There is a reason they say parenting is the hardest job...because it is. It can be hectic dealing with the daily madness of keeping on top of discipline, making sure they eat healthy, get their bath, get to events on time, making sure they mind their manners, but when you are faced with a bigger problem that you really need to get a handle on, that is the hardest part of parenting. Brennan has really been challenging me the last few days. I feel like I do a pretty good job of disciplining, but Brennan obviously has this hold on me where he acts different with me in some instances that with Casey. We struggle at bedtime mostly, but it has carried into other activities as well. This week was swim. I was so excited he could do swim team. He is a good swimmer (not exceptional, but he does well) and he loves to swim so I thought it was the perfect fit. He did really well the first couple of practices. We missed one week when we were in Az although I think they had cancelled at least one anyway. Monday he went and it was cool outside out and the water was cold so I kind of understood when he didn't want to get in. Finally, I convinced him to get in and he had a great time. Then yesterday we went to practice and he went right over and got in the water and did well, but he didn't want to do backstroke so he said he wanted to go home when it came to that point. They did a one on one with him and he did the backstroke really well, but he still didn't want to do it with the other kids. He didn't want to dive either. He is young so I understand there being things he doesn't want to do. Where do I draw the line of making him do it because you have to participate in everything even if there are some things you don't like as much as others. Again, he is young so do I force him to do things he doesn't want-probably not, but I don't want him to think he doesn't have to do some things just because he doesn't want to. It may not seem like a huge deal, but I doubt I am the only parent who questions how even the smallest things will affect how you shape your child. So we got through the rest of practice okay yesterday. Then the first swim meet was last night. Before we leave home he says he doesn't want to do swim anymore. Grrr, how many times have I heard that in the last 2 days! I decided I wanted him to try one meet and after that we would decide. It was at a different pool, there are over 100 kids on our team plus the team we played against, parents, etc. He didn't want to leave me to listen to the coach which was a matter of walking about 15 feet to another part of the pool area-not a big deal. I did walk him over to where he needed to be to get started for his event in the meet. I was the only parent, but I didn't expect him to know where to go-I didn't even completely know what was going on since it was our first time. I'm sure a lot of the kids have older siblings so they have been there before. So we get over there and he says he doesn't want to swim in the meet. So we left. Swim over. The last 2 days were so stressful trying to get him to participate-not worth it.
So then there is today. My BFF Kate told me about Vacation Bible School in town this week that Brody was doing. Since he was doing swim he couldn't do it the last 2 days, but last night I thought I would talk to him about it since he was done with swim. This morning we talked about it, I told him how long it would be, Brody would be there, I wouldn't be staying etc. He was fine with it all and said he wanted to go. So we get there and he wants me to walk him in, so I do. As soon as we get in he says he wants to go home. I convinced him to sit down by Brody, but he wanted me to stay right there. I told him I would stay a few minutes. Do you see where this is going? It isn't school and he doesn't know the teachers so I don't want to just walk and leave him there when he is saying he wants to go home (which I had to do for preschool at first). Finally, I told him I was leaving and he got upset. I took him the hallway and showed him around and showed him some of the things they would be doing, I took him to the story room where the kids in his group were coming to next. We looked at the beanie animals and looked at their names (we love looking at the names) We waited in there and the kids came in for story time so I told him I was going to leave. He still wanted me to stay, I keep giving in. So he sat on the floor by Brody and I stood by the door. He kept looking back at me. I then stood so he couldn't see me and he ran out crying. Then the teacher encourages me to pull up a chair which I really did not want to do, but did because I felt terrible for interrupting. (All while I am wearing my Nike shirt that says "Never Give In". I can imagine what these teachers and little high school volunteers are thinking) I thought maybe if Brennan saw this part was fun (and it was!) that he would be okay with me leaving after. Brennan sat by me the whole time, but he participated and laughed and had fun. I had told him I was leaving in 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes. When they went out to music I encouraged him to get in line and go along with the other kids. He kept by me telling me he didn't want me to leave. So I told him, if I leave and he comes with me that we aren't swimming (which we were supposed to do), he wasn't playing on the computer, no watching tv and he was taking a nap. I started walking out and he is crying because he doesn't want to leave, but he doesn't want me to leave. So I offered to walk him one last time to the music class and he give me a kiss and hug and that's it. So I walked him up and once again he says he doesn't want to go in there. So I walk out, with him following. By the time we got to the car he is crying and screaming because he doesn't want to leave. This is my opportunity-as much as it breaks my heart, to put him in the care kicking and screaming because he wants to stay. He had so many chances and he is old enough that he should not be acting like this. A part of me feels like somewhere it must be my fault, that I have given in way too much. If it had been school and he knew the teachers I would have left from the beginning, but do I leave him crying somewhere he doesn't have to be? For me, I know the answer is no. So anyway, he is hysterical like I have only seen him once before. My heart was aching because who wants to see their child like this, but another part of that same heart knows the right thing to do is leave and teach him a lesson, because now he is understanding what he has done. And that is the really tough part of parenting.