My son hates me.
Well, no. That's overly dramatic. (Surprise!) My son doesn't hate me; in fact, he tells me every day how much he loves me. I still get to tuck him in. We have "No, I love YOU more" contests in the car.
(Here's where you're nauseated, if you're not a parent yourself or in some way invested in me/my son.)
Rather, in between these things -- and by that I mean for huge, tedious chunks of each day -- he acts like he hates me. It really sucks. Homework is a chore. Bedtime is a chore. Not wiping one's nose on one's shirt is a chore. Why we can't rescue every cricket on the planet is a major issue. Chores are really a chore.
I don't mean the usual "Oh, you know how it is; he never wants to do his homework" chore. I mean ridiculous. Epic battles. Beyond the bounds of reason. To the point where I have to completely abandon, at least for a moment, being his friend; where I have to turn all medieval and tell him, at the top of my lungs, where the rubber meets the road/how the cow eats the cabbage/how the third grader better do the freaking homework right freaking now if he wants to live to see fourth grade.
Naturally, I want him to develop his own identity. In a way, maybe it's my fault. I encourage talking about everything. I love explaining. I love being asked for explanations. I love receiving explanations. I'll talk all night long. I really kind of abhor the "because I'm the parent" conversation ender.
David is EXACTLY like me, in way too many ways. Meaning, he wants to talk and talk and talk, and if he hasn't seen the wisdom of a particular course of action, he wants to talk (read: argue) some more. Which would be fine, I really think it would, in an adult. I'm coming to realize, however, that this isn't so fine in an eight-year-old who simply doesn't always possess the faculties to understand the consequences of his actions. We reach an impasse every single night. He cries. I get aggravated. He argues. Digs his heels in. I yell. I feel awful. He says something -- usually some little, totally dumb kid thing -- and my feelings actually get hurt.
I know how to love my kid. I know how to keep him safe. I know how to set down the rules, and usually he follows them. He's brilliant, and funny, and kind. I know how to nurture all those things.
But I think I'm supposed to know how to fight with my kid. And win. And have him, at least sometimes, acquiesce cheerfully. I hate that he doesn't right now. HE hates that he doesn't.
I'm good at this. I'm a natural mom, at least until this thing. I'm not being facetious in the least when I say I totally suck at this part. How do you do it?
Please tell me this is just a phase. Please tell me there are more tranquil phases to come.
I'm supposed to be the one making this go the right way.
Because I'm the parent; that's why.