I felt lame. Julie has stuff going on, and she writes her blog everyday. There have been many times Lucy had a difficult day, and posted anyway. And today, Delia shared about surviving her cascade of crappiness, and it amounted to more than four sentences. So, here's a real post.
In an effort to save my sanity, I have been trying a new course of action with Three. He's a tricky dick, always has been. He's a nice kid, athletic, friendly, curious. But there are some underlying issues. A few years ago, he was home from school for months with crippling anxiety. That's better now. But we continue to deal with his real inability to read a situation, and choose the right path. This is a boy who, right after telling me he had failed math this quarter, asked if he could sleep over a friend's house. What the frak?
We've been dealing with this exasperating behavior for so many years, we're worn out. We just keep waiting for him to mature, and "get it." But a few weeks ago, when he once again said the wrong thing at the wrong time, I decided to change my tactics. Instead of freaking out, I used that maddening moment as a teaching opportunity. I told Three I was going to walk him through our entire conversation, and point out where his responses had been inappropriate. Then, I would tell him what he should have said, in order to keep his mother from losing her freaking mind. In turn, this might eventually get him what he wanted. These are called social skills.
So, last night, Three came to me while I was writing the blog. He had done something, and he knew it was wrong. There had been moments as the event unfolded, where he could have stopped, and prevented things from getting worse. But he didn't. And he wasn't accepting responsibility for his actions. It was...depressing.
After the fall-out, Three went downstairs, and asked One to buy him cigarettes. One promptly came upstairs and told me. I'd been sitting at the kitchen table in a funk, having erased the draft text of my post which, ironically, was about Three overcoming anxiety at his baseball game. I gathered myself up, and went downstairs to talk, because of all my children, Three is the likeliest candidate for addiction.
"What makes you think smoking will make any of this better?"
"I thought it might take the stress away."
"No it won't, because then you're addicted, and you have to spend like ten dollars a pack for more cigarettes. And that's stressful."
We reviewed the wrong choices Three had made, and what he could have done instead. We talked about using a seven second delay, like they do in broadcasting, in case someone curses on live television. Instead of acting on impulse, maybe he could learn to pause for seven seconds and think. It's sad, because Three knows right from wrong. He just doesn't always make the right choice. But I must. And I choose him. So, I'm just going to keep talking, and talking. Even when I just want to go to bed.