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Home » 9to5to9, Big Guy's story

9to5to9: Times, they are a changing, and Big Guy can’t handle it

Submitted by on Thursday, 12 June 2008 No Comment
The day went to crap when I had to wage war against an army of ants bent on camping on the front porch. I stepped outside with the Raid, and the bugs quickly became the least of my battles.

"Can I go?" Big Guy asked

""Yes, but stay on the sidewalk away from the spray,"" I said.

""Fine. You don't want me to go. I'll just stay in.""

""I didn't say that. I said you could go, but keep away from the spray.""

""Why can't I go outside? I want to go outside!""

From there, it was game on for 36 hours. Not, really, but it felt like it.

I was concerned because we'd had a similar go-round the previous evening. I can't remember what started it, but I do remember the tears, the frustration. Isn't Big Guy too old for this?

So I did what any computer-savvy freaked-out parent would do. I Googled ""tantrums"" and ""five-year-olds"" and freaked out even more.

""Aggressive tantrums may signify mental health risk,"" reads a February study from Pediatric News.

Dear God. They're going to re-open Alcatraz just for Big Guy. It's a good thing I love San Francisco.

Then I learned it's all my fault: ""Another point of view is that tantrums beyond the third birthday say more about the parents than the child,"" conservative psychologist John Rosemond wrote .

Fine. Re-open Alcatraz just for me. It's a good thing I love San Francisco.

For the most part, Big Guy is growing into a happy, generous, bright little boy. But there are big exceptions.

Big Guy does not handle change well. He's also stubborn as the day is long and, yes, he gets that from me. At not-quite-5, he can't always articulate what he's feeling, and when he can he often buries it in so many layers of bluff and bravado that it's a challenge to root out the real source. A male friend tells me it's a guy thing, so I won't take the fall for that one.

The change can be as simple as the weather. He'd still rather sweat it out in jeans than wear shorts.

Or it can be as traumatic as watching his best buds slowly leave his school. There were five of them. Two already are gone, home for the summer with teacher-parents. One is going soon. ""D says he's going to go to kindergarten next month and will never see me again,"" Big Guy said last week. I would have put it a bit more delicately, but I couldn't deny the basic truth.

Or it can be as intimidating as that great unknown of kindergarten. We're less than a month out now, and I'm getting irritated that I've yet to hear a word from the school about a chance to see his classroom or meet his teacher. And if I'm irritated, I can't imagine how Big Guy feels.

Therein lies our problem: I've done a woefully poor job lately at imagining how Big Guy feels.

Some experts, such as Rosemond, scoff at that notion. ""America slipped into Childrearing La-La Land in the 1960s and we've been stuck there ever since. Part of the la-la involves the belief that all child behavior can be explained in terms of psychological mechanisms when in fact some behavior is 'just the way it is.' "" he wrote recently.

While I agree with a lot of Rosemond's ideas, on this I differ. What's going on in their heads can matter. In this case, what's going on in his head has turned Big Guy from Dr. Freckle to Mr. Make Mommy Wanna Hide.

So you have my attention, babes. I will try harder to push all of my confusing head stuff aside to help you learn to deal with yours. Because I'm 44 -- most days, I know how to deal with ""stuff."" But you're only 4. Many days, you do not.

Besides, one of the reasons I love San Francisco is because I'm free to leave when the July chill sets in. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun if I were incarcerated there.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Kids Allergy said:

    “TITLE: Peanut dog would solve three problems for me, if he didn’t cost so dang much”
    “Big Guy wants a dog. No, strike that. Big Guy longs for a dog with all the passion a kid can muster at not quite 5.

    “Big Guy’s preschool friends

  • Kids Allergy said:

    “TITLE: Peanut dog would solve three problems for me, if he didn’t cost so dang much”
    “Big Guy wants a dog. No, strike that. Big Guy longs for a dog with all the passion a kid can muster at not quite 5.

    “Big Guy’s preschool friends