to Kyle as he was holding his head and crying crocodile tears, “Then don’t hit your head and it won’t hurt.”  Even though he couldn’t talk, I knew he understood what I was saying.  Smart little kid, the whole thing was a set up.

The first time my sister saw one of Kyle’s performances, she gasp so loud and raised her voice to say, “Ahh O no!  Aunt Heather!”  as she pointed to the self destructive child.  I saw what unfolded and realized Nicole never witnessed this behavior before.  In a very blasé manner, I replied, “Nicole, don’t watch him!  He’s been doing that.  It doesn’t hurt him, he stops himself before he really hits the floor.  Without him knowing, watch next time, his head barely touches the carpet.  Just pay no attention or he’ll keep doing it.”  Nicole, clearly upset did as instructed but was not happy.  To reinforce what we were doing was right I told her, “When Kyle doesn’t get his own way or what he wants, he’ll go straight to the floor and act like he hit his head.  I don’t care, he’s not getting his own way.  He doesn’t dictate orders and he’s not seriously hurt.”

Kyle-at-Jims-sawmill-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle hanging with his pappy at Jim’s sawmill

On a side note, that’s almost too funny.  I actually remember saying that, and look at us now, Kyle does dictate orders.  We don’t always abide by them, but he does own us.

This act of getting attention has evolved over the years, but the goal remains the same.  Now it’s not always negative attention, even though that does consume the majority of the time.  Sometimes he goes out of his way to really be good.  When he does this, he always points it out.  There is no fear of missing Kyle doing something good because he always states the case.  He likes being praised and recognized for his work and efforts.  Example time!

A few years ago mom and dad were making sauerkraut and Kyle and I were helping.  The entire way through the process Kyle kept saying, “Am I doing good pappy?  How am I doing Aunt Heather?”  This is where Kyle really differs from the family.  We don’t need constant positive reinforcement.  In fact, we really don’t give it very often, only when a job is done and done well.  My theory is, if I’m doing something wrong, I will be told about it.  We are not a shy family about blatantly spitting out the truth or our opinions.  I guess Kyle is different, not about spitting out the honest truth or sharing his opinions.  He does plenty of that, but in regards to needing positive reinforcement.  Even while we were butchering up dad’s deer from this past season, Kyle would say the same thing, “Pappy how am I doing?” and so on and so forth.  Admittingly, I will say I have no patience for that need of constant appraisal.  Now I am not a tyrant, I do respond to Kyle, calling out his good work, but I have limits and I have no issue with saying “Kyle!  Yes buddy you’re doing a great job and we appreciate your help.  I don’t need to tell you that every two minutes.”  Sounds harsh, but I want Kyle to be secure when he’s doing anything and not always needing someones approval.

Sometimes I swear Kyle moves so slow, not really to get on my nerves, but to get my attention.  I know for a fact, that he moves like a snail when getting dressed to take the dogs for a hike, because he doesn’t want to go.  And let’s not forget two weekends ago when Kyle and I were both helping my dad trim back the fruit trees.  It was snowing on us as we worked, only because a cold day is needed so the fruit trees don’t bleed out.  I get it, it’s not the most exciting way to spend a Saturday morning but responsibilities come first.  Once dad cut down the branches, all we had to do was drag the manageable sized trimmings about 50 feet to a burn pile.  Granted we did need to help dad load up the quad with the saw and supplies, but really it wasn’t too taxing.  Completing the job in about three to four hours total, for this long overdue project was not a horrible sacrifice.  Would you believe all Kyle wanted to do was stand by dad and oil his saw when needed, which wasn’t very often, while I dragged the brush?  Are you kidding me?  I even told him if he really worked hard I would omit the hike with the dogs for the day.  Even when making a deal with him, that kid complained the ENTIRE time and walked as slow as he could, trying to do as little as possible.  I swear if he moved any slower he would have been standing still.  Literally, I walked circles around him, going back and forth with the brush.  Boy, his dad would have NEVER tolerated such behavior!  Ryan was an extremely hard working person, and I mean manual labor.  And to have his son, be the complete opposite while the rest of the family picks up for his slack would have never gotten past the first whine.

