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12.08.2011

Giving up is not the same as giving in

For weeks now, I've been telling Doc he has to settle down at school "or else". His teacher says he is chatty and doesn't sit still. Typical enough stuff for a 1st grader. Then came the weekly reports saying he's still not doing what he's told, even ignoring instructions from the lunch teacher.

As you know, dear readers, Doc is a good natured, cute as a button, smart kid that everyone loves. He's not a troubled soul. But he's got a stubborn streak that's tougher than a mustard stain on white pants. So when I was told that he was even becoming uncooperative during his after school play program - which he loves - it was time for an intervention. I sent him to school yesterday with a chart for his teacher to mark whether he'd been 'naughty or nice' on a daily basis. He came home with a note that was, how shall I put this, not very complimentary about his attitude.

Looks like we had us a standoff. I told him he had to do what the teacher said. Then asked him to repeat it back to me. He refused. So I stood him on his sturdy little pins and said he would stand there until he told me what I had just said. Well, he stood there and mewed, and whined and huffed with his arms crossed and brow pulled down over his eyes for - you won't believe this - an hour and a half! That beat out his 10 year old brother's record by a good 50 minutes. Such will power and determination. If we could just turn it to good instead of evil - think of the benefits he could bring to mankind!

At one point during the festivities I asked, "Do you think you shouldn't have to do what the teacher tells you?" He cast me a glowering nod. "Everyone has to do what their teacher says. That's just how it goes." A shake of the head. "I've gone through this with both your brothers and your dad. You can't win." With an cold stare spit my way like a spear his head went back and forth with an unmistakable 'wanna bet?'. We were an hour into standing in one spot by this point.

He finally broke down a half hour later when I said I had to go out and he'd be spending the rest of the afternoon in his room, possibly without supper. "Make up your mind," I told him. "Because once you land in your room, there's no turning back."

He wrote an apology to his teacher and did the homework he refused to do in class. If I wasn't on my way to a meeting, there's no telling how much longer he would have challenged me. One thing is for sure: this isn't over. He may have given up but he has not given in.