It's been a long week. A long long week. I have learned a few things.
I only have patience for my own child and even that was in short supply today. Our neighbor had his hip replaced. So in preparation, he and his wife's daughter came over from the Tri-cities with her son and daughter. Last Sunday night, she arrived and her 5 year old son Nathan saw Avalon playing on her swingset in the back yard where Jeff and I also were and asked to come over. He did, but all of us were there, his mom and us. They played for a while. Monday afternoon he came over after having spent the morning at the hospital. I layed the ground rules for what they could and couldn't do and they played almost two hours with no problems. Tuesday he came over and played about an hour with no problems. They played barely 30 minutes Wednesday and had to remind him a couple times of my rules. Thursday they played about an hour and a half and I had to constantly remind him to not play near the motorcyles, to leave the gates alone, and to share Avalon's toys with her.
Yesterday morning, he asked to play and I said they could for a while since we would be home all morning and as I was cleaning the house, I thought it would keep Avalon busy and out of my way. But I was wrong. First I saw him constantly riding in the garage. I said they could play with any of the toys but not in the garage. SInce we have a long drive way there was plenty of room to play. I went out there several times and asked them to not play in the garage. The third time, I stressed it was not safe because if he ran into the motorcyles, they could tip over on him and I really didn't want them to scratch my car.
He then tried to back talk to me and explain that he was safe and so it was okay. Avalon rarely back talks to me because i won't put up with it. She mostly does what I ask of her especially if I stress her safety being involved(its nice to not have a daredevil for a child).
Then i caught him crawling under our deck. I had never said it was off limits because its something that is never done. So I asked him not too as it wasn't safe. (One side of the deckhas siding and we have a plow tractor and firewood, planters etc under it) But then I caught him again and again and he backtalked to me yet again about how he was safe enough. Finally he quit.
I shut the gate that blocks our driveway so I couold have the yard gate open so I didn't have to constantly let them in and out and so Murph couldn't get out and so they too were contained to the driveway our backyard. He asked me a couple of times to open the driveway gate and said no stressing that I didn't want our dog to get out. He opened the gate and his grandpa ended up calling me to tell me our dog was down the street because he had gotten out.
Then I heard Avalon asking to drive her Power Wheels and he told her he couldn't because he couldn't fit in her other car. I hesitated a couple times to interrupt them and let Avalon work it out on her own and solve her own problem but after an hour of keeping an eye on them, I saw her ask him several times for a certain toy he had commandeered and told her she couldn't have. Finally I went out and said that they all needed to have a turn. He back talked again and said he didn't fit or the other toys were too small for him. I finally sent him home so Avalon and I could go get groceries. When we got back, he immediately came over and asked to play. I wanted so much to say "no" but Avalon wanted to play too. So I said they could while I put the groceries and Avalon had to go down for quiet time.
In the 45 minutes they played, I again had to keep him out of the garage. I had to tell him not to climb our wooden fence from the garage to the yard.(Its not too strong and its pretty high and not safe.) He again said he was good at being safe and it was okay. Again, I told him it was not okay. I had to get him off the chang link fence as well. Finally he left.
Then right as quiet time was ending, Jeff got home early and was working in the garage on his motorcycle. And Avalon went out to play in the garage/driveway with her dad as she and he often do. (She won't get near a motorcyle with a 10 ft pole) Not five minutes later, he was back. During the 45 minutes he was there, we had to tell him not to ride the scooter/bike/car in the garage by the motorcyles, quit climbing the fence, and don't let Murph out of the gate. The last straw was when he was trying to convince Avalon to jump down the wall from the driveway to the basement door about 4 feet or so that would've invariably left them seriously injured.
Neither Jeff or I were hungry for dinner but I made dinner anyway so I could send him home and call Avalon in to eat and not look like a schmuck for wanting him to go. He asked to come over after dinner and we told him we were going shopping after dinner. "Again?"he asked, "You just went shopping at Walmart." I should not have to justify myself to a 5 year old. "Well maybe when you guys get back I can come over." We stayed gone until past bedtime.
I told Jeff last night that we had to stay gone today soo i didn't have to watch him today. After several days at our house, he lost his manners and got comfortable. It shouldn't be my responsibility to parent him but was forced to because his mother didn't once come over to see how thing were doing the whole week.
So this morning, Jeff and I made our plan to get out of Dodge so I didn't have to babysit all day. Jeff got up early and left for some errands and came home so I could go run a few before we all left together. I thought as long as I wasn't home, we were safe, because no one had approached Jeff about watching anybody.
