You want honesty? You got it.
I am down. I am sad. I am frustrated. And I am wishing my kid was not so goddarn difficult.
I have written before about how my kids are high-maintenance. But lately Gracie really seems to easier to manage, as she verges on turning four. She’s being a pretty typical kid, actually. Annie, however – who is now 6.5 years old – is still high-maintenance.
Actually, after this morning, I’m not even sure high-maintenance is the correct term. Today the words crybaby, poor sport, and selfish all come to mind.
I hate thinking this way about my own kid.
But it’s so frustrating and embarrassing, being THAT family who has THAT kid. The one who’s crying and being difficult while everyone is happily playing.
Sometimes it’s at a friend’s house for a party. Sometimes it’s on vacation. And sometimes, like today, it’s at a kid’s activity, like soccer.
Today, while everyone else was playing, Annie was crying about being tired and complaining the practice was boring. Loudly. In front of everyone.
Then she was crying and whining on the sidelines while she clung to me. And she was the only kid doing this. It was both incredibly frustrating and incredibly embarrassing.
Sure, some other kids weren’t all that interested in the practice (which comes after the game – sucks, but that’s the way it is). At least they kept it to themselves, asked to take a break, and sat on the sidelines.
But Annie was crying and carrying on.
Kids were staring at her. Parents were watching her. I was internally freaking out, trying to manage a slightly bored Gracie who wanted to go the the playground while Annie was carrying on.
Oh, and Hubs is an assistant coach for Annie’s team, so he was helplessly looking on from the field, managing the other kids.
Finally, after hissing at Annie to pull it together, for chrissakes, I myself pulled it together, gave her a snack, and helped her calm down. Then Hubs bribed her with a trip to Dunkin Donuts afterwards to come back and play.
Yeah. You can send that parenting award to us anytime, now.
Annie says she wants to play soccer. She enjoys playing in the backyard and she loves the games on Saturdays. And she was thrilled to pieces that Hubs volunteered to be a coach. But what it comes down to is that she only wants to play the game. She doesn’t want to practice.
“This is boring” is a common complaint of hers when she is acting like this – even if it’s a favorite activity or a party she was just enjoying. I really hate to say it – I do – but it seems if things don’t go the way she wants, she freaks. But only in public and with groups (lucky us!). She’s not like this at home. It’s bizarre.
If this was just happening at soccer, I’d naturally conclude – okay, maybe soccer isn’t for her. Seems weird, because she likes playing at home and with friends, but whatever. Maybe team sports aren’t her thing.
Or maybe she’s tired from school just starting. That’s possible.
Or maybe she’s just having an off day. Maybe.
But why, then, does Annie act like this on other occasions? Why is she the one who, when losing interest or getting frustrated in public, starts whining and crying and carrying on? Why are we always the family who ends up leaving early because our kid is having a tantrum while everyone else is enjoying themselves? Why is she so hard?
So what are we doing about it?
Hubs is a fixer, like most guys. I wallow. Then I attempt to fix. So after I spent some time wallowing, we talked about what to do, and Hubs took action.
He sat Annie down and explained that there are two parts to soccer: practice and the game. She has to do both. She can takes breaks if she’s tired.
And there are two rules: No crying (unless you are truly hurt) and no being rude. Then he asked: Do you still want to play soccer?
And Annie said yes. Without hesitation. She loves soccer. That’s not the problem. Even though I just rhetorically asked why Annie is so hard, I think I know the answer. The problem is her attitude, combined with a touch of social anxiety. But just because I know what the problem is, doesn’t mean I have the answers.
So will Hubs’ laying down the law work? I have no idea. But it’s worth a shot.
And as for now, I’m just looking forward to a verrrrrry early bedtime.
Do your kids act like this, too? Only about sports, or about anything and everything? What do you do about it?