Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Complicated Truth About Connor

Recently a family member said something along the lines of "The stories you tell on your blog are almost as clever as you think they are, but really- most of the time we just want to know how the kids are doing. That post about Chloe was great!" Here's the thing: the reason I tell clever little stories about Connor, rather than directly telling you what he's up to, is mainly because he is incredibly difficult and I don't want this blog to become too depressing. When I find myself frustrated by him, I write it down in a funny little tale in order to diffuse my anger or to force myself to see why I need to be more patient. But since you asked, here's a little unedited information about my first born.

When I write about how Connor doesn't really understand what movies are about, it's the nice way of saying that he doesn't pick up on subtlety, that he's never displayed an ounce of empathy, and that he's basically a tactless bulldozer. I understand that 5-year-olds are often very self-centered, but sometimes it just gets old. I can only say, "How do you think s/he feels when you do/say that?" so many times before the migraine sets in, you know?


I don't think he's mean-spirited, but his intentions don't really matter when he's insulting a friend's shoes by saying they look "old" or when he's breaking his sister's heart by ignoring her when she begs for a good night kiss. He just thinks he's being honest when he tells Chloe that her coloring is horrible- although I've repeatedly told him that scribbling is fine for a two-year-old, and that it is rude and hurtful for him to say otherwise. He simply can't help himself and has to tell me that I'm wrong, that her drawing is awful.

And that's our other main problem these days- he doesn't think anyone besides Connor knows anything at all. I write a story about how he's a fact-checker because it's easier for you to read than a story about how he's a disrespectful little brat. And he is- he argues and backtalks and contradicts everything that anyone says. Constantly. He has no respect for me, or for Chip, or for anyone else from what I've seen. When he gets in trouble for disobeying a parent, he never understands his part in it- it's just that we are mean. He doesn't ever think there is anything that he did that contributed to the situation. Nothing infuriates me more than being shown that level of disrespect. He simply refuses to listen to anything we tell him, even if it is a logical set of actions that he can take to avoid getting in trouble in the future.


I'm not putting this out there to solicit advice or make the grandparents worry. I've heard every different opinion on how to handle this, and I realize that it is just a part of growing up. I know that one day Connor will mature enough to understand other people's feelings, and to figure out how to stay out of trouble. But to answer the question, "How is Connor doing?" I can only be honest if I include those two main problems. They touch our lives every day, sometimes ruining hours at a time and sometimes just resulting in a stern "Connor, kiss your sister!" Fortunately, although they give context for the big picture, they certainly don't tell the whole story.


Connor seems to be really liking kindergarten. He is doing some reading, and is much more patient with the process of learning words now that he's doing it in a classroom setting. His after school care teacher pulled me aside recently to tell me that he's the smartest kid they have there. (I believe that if Miss M went there full-time, they'd realize he's only in the top two. But still, he's pretty smart. :)) He still loves to draw, and uses a lot of free time at school on that hobby. He does not really like to write, either letters or numbers. I think it's because he's a perfectionist, and he ends up erasing and rewriting until there is a hole in the paper while trying to get it "just so." It is really fun to see how much progress he's made in just a month of school. After the first year or so of life, the changes in our kids come so gradually- it's fun to see him progressing by leaps and bounds again. Today he is on his first ever field trip to the fair, with Chip as a chaperone. Much like everything else relating to kindergarten, it all seems terribly grown up.

Everything he likes is his "favorite," which seems about right. He loves to play video games, especially Marvel Ultimate Alliance which he plays with his dad. Somehow he is content to only play video games during Chloe's nap time, which actually works out really well. He's already making a long wishlist of superhero and Transformer toys to mail off to Santa, and he is patiently saving his nickels to buy another miniature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. He likes to keep his room clean, although he doesn't like the process of cleaning it up. He's gorgeous and articulate and cuddly and even when he is being a tactless, disrespectful turd, I still love him more than life itself.

38 comments:

Secret Agent Mom said...

Change the pronouns and that could be the story of my 5-year-old (well, change the TMNTs to Barbies, too). How she gets Es in conduct at school every day yet can't listen to a single request I make at home is completely baffling, and maddening, to me.

No advice, just an I hear ya.

Anonymous said...

jesus christ you people are the most self-absorbed bloviating pseudo intellectuals on the entire goddamn internets. its staggering how much time you put into this baroque preening. diaristic diuretics.

RJA said...

Anonymous has a thesaurus and isn't afraid to use it. Afraid to use his or her name, but not a reference book.

Sassy Molassy said...

Anonymous, no one is making you read. A personal blog is by nature a reflective, self-contemplating format. If anything is bloviating, it's your grandiose comment, which is the very epitome of "pompous and excessive."
A vocabulary is a terrible thing to develop without the benefit of social interaction. Come out of your mom's basement and see how the humans speak.

MominAustin said...

