A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough. ~Bruce Lee
When Kyle was just a baby, he would throw the typical child temper tantrum. Nicole used to say “2.2” every time this happened. Meaning, Kyle’s attitude would change from pleasant little boy to screaming little demon in about 2.2 seconds, literally. It was actually hilarious. Kyle would be a happy baby one minute, then he would get this wrinkle between the eyebrows just before the tears flowed. 2.2! This behavior didn’t last very long, usually, nor did it happen frequently. But enough to notice the signs and recognize the storm brewing. Of course, it was a very short window of detection, if at all. Then again, sometimes I provoked the winds to start brewing.
Certainly, once the tantrums started, I couldn’t help but antagonize the clearly upset child. Not so much when he was an infant, but definitely by the time he was able to walk. Then, there were those other occasions, when I would nudge his behavior just to get a rise out of him. Not to be mean. No! I was teaching Kyle valuable life lessons, early. Sort of.
Example time! I know, I’ve talked about this before, but it warrants another pass. Kyle loved his matchbox cars. Yes, he would drive them around but mostly he would line them up on the coffee table, very precisely bumper to bumper, trunk to hood. He did this in long perfect, well thought out rows, until the entire coffee table was covered in cars. It was quite amazing watching him spend all that time creating a used car parking lot. Every now and again, just to throw him off his game, I wait for him to turn around to retrieve another car to add, and my foot would happen to tip the coffee table over so all the cars rolled off. Now it’s not as bad as it sounds. Yes it was hilarious, especially the first time when he was in utter shock and didn’t understand what had happened. Then he got wise to me. 2.2!
On a side note, what was the life lesson for tormenting the child? I wanted him to get used to things disrupting his perfection, his obsessive compulsive behavior. I wanted him to be able to handle things not going his way, and throwing a monkey wrench in his system so he would learn to adjust. Did it work? Yes and no. I’ll talk about that one day.
It would be completely inaccurate to say that most tantrums were not caused by me, or involved me to some degree. But I will admit, they were not all started because of my antagonistic personality. Kyle played a role and lent a helping hand to bring on the 2.2. But then again, I may have prolonged the fit of rage, a bit. Especially when the tantrum involved his bottle!
You see, Kyle loved his bottle, much like myself when I was a baby. When he would get mad, to show his disdain, he would get up, walk out the front door onto the porch and toss that bottle as hard as he could into the yard. This was done with a permanent scowl look on his face. We would all laugh, just because he was too comical. Seriously! I would say, “I guess he’s mad” and then Nicole would turn to me and say, “2.2”. Usually that was my cue to torment a little. He was way too adorable to pass up and hilarious. I couldn’t resist! Always retrieving the discarded milk vessel, I made sure it eventually made its way back to Kyle. If he was really upset or angry, he would show me, with a glare that could have melted ice, while going back whence he came, and tossing the bottle off the porch returning it to the grassy plain.
What caused such behavior? Usually, it was due to a misunderstanding between me and Kyle when we were playing. He wanted me to play a specific way and he misunderstood me for someone to follow his orders. Hence, I wouldn’t play the way he wanted me to, usually with his cars or Thomas the Tank. In not bowing down to his direct orders, I was teaching him to play with others, learning to take turns and share in the fun and not being such a bossy little boy. Actually, let’s get to the heart of the matter. I was not going to have a two year old tell me how to play cars, I didn’t care where he threw that bottle.
If there was a second demonstration of his attitude, I would again retrieve the bottle out of the yard and put it up on the mantle where he could see it. That ticked him off even more, especially when I would act like I was drinking from it. Ok, that’s a bit of teasing but he needs to learn to deal with all kinds of people and situations throughout life. I was giving him a head start. More than not, this action ended with mom and dad yelling at me to stop teasing the baby. Who was the child and who was the adult?
It was all in good fun and he was just so stinking cute, I couldn’t stop myself.
Luckily, we have gotten past the bottle throwing demonstration and moved into the most annoying, not even slightly cute, world of whining and back talking. If this was a kingdom, Kyle would rule over it. Don’t get me wrong, Kyle is a great kid! He truly and genuinely is, except for that part of him. It’s a minor part, but it will devour us all if left untreated.
After we participated in the Ropes Course at the Ligonier Camp & Conference Center for Kyle’s youth group, last weekend, dad said he needed our help. I will admit I was tied too, after all we were there from 9:00 am till around 12:30 pm. But when there’s chores to be done, we need to get them tackled. My motto, dive in and get it over with as quickly as we can. Kyle’s motto? Whine about it and complain the entire time, and let’s not forget move as slowly as humanly possible. It was a long morning and the afternoon was going to get longer.
Dad wanted to chop some firewood and stack it. Ok, not an easy task for Kyle on a normal day, not to mention he was physically tired before we even started. But he just wouldn’t stop with the attitude and the back talking. All you hear is “Why do I have to do that?” Whhhhyyyyy?”
Let’s also get this straight, I have no issues with Kyle asking questions and understanding what is being asked of him and why. But what I can’t handle, is when you give him an answer and he continues asking the same question over and over. Plus you add in the whining, only for the sole purpose of being irritating. Now that I can not deal with! He only asks and asks again because he doesn’t like the answer. Tough! Sometimes I believe Kyle thinks he’s going to get his own way if he continues on the same course. Nope! Not on my watch. I’ve always told him ‘I invented stubborn.’
For part of the day, Kyle was a real treat, especially on the ears. I truly hate it when he doesn’t appreciate what he has and what he gets. Would you believe, during his whining and back talking, he had the audacity to ask me to take him to the store to get some of his playing cards? Seriously? I don’t know what person in their right mind would do such a thing after his behavior, except Kyle!
Helping to raise Kyle since he was just three months old, I know for a fact, that I, nor my family have ever tolerated such acts, completely spoiled. Does he genuinely think this tactic is going to work? Loving Kyle with my whole heart, I can not in good faith allow this to happen. Yes, that’s my way of saying he got in big trouble. No video games, no computer, nadda and he still had to continue with the work, no matter how slow he was moving.
It’s weird, sometimes, not all of the time, this happens on Friday and Saturday, but by the time Sunday rolls around again, he is back to being a normal child. Manageable. Odd. I’ve actually noted this for some time now.
Kyle has been whinnying for years now, and I am at a loss of how to stop it. Even mom said that none of us have ever whined. We would have most certainly gotten the belt. Plus, it really was not in our nature to act like that. Back talking? Yes. I will admit I did participate in that activity when I was younger, but certainly not at Kyle’s age and not to the persistence that he does. Even then, mom would literally wash my mouth out with soap. Maybe I should try the bubble method? Although softy pap pap would probably stop me.
I’m going to have to get crafty and come up with a new method to conquer his madness, before I go mad. Hopefully this weekend brings a new attitude with our little man. After all, Iron Man 3 came out today and we both really want to see it. Plus, we’re ordering Jioio’s Pizza, bonus!!