Stickerhead-Kyle-11-18-13-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Mr Stickerhead… Kyle always loved stickers! 11/18/03

As we moved through the day, Dad even tried to lighten the mood by calling him a Sasquatch, and teasing him about the speed in which he moved, like molasses.  He continued on c0urse, except I did catch Kyle snickering, as if he was really enjoying this attention that we were giving him by joking around.  I about lost it and grounded him from cartoons, the computer and his ipod.  If he picked up the pace and stopped moping, I told him he could redeem himself.  Nope!  He continued at a snails pace, with a miserable ‘poor me’ attitude.  Once we got back to the house, Kyle pouted about his punishment, but it was almost as if he wanted to be separated from his electronics.  Whether he enjoyed the sulking or that was his way of showing me he needed attention and restricted from those devices, I have no idea.  There is one thing that I know for sure, even though he was in trouble, he was truly enjoying the attention.  Naturally, everyone was lecturing him on hard work, and pitching in and helping out the family, the standard speech.  He is too much!

A few weekends ago, and come to think of it, this past weekend Kyle was on this kick of making really annoying noises.  The clicking or tapping kind.  He even started doing it in the car, just subtle repetitive knocking, while he would give me a sideways glance.  He didn’t think I saw, but I did.  I let it go, until steam is escaping my ears.  Kyle’s getting good, he knows my limit for patience and tolerance.  He was being annoying the other day and I went to backhanded his shoulder or gut and didn’t realize he was bending over.  I made a direct hit with his forehead.  We both got a chuckle out of that one.  That’s how I know his behavior is more about the attention then the item in question.

You know it’s funny, but I remember doing the same thing as a kid.  Once I had this juice cap top.  The kind that would pop up when the seal was broken.  It might have been from Snapple or some other juice.  Regardless, it had this unique sound that I loved.  I would walk around clicking it and clicking it.  Sometimes, if I didn’t want to listen to Nicole while she barked orders at me, I would just click the bottle cap at her and walk away.  Clicking it in Ryan’s face was just fun to get a rise out of him.  He was like Nicole pretty laid back, until seriously pushed.  Although, even though I really enjoyed clicking it to be irritating, sometimes my intent wasn’t to get on everyone’s nerves but to enjoy this unique sound it made.  That is until one day it went missing.  I know Ryan or Nicole had something to do with its disappearance.  These little moments show me how much Kyle and I are really alike, except he did and still does get ALL of our attention.

Kyle-in-sand-at-Bruce's-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle playing with is cousins at Bruce’s picnic.

Surprisingly, or maybe not so, Kyle’s attention grabbing behavior is just a way to show he misses us and wants to spend time with the family.  This past weekend, my sister was home.  Kyle was up her butt and needed her to do everything with him all weekend.  She couldn’t just sit and relax because he was like a leach, a whining one.  Other times, I think Kyle is just board and wants some activity, even though I do keep him pretty busy.  He gets on these kicks of playing chess, which I encourage.  No one else will really play with him except me, only because my parents don’t know how to play and my sister really doesn’t like playing.  Yet he will walk around nagging everyone, because that’s what he wants to do, and he wants the interaction of the family.  Usually if we’re talking about chess, I’ll bite.  Kyle knows I enjoy a good game.  Again, I get it, he’s just showing us how much he loves us.  We truly love having Kyle around and spending time with him, even on the irritating days.

Even when Kyle is not seeking attention, he gets it.  Like anyone needs to fuel this already blazing fire.  I will admit, it’s almost always due to a good dead or a thoughtful action.  Others notice his behavior and want to praise him.  I guess I should be proud of that attention, which I always am.  I just don’t want Kyle’s already large round head to grow anymore.  My fear of Kyle failing in life because of his own ego or attitude is very real.  That’s why I try to knock him down a peg or two, just to keep him in check with reality.  No matter what, I love him very much and I’m so proud of the little man he’s become.  Maybe he’ll grow out of this need for attention.  It took me a while but I did, well kinda.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Lego Obsessive or Driven

One essential to success is that your desire be an all-obsessing one, your thoughts and aim be coordinated, and your energy be concentrated and applied without letup.  ~Claude M. Bristol

At-work-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle & mom at Gutchess working 6/2/12

