Neither Jamie nor I are happy campers right now. In public, he's still the sweet, respectful kid, treating all elders with respect (for the most part). At church, I've been thanked on several occassions for bringing such a "jewel" to Sunday School/church/Wednesday night Bible study, etc. I am glad that he's behaving himself and being a (mostly) good kid and helper.
BUT - at home, OH! at home, he's defiant, obstinate, unhelpful, cantankerous, and every other unpleasant word I can think of! We go round and round on a daily basis about homework, chores, his tone of voice when he speaks to me, his bedtime, his eating. Basically, we argue about everything ALL THE TIME!!!! And I gotta tell ya, I'm sick of it. There are days when I don't even want to speak to him because I know it will just lead to an argument.
Don't get me wrong. I love Jamie. I wouldn't have done half the things I've done to make sure he's fed, clothed, and has a roof over his head if I didn't love him to pieces. I've taken jobs I've hated, I've done things I strenously did not like to do (don't worry, it was legal), I've compromised my principles on more than one occassion, just to make sure he's healthy and provided for. All to be treated like dog poo on his shoe on more than one occassion. What really irks me is that I can't tell him half the things I've done, because I don't want him to know. I don't want him to know the lengths I've gone to keep us from having to live in our car, the things I've done so he would have something to eat, the low paying, degrading jobs I've kept just to be sure I could (barely) afford his medications. I do and have done all those things - for him to act like a snot-nosed brat.
The most insidious thing about it is that he isn't that way all the time. He can go from one moment of absolute sweetness and helpfulness to complete and total sh!thead in 30 seconds flat. It's stunning how he can flip-flop back and forth. And when I call him out on it, I get his standard reply of "well, I'm sorry, but (insert half-brained excuse here)" said in a snotty voice. It drives me up a wall!
Is 11 the new age for parents to dread? When my older sister was little, my mom was warned to watch out for hormones and mulish behavior at 16; based on a popular movie several years ago, "Thirteen" was the age to watch out for. Is 11 the new start of the snot-nosed brat phase?
I'm going to pray about this.... a lot. All this arguing isn't doing either one of us any good. But I need it to stop, because I need him to help me out more around the house. And I need him to go to bed on time and eat when he's supposed to. I also need him to do his homework when he's supposed to. Luckily, he did get a big warning from one of his teachers yesterday. She reminded him that he CAN be kicked out of his clubs and even the magnet program if he doesn't shape up. He worked all night last night getting his homework caught up, and is supposed to turn everything in today. We'll see how that improves his grades.
I'm sorry for this long rant, but I had to pour it out. It felt like it was eating me from the inside. He isn't always horrible. He's still mostly a good kid. It's just that the snottiness is really getting to me. I'll just keep reminding myself that "this too shall pass." It has to, or it will kill me!