Home On The Fringe

Fringe Art

Contact Us

Recent Ramblings

The Chronicles

Fringe Reads

  • Powered by Blogger
  • Weblog Commenting and 

Trackback by HaloScan.com
  • Get StatCounter!

Look. Someone *invented* him.

Quinn's feisty nature brings him to the brink of trouble more often than I'd like to think about, and he's only five. I realize this spells disaster for me and my preference for not hyperventilating and having nervous breakdowns on a daily basis as he ages. He is such a joker that most times, people think his shenanigans are riotously funny, and I'm left looking like the grouchy, over-tired suburban parent who can't see past her own manicured nails or tomorrow's lunch appointment and will look up in 15 years and realize she missed all sorts of laughs at her brilliant, hilarious son who no longer cares anything for making her laugh. But I do think the kid is funny, and most of the time I'm only NOT laughing because as a parent I know that laughing at certain behaviors is not going to turn out well for either of us. Example: Last week at my mom's, he was snacking on chips and queso and decided, in his spontaneous and unpredictable way, that he needed to eat them outside on the patio between the 30-second water gun fights he and Bryce were having (30 seconds because they went outside, stood directly facing one another and squirted all the contents of their 3-ounce-capacity miniature plastic water pistols onto each other's shirts, then immediately slammed through the door yelling "I NEED A REEEE-FILL!"). I absent-mindedly helped him carry the bowl of chips because I was also carrying on at least two other conversations with the adults present at the time, and I wrongly assumed my duties were fulfilled and came back inside to sit down. A few minutes later, Quinn swung open the back door and, wide-stanced and furious, yelled confidently, "WHAT is the meaning of NO QUESO out here?!" See? Hilarious, and yet not sanctioned by the Parental Laughter Association.

Tae Kwon Do has been a different experience for Quinn. While most of his borderline inappropriate behavior has resulted in laughter (even if hidden, like it is from me) from whatever audience he has -- grocery store shoppers, movie watchers, innocent bystanders -- the Tae Kwon Do instructors are not fond of Quinn's loud jokes during demonstrations, and his cub-like wrestling with his brother when he is supposed to be listening and showing respect. Because of his age, they are patient in their repeated explanations of the rules, but Quinn has no fear. When he is occupied with a task or learning something he is capable of doing, he is the model student. But when left to his own devices while waiting his turn to spar or practice with the instructor, he reverts to his comfort zone, which is a zone filled with floor writhing and unpredictable, loudly stated phrases about bodily functions. After tonight's class, John was ready to Stop The Madness Already and pull him out of the classes while Bryce continues to work towards his next belt. There is some part of me that wants to give in to what feels like peer pressure from the other parents and go along with with this, but a much bigger part of me completely disagrees and thinks we'd be sending the wrong message to him, that he doesn't fit in, is too challenging to teach, that we'll give up on him just when he's ready to be reached, and a whole host of other long-term self-destructive beliefs.

At dinner tonight after the lecture about his unacceptable behavior in class (during which time he tried to justify his behavior by telling me matter-of-factly, "Look. Someone invented me. God. And that's why God controls me!"), I asked him if he wanted his black belt. He said yes, and I asked him why. To be like the instructor, he said, to be able to do the things he does. We talked about what it takes to accomplish that, and then he said, "you KNOW I'm not good at Tae Kwon Do!" This is Quinn's latest attention tactic: self-criticism or victimization. When he's angry, he tells us that nobody in this family likes him. When he's told to take his toys upstairs or get the dirty clothes off of his floor, he says, "I'm just your SLAVE! You're always telling me what to do!" I try to ignore and deflect these comments most of the time, but tonight I said, "you're so great at Tae Kwon Do that you passed onto the next class, and now you have to pay attention when you're in there or else the instructor won't be allowed to give you your next belt." I braced myself for more self pity from him, but he just said, "okay." Later when he was telling John that he wanted to get his black belt, I said, "but what are you going to do so that you get it?" and he said, "focus." "Do you know what focus means?" asked John. "Yes," Quinn said impatiently, "it means to FO-cus on what the instructor does [pronounced 'dues'], that's what!" and he rolled his eyes and turned away, disgusted. It's a good thing he did, because we were silently laughing.