Last weekend Kyle decided he wanted this new Lego. Of course, he is all things Lego and forbid if he didn’t have ALL the Lego’s.  I picked Kyle up after school on Friday and from the minute he walked out the door and got into the car, he started talking about this Lego he wanted, apparently it just came out in May.  Now I will give Kyle credit, as we were in route, my mom called and said a tornado just touched down in Ligonier, not far from where we would be intersecting.  Leaning on the side of cautious, I wanted to be prepared in case a wind cyclone decided to explore the Greater Latrobe area.  Actually, our drive was kind of eerie, there was no wind at all.  Usually with light rain and the warning of a tornado, I would think there would be some wind.  Nope, I was even examining the tree tops, nothing.  No swaying or motion of any kind.  It almost felt like the car was moving faster than reality, or like everything around us was in slow motion.  Now, if there were no cars on the road I would have been a little geeked out, but since there was traffic I felt safer in the numbers.  At one point I thought about deviating to my house, which was closer, to wait out the tornado warning, but eventually chose to maintain our course of action.

Kyle was a trooper, being a worry wart that he is, he kept his cool.  He would toggle between talking about Lego’s and building with his friends and watching the sky for a twister.  What cracks me up, between everything going on in Kyle’s mind, he would randomly manage to say, “Ok Aunt Heather the speed limit is 45, I think we should go 40.”  I wasn’t speeding or coming close, but he wanted to call it out.  Then he started asking me about hydroplaning.  Deviating from the Lego conversation long enough, we talked about driving in snow and rain and uncontrollable dangers.  I told him, “Wait till you start driving, I’ll teach you to drive in the snow and ice like Gigi taught me.  She took me to the mall late at night when the weather wasn’t great and let me speed through the parking lot and slam on my breaks and slide around till I gained control.”  He gave me a shocked looked.  I said, “Doing that taught me how the car feels when sliding and how to counter act the steering wheel.  There wasn’t anyone in close proximity and we had the space to slide around without getting hurt or doing damage.  That was the best lesson I’ve had on driving.”  Then I probably went into too many details, cause I mentioned “You will have to react in a car situation, whether it be sliding on ice, snow or hydroplaning and I want you to be as prepared as possible to react without freaking out.  It’s unavoidable, it will happen to you a least once.”  He looked like a deer in headlights.  So maybe that’s why every time we turned onto another road, he informed me of the speed limit.  At one point, there was no designated sign and he said, “O no Aunt Heather I’m just not sure what speed we should be at?”  I smiled and told him “Sometimes you just have to use common sense.  I think since it’s raining, the roads are slick and there is a possibility of a twister, let’s be safe and take it slower.”  He concurred.

Once we made it home safe and sound, and he was ensured his Gigi and Pappy were safe, Kyle started again over the Lego’s.  It went on ALL night.  In fact, at one point he started pouting because he couldn’t see how he could possibly raise enough money over the weekend to pay for this $100 Lego that he had to have on Monday, for the last day of school.  Now me being me, and not a sensitive person, especially talking about a kid who has way too much, I kind of ignored him and reiterated that most kids don’t have as much as he has, not to mention the amount of Lego’s he’s acquired over the years.  In fact, I yelled at him to stop pouting. Ya right, I don’t know what good that did, it’s like asking a kid to sit still, it will never happen.  Well, it didn’t, Kyle continued to mope and sit in his own self pity, which really struck a cord with me.

Kyle-counting-money-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle counting his money for the new iPod Touch 64 GB

However, by the next morning Kyle must have had an epiphany, because he was on a mission to find or earn that money, no matter what.  He was driven, starting at 6:00 in morning.  I think I’ve mentioned it before, we are morning risers, so I was up around 5:00 am or so and his early morning rise is not shock me.  Actually, he usually asks me to get him up as soon as I get up, knowing I don’t let my head stay on the pillow for too long after the sun rises.  From the minute we turned on the lights and made our way to the couch, he stared plotting and planing out his mission.  He began to fulfill his quest by outlining the work he wanted to do and by digging up money, from everywhere.  Even the good old pig got a shaking, where he found another $30.  My sister asked me how can that be, and to be honest I have no idea.  I thought he wiped out the pig when the iPod Touch…Mission Accomplished! was purchased, but I guess he kept some money in reserves.  If only our government could learn a lesson from my ten year old nephew, so when the money is needed the pig isn’t drained dry and earning the money through good old work isn’t out of the question.