Sounds like his problems could be stemming from something physical, like a gluten allergy? Have you had him tested?

BigDaddyO said...

Has he been tested for down syndrome?

Sassy Molassy said...

Have you been tested for "I'm afraid women won't like me because my penis is so small," "big"daddyo?

Anonymous said...

i'm anonymous because we are acquainted and theres no reason to upset the innocent kevin bacons. complaining about my anonymity is boring. you are avoiding the thrust of my hatred.

Stacey Greenberg said...

dang!! what's going on in here? steph, great, honest post. thanks for sharing! and don't let the haters stop you from posting MORE!

RJA said...

Narrows it down. Now you just have to search through the Asshole column on your list of acquaintances.

Anonymous said...

you have absolutely zero credibility to accuse me verbosity or purple prose. holy sweet baby jesus, scan back over this blog for 5 minutes. do you do anything besides breathlessly document these precious little anecdotes? its like an echo chamber of narcissism on this site.

Sassy Molassy said...

Why would you hate a mother for speaking honestly about the trials and worries involved in raising her children? This is a blog about their family; that's what they write about here. If it doesn't interest you, go read Perez Hilton. You know, where they talk about the important stuff like ass flab on celebrities. Maybe if your Mom had worried about your own obvious issues and sought input from friends, you wouldn't be such a dick now.

MominAustin said...

Hey RJA, watch the language. There are moms reading here.

Sassy Molassy said...

Oh, and I think you dropped your thesaurus on your shift key and broke it. Apostrophe too. Big words look silly when you can't even type a grammatically-correct sentence.

Secret Agent Mom said...

Apparently Anonymous needs to cool off at the milk bar after having his eyes unwillingly pried open in front of a computer that can only bring up one website.

Anonymous said...

"sassy molassy", no, i hardly ever read actually. this crap has quite an underground audience however and the choice bits are passed around like comedic truffles.

listen to what you just said, 'sassy molassy'. read it. its amazing. my blast of nausea is obnoxious, but that crap about 'your mom's basement' and whatnot is just, hell, i don't know... too goddamned square(?) to take to heart.

Anonymous said...

somebody said 'haters'.

do you know how much money just changed hands on Pay Pal?

Sassy Molassy said...

Oh no, Nameless Wonder thinks I'm "square." Whatever will I do? Your last comment doesn't even make sense. That's why conventional grammar usage exists.

warren said...

Sounds like anonymous did not get hardly enough hugs--or attention--when s/he was C's age.

Oh, and speaking of pseudointellectualism, I think Connor's behavior is perfectly normal, according to Piaget's stages of cognitive development.

Anonymous said...

thesaurus thesaurus thesaurus. your mother. apostrophe penis. whatever.

from the sampling of posts i've had come across my thesaurus-broken keyboard, nobody is using this as some kind of mothers group for child rearing issues; thats a lie to yourself to justify all this blogging. all this crap is is a group of pampered yuppie erma bombeck fetishists trying to out-gun one another with cuteness and self promotion.

now don't get me wrong - a certain amount of pride is innate to every single parent, me included. but you guys are in a pure Oxygen environment with this forum. you guys are like a fucking giant Fractal of Precious-Ness.


i'm taking an enjoyable moment of my afternoon to call you all out as phonies. thats it. i'll not be back tomorrow, so don't sweat it doll.

(and I'll see ya'll around town)

Sassy Molassy said...

Phonies pretending what, exactly? We don't go over to your forum about how awesome Second Life is, or your blog about collecting vintage sci-fi movie figurines, or whatever geekery it is that you undoubtably get up to. Why can't we inhabit our little niche without it getting your sack in a wad?

Why don't you man up and take off the hood?

warren said...

Anonymous just better stay anonymous "around town"...

Mrs. Katherine said...

Wow! 22 comments!

another memphis mom said...

Hi - I am a reader/lurker and have never commented before. I am used to reading entertaining lighthearted stories about your kids and this post really gave me pause. I really admire your courage in writing it, and I now have even more admiration for you as a mom - didn't realize quite what a job you had with C. So, on that basis I almost commented the other day (but didn't). When I saw the comments that anonymous left, I just had to chime in and let you know that you have readers out there who really appreciate your writing and your honesty. keep up the good work.

sf said...

Wow! Someone was hittin the bottle early. That's what happens when you let pre-schoolers in the liquor cabinet. I enjoy your blog for a different, yet similar perspective on raising kids, being responsible parents and being adults. I also dig the pictures of my hometown and some old friends. Don't let this mental midget get you down.
Thanks for the posts,
SF

Stanfill said...

hey anonymous-looks like your a bit outnumbered. maybe you could take a tip from my first graders and use your nice words-and stop bullying others. it's quite immature and silly. there's a way of expressing yourself without being disrespectful.

Stanfill said...

sorry-i meant you're-i hate when i do that

Sergeant Tilde said...

