Today was Seth's fourth birthday. He was a total stinker most of the day. Part of the reason is he is just getting over being sick, starting last Friday with a cough, fever and vomiting, to now having a full fledged cold. The other reason is that he is just.....well.....four, I guess. I hope.
Because we had to have his party last night, it was a late night, and so the day started out with him tired as well (another reason for his stinkerness). We usually have the kids open their gifts from us on the morning of their birthday, but decided because it was so late last night that we weren't getting him up before Dave went to work, so Dave came home at noon.
I know he is only four. I know he is a boy. I know he is sick. But having no one I know to compare him to - only nieces birthdays in the past - I really don't know how much of his behaviour today was typical and how much shows that he has been "over-indulged". I honestly don't remember him being like this at his third or even second birthday. His nonchalance during gift opening (displayed somewhat last night as well during his party) had me stewing for the rest of the day whether I had a spoiled kid on my hands. The only thing he showed a modest amount of excitement over was his new bike.
While I was making lunch, he asked me to help him with his airplane. I told him he'd have to wait until I could, as I was making lunch. He wouldn't quit and was almost at the point of breaking it, so I put it up where he couldn't reach (where eventually all his NEW toys ended up because of his behaviour). Then he spazzed on his grandma for even touching one of his new toys. I sent him in the corner. He was traumatized, so much so that he surpassed his sister's talent for dramatics, hands down (I really don't know where they get this from, honest). This was our conversation:
"Mom, I want you!!!" - Seth wailing.
"Turn your head in the corner, Seth and stop talking." - ME.
"But mom, there's bugs on the wall!!!" - Seth in hysterics.
"There are no bugs, Seth. Stop talking. You're not coming out until you STOP." Again, ME.
"But mom, there are bugs on the wall!!!" - Seth persisted.
I ignore him for a while because I realize there is no reasoning with him. There is no ignoring him, either.
"Mom, I'm going to frow up." Seth.
"Throw up then." Me.
"Mom, I need the pail, I'm going to frow up!" Seth.
"Throw up on the floor if you need to, Seth." Heartless me. I almost laughed out loud at this one. This is the same boy who pushed away the pail when he was sick on Friday because in his little mind, the pail was the problem.
"Mom, I want you!!" Seth.
Seth will not be ignored in the corner. He just will not. It doesn't matter how much I tell him that all he needs to do is stop crying and stop talking to get out, he always responds with, "I am stopping, mom", all the while continuing to cry and talk. As a result he is in the corner far longer than necessary and eventually I end up letting him out after he manages approximately five seconds of quiet, at most. I know, wonderful parenting.
I made him lay down for a nap after lunch and told him when he got up - if he slept - we'd go out and start teaching him to ride his two-wheeler. He slept and got up in a significantly better mood. He reminded me the second he got up that he wanted to go out and ride his bike. I said I would finish the dishes first and to get ready while I finished. This started the session of, "I can'ts".
"Seth, go put your socks on, please." I do say please most of the time, really.
"I can't put my socks on." Seth.
"You can put your socks on, Seth." Me.
"I can't put my socks on." Seth.
"Four year olds that can ride bikes can also put their socks on, so the choice is yours if you want to ride your bike." Me.
Off he runs to his bedroom to - miraculously - put on his socks, all by himself.
"See mom, I've got my socks on, all by myself." Seth.
"Good. Now go put your coat on." Me. I really do "praise him up" more than this usually, but today I was already tired of his behaviour and didn't. Probably should have, yes, but didn't.
"I can't put my coat on. I need help." Seth.
"Yes you can Seth, if you want to go outside." Again, me.
Off he runs to his bedroom, grabs his coat and brings it out. He then proceeds to whine and whimper the whole time he's trying to put his coat on. He gets one arm in one side and can't grab the other and fusses and complains.
"I can't put my coat on!" Frustrated Seth.
"Seth, you've put your coat on before when you wanted to, if you really want to go outside, you'll get it on again." Mean me.
Again, miracles. He got his coat on. Himself. Hannah comes into the kitchen at that time and he says, "Hannah, I got my coat on all by myself!"
"Seth, go down to the landing and grab your runners, please. And put them on." Me.
He runs down to the landing, grabs his runners, brings them upstairs and sits at me feet. He proceeds every which way to get those runners on, again whining the whole time, but because I can see he really is trying and not succeeding (although he has before - dramatics again perhaps?) I give him a hand this time. There. He's ready to go.
We go outside. For about ten minutes, tops. After trying to show him over and over again, and having Hannah demonstrate over and over again, I realize he is much too lazy to pedal a bike and just wants to be pushed.
I'm afeared I have a lazy boy on my hands. And I made him that way. This is another way he has been "over-indulged". And I'm "reaping the rewards". Yes, I know, I've been short-sighted. It's not that I didn't see this potentially happening, I just thought eventually we would get past this and he would, ta-da, not be lazy anymore. I have helped him way too many times because of my own impatience to get things done, and because I've been sweet talked by him. It's true. What else is a mother to do when her boy crawls on her lap, kisses every square inch of her face - no joking - asking for help?
"Mom," kisses on the the cheek and chin, "I", more kisses on the other cheek and forehead, "need" kisses on the ears - no joking - nose, eyelids, "you", HUGS.
As I said, what is a mother to do? With her totally wonderful, lovable, kissable, lazy, spoiled, cute, amazing son?
Be more consistent, I suppose. For his sake.