Kyle approached my mom and dad regarding work to earn enough resources for the Lego.  Ironically, mom was going into work on Saturday to get caught up and she had a ton of filing that needed addressed.  Perfect job for Kyle, learn the workings of an office, spend some time with his Gigi and get my mom organized!  On a side note, I have no idea why there is so much filing, I guess they never heard of digital files and servers verses paperwork, but whatever.  He even learned what an adding machine was, although I’m not sure who still uses those.

Throughout the day, Kyle did dishes, dusting, sweeping, and he even offered to stack wood.  In the rain no doubt!  That I had to speak up and say no, not while it was raining.  But I’ll tell ya what?  He did it!  Between earning and finding the money he had enough for his Lego.  Now starts the true obsessing.  First of all, ALL day long on Saturday that’s ALL I heard about and moving into Sunday.  Kyle went with me to take the dogs for our weekly hike through the woods.  For three miles that’s all I heard about, the Lego he wanted, and how he planned to bring it to the last day of school on Monday, for him and his friend Jacob to build.  I’m glad he was excited, but come on Kyle!  He seriously couldn’t focus on anything else. Nothing!  So for an hour and a half of our hike, plus the remainder of the day Kyle talked about this Lego and all it’s parts and how much money he had and how much he needed.  I was getting tired of it.  I’m not saying that I don’t get excited about things but even mom had to agree, that as kids we were never this obsessed.

Lego-cake-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle's Lego ice-cream cake when he turned 10 7/2011

Finally by Sunday morning, I started to loose it.  I said, “Kyle we are not a family that is revolved around money and I don’t want to hear it any more.  You have enough Lego’s and you’re lucky I’m entertaining the idea of you spending the money for this toy!”  He instantly said, “Ya I know Aunt Heather but I just really want to build it and show Jacob my new Lego.”  He mentioned that Jacob got a new Lego too, but he couldn’t imagine how he got the money for the purchase, he said, “He must have earned the money some how, but I don’t how.”  Really?  Was that his concern?  I don’t think so, it was the idea of a new Lego.  Again, I’m happy for his happiness but give it a rest already.

Kyle even planned out when I was going to take him to the store on Sunday.  This was my last straw.  Except, I stood corrected when mom and I were waiting for Kyle in the car after church, he had to serve.  She mentioned that if he was good, she would run him over to the store to see if they had the Lego.  So now I was forced to fulfill mom’s promise to encourage her grandson’s fixation.  Using church to prove my point is not the right thing to do, but I wanted to prove a point.  Once Kyle got in the car I asked him “What was the reading about?”.  I’ll be darned, he told me about the Gospel, in detail, paraphrasing of course.  I was truly impress, assuming his one-tracked mind was focused on all things Lego during the entire mass.  I must admit I was very impressed, and proud of him!  Kyle was able to focus when the opportunity arose, either that or he was in cohorts with God to prove me wrong.

Once we walked the isles of the store looking for THE Lego, Kyle’s face turned into one big frown.  They didn’t have it.  But did that stop Kyle? No!  Once we got home he began to do his investigation and found which stores locally had the toy.  Not only did he get the skinny on the whereabouts of this coveted piece of plastic pieces, but he also started to check prices and print coupons.  O my goodness, nothing was going to stop him and he was going to save money while he was at it!

We’ll needless to say my mom did eventually take him to the store and alas to his disappointment,

Logan-Kyle-&-Seth-Aunt-Heather-Piper-

Logan, Kyle & Seth first day of school - 5th grade 8/2011

Toys-R-Us didn’t have it.  Mom had to place an order and have it mailed to the house.  So when they got back, Kyle started to worry if it would rain on the day the box arrived, in case no one was home to receive it.  He said, “The directions would get all wet and would be ruined.  Then I won’t be able to put the blocks together as per the instructions.”  O my!  I rolled my eyes, sighed and walked away, all patience spent for a year.