"Oh, and I think you dropped your thesaurus on your shift key and broke it. Apostrophe too. Big words look silly when you can't even type a grammatically-correct sentence."

"Apostrophe too." – this is not a complete sentence. You should try adding it to the end of the previous sentence with an m-dash!

"Grammatically-correct sentence" should not be hyphenated.

If you wish to divert attention away from the argument by playing grammar police, please do your job competently.

Thank you,

Sergeant Tilde
Internal Affairs

Please disregard any tpyos.

CarrieJ said...

WOW!! reading the comments was almost as good as reading the post. i was simply going to say ...
CONGRATULATIONS!! You have a normal child!!!

I stumbled across you just looking for blogs around Memphis, and the fact that you do talk so candidly about your family has made this one of my favorite blogs. And sometimes, I like feeling like I am not the only one out there that can decide whether to hug my kid or stick her in a time-out chair. (not that time-out has ever worked for her)
I had a thesauraus once ... in elementary school. Then I learned to use real words and come up with my own thoughts!

CarrieJ said...

oh crud, and of course I screwed up in my comment ... and we have seen how that is turning out on this thread.
I meant "can't decide"
Oh, and now that C is in school, you can use the phrase we use. "Would you say that to your teacher?" believe me, they would never talk back at school!!!

Elizabeth Alley said...

I'm not going to read all of these, because most of the comments look pretty ridiculous, but I just have to say that as a non-mom, I appreciate that someone had the balls to call her own kid a brat. Guess what?! Kids are brats. All of them. Not all the time, but at some point each of us was a brat, and each of our offspring will be a brat. Steph, just keep being as consistent with him as I know you are.

Shannon said...

Which one should be my fantasy basketball name?

Bloviating pseudo intellectuals
Diaristic diuretics
The innocent kevin bacons
Purple prose (of Cairo?)
Echo chamber of narcissism
Comedic truffles
My blast of nausea
Apostrophe penis
Yuppie erma bombeck fetishists
Giant Fractal of Precious-Ness

I think Dennis Miller is even embarrassed by this guy!

Sassy Molassy said...

Seargent, yes it should be hyphenated. When a combination is followed by the noun being modified, you hyphenate. So, for example, if you said "She is extremely well read," you do not hyphenate, but in the sentence "She is a very well-read person," you do. Look it up. And "literary license" can be taken with sentence structure when it suits the format. I assure you I can identify a sentence fragment.

Sergeant Tilde said...

Thank you for providing an excellent example of the following rule: hyphens are not used with compound modifiers ending in -ly. Look it up.

Ah yes, how easily mistakes can be polished over with the “literary license” pretext. I’m all for “literary license,” except when one is taking issue with another’s grammar.

Grammar Police Code of Conduct, Sec. II, A.: Grammar policing is not to be conducted in any type of prose, sentence fragments or shorthand. Proper punctuation and sentence structure must be used at all times.

Please adhere to the rules, or I’ll have you policing the Britney Spears Fan Club message boards.

Thanks,

Sergeant Tilde
Internal Affairs

Beverly said...

WOW, I need to write GK about all this...surely she knows what these big words mean...

I thought the post was quite open and honest. Many mothers are afraid to be so open with their feelings...I admire you...

Now, mr. snippety needs to go to bed without his dinner. If he/she could see the LOOK I am giving right now, he/she would sliver off like the snake he is!

I feel better now.

eflosmith said...

Anonymous, perhaps you are conducting scientific research on how many people you can rattle? Point your finger no more, have a real problem, seriously, no one makes you read anything and I am sure no one can. You need to look at whatever it is that is bothering you, maybe it is the fact you can't have the feelings or the balls to put yourself out there and express yourself. Maybe it is what you wish you had and why you are an amazing critic, why you have to be harsh. Perhaps you can't drive and choose to have blog rage instead of road rage. Really anonymous listen to Eric Clapton look at yourself, your writing form, aren't you the pseudo intellectual one? Really though, perhaps counseling is justified to get to your real problems obviously you have some unresolved anger issues and need some type of help. Why don't you try to stay away from people who are doing their thing and get into the boxing ring with people who want to fight? Look whatever post trauma you are dealing with go somewhere else for catharsis, the beach, the mountains, whatever will soothe your mind, the political circuit or simply get laid that may help.

Jamie Lu said...

Ugh. Max is exactly the same. I had no idea you all had the same difficulty (well...let's not put Max and Connor on the SAME level...we all know Max is much worse). Maybe they learned it at Idlewild. OMG, maybe they learned it from each other...EEEK! Or, maybe it's just a 5 year old boy thing. I'll admit, Max is doing much better after starting Kindergarten too.

jen said...

C isn't a bit disrespectful to me when he gets his haircut. He is better that alot of adults that I have to deal with for sure!

Mean people SUCK, by the way.

Oh ... and Shannon's fantasy football names cracked me up.