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A Type A pain in the neck

Submitted by on Friday, 24 February 2012 One Comment

He’s a list-maker who’s used to same slip of steno pad for months to keep on track.

He’s a planner whose Valentines were ready Feb. 8.

He’s an organizer who gets that if you put away your backpack and shoes when you get home, you’ll be able to find them the next morning.

And those are the advantages of Boots’ Type A personality. Yes, a 6-year-old can be Type A. So can a 4-year-old – he’s been this way for two years.

There’s also a downside that’s driving me bat-crap crazy. And getting him in trouble at school. Again.

The most recent incident was Wednesday, when the teacher told Boots to read aloud with a classmate who apparently wasn’t feeling it. Boots read his two pages, but when the classmate’s turn came she balked. Boots told the teacher, who in turn told the girl to read.

She wouldn’t. Boots told the teacher again. The girl still wouldn’t read, so Boots start jabbing his finger at her and loudly insisting that she read. Boots lost 10 minutes’ recess as a result. He was still incensed when he came home two hours later.

“It’s no FAIR! She was supposed to read, and she didn’t. I told the teacher, and she just didn’t care.” Steam was pouring out of his ears and his eyes looked ready to fly out of his skull.

Knowing Boots, I bet it wasn’t that the teacher “just didn’t care.” I’m sure it was a case of him working himself into a lather because someone wasn’t moving immediately to right what he perceived as an extreme injustice, but what in reality, in a class with 20 other students, wasn’t the biggest priority on Earth at the moment. He’s made similar accusations about me before. “He’s beating me half to death, and you just don’t care,” he fumed after Big Guy bumped him slightly (and accidentally for once) in the hall.

For Boots, though, the rules are the rules are the rules. Except when he wants to clown in karate, which he did so often the same night of the reading riot that he probably set a record for most pushups in a single class. Any infraction of the rules – except for the ones he wants to break – should bring swift consequences. If he’d been the teacher, the classmate would have been sent to the guillotine for refusing to read.

I understand his academic frustration. He started the year well ahead, and in a class where half the kids never do homework the gap has widened. The book he read last night was at fourth-grade level and I know he comprehended it, too, because he spent the next half hour telling me about it.

I just hate the idea of him turning from a child who comes unhinged at a detour from the “rules” to an adult discombobulated by any little babble.

It’s not that Type A’s are all bad. They might not make the world go ’round, but they’d be the first to notice if it stopped spinning and do something to set things right. Of course, they’d first have to throw a tantrum and scold the person responsible.

It’s that last part where Boots needs help, and I’m trying. Maybe I should start by having him write a checklist.

Copyright 2012 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.




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One Comment »

  • Dawn said:

    :D Oh my goodness!! I am (ashamedly) a thirty-something with Boots’ tendencies toward finger-jabbing and angry accusations when others don’t play by the rules. And I SOOOO wish my parents had done something to help me when I was younger, because even though I KNOW I’m that way, I still find myself throwing the tantrums and scolding {if not out loud, inside my head} and holding a grudge longer than I care to admit.

    So, good on you, Mama, for caring enough to try to find a way to guide him to better reactions. Not an easy job, but a worthy one for sure.