I wonder if Kyle is just driven or is he obsessed?  He most certainly has drive to him, that much I will admit but he seems to go overboard.  Of course, driven and successful people seem to have this quality when they are passionate about something.  Now I have to figure out a way to hone all this energy and drive that Kyle exudes, and put it towards good.  Maybe he is in training to work for Lego someday.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

We are a stiff-necked people

“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people.” ~Exodus 32:9

Kyle Piper with his cousin Hailey at Kyle's 1st Holy Communion

Kyle Piper with his cousin Hailey at Kyle's 1st Holy Communion

You know it’s true, the bible holds a lot of stories and lessons to be learned. They seem to revolve around disobedience and obedience, putting it in simple terms. With each story there seems to be a warning, a rule or guideline, an order, a reward, an example or sometimes a combination. God does this because he loves us so very much, and he tends to instruct us like parents raising their children. Very fitting since we are all God’s children and He is our Father. I can’t say that I’ve had this discovery on my own, well maybe the part that we, as humans, fall and reach out to God time and time again. I do know that when you will what God wants you to, you always get what you want. This seems to be the on-going theme discussed between the liturgy at mass, my CCD teacher, and my bible study teacher over the years. So this poses the question, are we really just children? Do we act as they do and turn our backs on guidance and authority? And therefore should we, as “adults”, be more understanding of children?

Kyle Piper receiving a gift from Kelly Piper

Kyle gets an alphabet puzzle gift from Kelly Piper. He always loved to learn. Christmas 2003

Being in management and leadership roles throughout my career, I have dealt with situations involving co-workers and vendors. And I will say, at times I’ve had to play the “parent” role, like they were my children. I was never disrespectful (or least that was never my intent) or demeaning. Management is really nothing more than teaching and guiding individuals toward a goal, the best way possible. So I wonder if it’s safe to say the best managers are good parents? I would love to see studies on this…

Sometimes children just don’t want to listen. They turn their back and make excuses, deny, ignore or flat out refuse guidance. As great of a child as Kyle is, he is a typical little boy, a typical human like the rest of us. But sometimes this behavior tests my patience.

Yesterday, Kyle didn’t want to do his homework or practice his piano and guitar. I guess I better take a step back and mention that Kyle always has workbooks, flashcards, and reading to do, in addition to his school work, every weekend including the summer, with the exception of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and his birthday. He has to maintain his studies whether he has schoolwork or not or during summer vacation. Kyle is a very intelligent child, but he gets lazy and I’ve found, from experience, doing this extra work helps him maintain his grades and retain what he’s learned.

Aunt Heather Piper reading to Kyle Piper

Kyle always did love me reading to him, especially dinosaur books. Yes that's a sticker on his face. 11/18/03

Kyle is going into the 5th grade, but when he was in the 1st or 2nd grade, one quarter his grades dropped drastically across the board in all subjects. In some cases the grades dropped by an entire letter grade or two. I had no idea why, but I was certain to never let it happen again. I was very concerned and wanted to find out why. Unfortunately, being his aunt, I am not privy to this information, nor can I speak to his teachers to find out the best way to teach him. Since I only have Kyle on the weekends and one day during the week, I don’t have certain privileges. Well, I would not just sit back and accept this, so I got creative and came up with my own solution… and that was doing extra workbooks and reading, which we’ve been doing religiously since that time. Usually Kyle picks his poison, so to speak, except if I see his grades are dropping in a certain subject then I have him focus on that specific subject.

Aunt Heather Piper and Kyle Piper study art history

Kyle always loved to help me with my school work...never too young to learn art history.

Now getting back to my story. Kyle did not want to listen this past Saturday and he carried on for hourse about doing the work, whining and complaining. It took him all day to do about 30 minutes worth of work. O my! Then when it came to reading, he wanted to read his new books he got from my sister. I have no problem with that, but I also want to teach him that if he started something, meaning Charlotte’s Web, then he should finish it, especially with only 4 chapters left. I tried to explain that when he goes to high school there will be books and projects he doesn’t like or want to do, but they are required. I also wanted him to get in the habit of finishing what he started. Going through life without accomplishing anything is no way to live.

Needless to say, he finally finished all his work by 7ish at night and we started around 10ish am. I wouldn’t let him watch cartoons or play on the computer until the work was done, yet he was so bull headed it took him all day. Kyle even argued with me over his math problems, a subject he loves, and yet he was arguing over the incorrect problems. He argued about multiplying wrong! Are you kidding me? He argued that 4 x 8 was 49 among a few of the other problems. He would not fix them and he really wanted to be defiant.

I guess everyone gets in a mood now and then… it must have been his day. He was very, very good serving mass on Saturday night. I guess he just had a little stiff neck and he didn’t realize that I will never back down to doing what’s right!

posted by auntheather in Church,Education & Learning,Observation & Imagination,Patience and have Comments (2)
%d bloggers like this: