summer is almost over
Posted August 10, 2012on:
one of my favorite scenes that describes the end of summer is the one in the anime series Niea_7. Have you seen it? It follows an episode where a lot of things happened and all sorts of crazy antics took place, and then in the end, there was just this montage that describes precisely what it means when you suddenly look around (or at your calendar) and realize the leaves are changing colors, kids are bored out of their minds, the weather is not relenting, but you know the season is approaching its end…
At our house, the end of summer is signaled by the return of our 4th family member, Thien. (May thinks a family umit is consisted of mom, dad, child, auntie Thien figure, and uncle T figure). Then, May’s school orientation follows, and, in a few weeks, she’ll be a preschooler for the first time. I started writing down all the dates and appointments on the calendar and just like that, August is entirely taken up…
I made a mistake – well, not mistake really, because while I was doing it, I already had a thought, but I sort of tested it out – to prove what, I don’t know – but I told Son – in front of May, how funny it was when she shook her head and clamored up from the pool when the instructor asked her to submerge her head. Well, since that day, we have had 2 consecutive days of nonstop head shaking during swim lesson. May promised that she would stop doing that, but then she got into the pool, and, as if possessed, she just started to shake her head, checking on us from time to time to see if we approved. Even with Son leaving and me first discouraging, then not responding, May just wouldn’t give up. It was very strange to see my usually agreeable child suddenly turning into that stubborn child who thought it was fun to exercise her free will. But hey, i asked for it. We did talk about it extensively yesterday, and May promised me to stop that act today – didn’t happen. So I had to move on to my next course of action – doling out punishment. When she got out of the pool, I just quietly told her that I was not happy because she didn’t keep her promise of following the instructor’s direction, so as the result, I will not talk to her for a bit, because I don’t want to talk to her when I am angry. May immediately apologized as usual, but I gave her 30 minutes of silent treatment and silently refused everything she had to offer. I could see that May was clearly in distraught – on a scale of 0-10, I would say she was at a 5, so not too bad, she could sleep on it practically – so once we arrive at home, after I have prepared her for her nap, we both sat down on our bed and had a talk.
I asked her if she liked it when she asked me to talk to her and I refused to answer. She said she didn’t like it at all. I said that’s how her teacher might have felt in the pool with her when she refused to cooperate. Then we talked about how things can be funny the first few times, but not after prolonged period of time. May is very ticklish, so I likened it to tickling – a few jabs here and there might be fun, but if prolonged, it becomes hurtful. She agrees. I asked her again why she kept on refusing to cooperate with the teacher – May said because she was afraid the teacher would let her fall into water and she would end up with water in her mouth again – something that happened the first day she refused the teacher. Then I asked her why she looked at me and laughed the whole time, she said because she thought it was funny. Thing about May is, when she knows I’m upset at her, she will admit to anything just to appease me. If I accuse her of doing things she clearly has not done, or if I accuse her of something she has no clue what it is, she would still say yes yes, I did it, that’s her way of avoiding conflict. I have seen this in the past, and it’s something I have been probing and trying to figure how to help her think differently. So, when she said she thought it was funny, I’m not sure if it’s because I phrased my question that way the first time we had a talk regarding her behavior at the pool, or if it were the truth.
Anyhow, I reiterated my request that she cooperate with her swimming instructor starting next lesson, and that if she makes a promise to me, I need her to keep it, otherwise I will be giving her the same treatment next time. May told me she was afraid I don’t love her when I’m upset, so I had to give her a hug and reassure her that I always love her no matter what, but when I am angry, then I will not act the same as when I am happy.
We’ll see how this work out next week. We just switched teacher because of the new session (had I kept the original 11:30 a.m. timeslot, May would not have been able to see the same instructor anyhow) so with different instructors came different approach. May’s kind of bored out of her mind, because her previous instructor was teaching her more advanced stuffs, with more time doing things in the water. Her peers in the last session were also more advanced, so May just got pushed to do lots of things that actually engaged her interest. This one is asking her to do all the wrong/unattractive things so far that she doesn’t see as relevant to “swimming.” I think I will discontinue her lessons after this session if I can’t get May to pair up with the first instructor again. Regardless of which instructor, the person who ends up doing most of the teaching is me for now. I just have to watch what all the teachers are doing, and then copy.
May’s mind can be influenced by what she hears. I know kids do this in general, but I have wanted to test the degree of influence. However, I’m sure this one was a mistake sort of, because I had to pay money for her lessons and then I sabotaged it…
May breaks promises – I usually have not seen this, but there it is.
May is pretty good at handling emotional stress -she didn’t cry or throw a tantrum when I gave her the summary of her offenses and doled out my silent treatment. She pleaded with me and tried to talk me out of it. She didn’t give up like she used to in the past, but she would offer a deal, then waits for response, if no response, she would wait a bit before she tried again.
May hasn’t figured out how to pull allies yet. Or maybe it’s her personality. When I was mad at her, she didn’t go flying into Son’s arms, though she welcomed his presence as usual. She still tries handle the conflict directly with me and keeping Son entirely out of it. She doesn’t even tell him about it.
May would blindly and willingly accept false accusations for the sake of appeasing me. hmmmm…
May looks for my approval in a lot of things.