But when I came home Jeff had quite the story to tell. He and Avalon were in the house. She in her pajamas playing with her doll house and Jeff was just hanging out. Shortly after I left, Jeff heard this boys Mom outside asking her son, "Don't you think it's about time to go play with Avalon?" Jeff said she was obviously annoyed with him and trying to pawn him off on us. He ran over to the back door(which the screen was open), And told Jeff, "I'm ready to play with Avalon now."
Jeff told him that Avalon was still in her pj's and not ready to play and that when we got ready we had some things to go do. "
Then after I came home and was helping Avalon dress and do her hair, he showed up at our back door again. "Can Avalon play now?"
"Well she's not dressed "
"Well can she play just for a few minutes?"
"No, because when she does get dressed we're headed to lunch and do some shopping."
"Shopping again? You just went shopping." he replied.
"Yes, Avalon's Daddy is off today so we like to spend the day together and do our running around together. We'll see you later."
"Well, maybe when you get back we can play."
All during our running around, Avalon kept asking if he could come over. I know it is fun for her to play with kids but he'd been at our house so much and I was tired of refereeing, not being able to get much done because I had to keep such an eye out for him. So i agreed that they could play while I did some yard work but that if he didn't use his listeners(ears) or share he coudn't play and when Jeff left to go on a motorcyle ride, we were leaving also in order to do some shopping and get a few things for our Father's day lunch we're having.
As soon as we pulled in the drive, he was over. I layed that ground rules and told him he needed to listen he if wanted to play at our house.
Immediately he was in the garage riding by the motorcyles. "Nathan, you can't ride by them. If you knocked them over and they fell on you, you could get really hurt."
"Oh no I won't. I'm safe."
"Nathan, safe or not, you can't ride by them."
"Don 't worry yesterday I hit the tire of that one and it didn't tip over. See! I'm safe."
"I don't care how safe you think you are. Stay away from them. Its non-negotiable!"
Then he told Avalon they should go inside and play after I said that they would play outside since I was doing yardwork. (Also they had played inside a couple time the past week, and he made a huge mess, getting in closets that we don't allow Avalon to get in, getting out toys that I put away so that I can trade them in and out). He went to go in the kitchen and I asked what he needed. "We're going in to play."
"No, we're playing outside today." At that Avalon went back down the deck stairs to play.
"Because I'm out here today and I just cleaned my house and don't want to get it dirty and have to clean it again."
"Well, I'll take my shoes off and it won't get it dirty."
"No Nathan, we are outside today."
I didn't have all the gates closed today because I only intended on being out for about an hour. And since I was outside with them I could open the yard gate if they needed in. Soon enough, I caught him using a chair to climb the unstable wooden fence. After that I caught him trying to climb the chainlink fence and was pulling and pushing it. "Nathan, you need to get down and stop so you don't get hurt and don't break the fence."
"I'm safe don't worry. And the fence is metal, it won't break."
Exasperated at his back talk after something I'd reminded him of before, I tersely replied, "I don't care, get down!"
Then as I was spraying weeds, he told Avalon that she couldn't have her car(which he'd played with the majority of the time this week.) Then he kept the gate open and Murph was trying to get out.
Completely frustrated, I said, "Nathan, if you can't follow my rules, you can't play here. Either do what I ask of you or go."
For the rest of the time, he did as he was told. But as we were shopping, I was dreading coming home. And as soon as we walked up the steps, he asked to come play. I turned him down as it was time for Avalon's quiet time. "well maybe I can come over after her quiet time." he suggested.
Low and behold he did come over after quiet time and was for the most part well behaved. However it was thundering a bit and Avalon was not interested. We went out to dinner and the mall and came home past bedtime as to avoid him.
Jeri, our neighbor, his grandmother, who we absolutely adore, said earlier this week that she thought they might leave on Sunday, tomorrow. I can only hope.
One of my biggest questions is what kind of mother brings her kids somewhere for a week and doesn't bring any toys or things for them to do. Jeri has very little for kids to do as they almost never visit. And how do you expect a five year old to entertain themselves for over a week.
By the end of the week it was as if she expected me to watch him. Never once did she reciprocate to take the kids or even just make them lunch. And I felt weird being in a position of needing to discipline him but also feeling it wasn't my place. I don't know how I feel about other parents disciplining Avalon. The whole thing has me irked and exhausted and trying to avoid being home so I don't have to babysit the back talking rule breaking child.
On the flip side, at this point, I have a child who follows my rules and doesn't back talk me. Of course, you mention being safe or clean and the kid is all for it.