Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big bad mouth

How can a kid be so sweet and good one day and so rotten and nasty the next? Yesterday Gabe was sweet and loving most of the day. He woke up this morning still in a relatively good mood, but with in a short time it really went down hill.
The day was filled with many ridiculous comments, arguments and mean words. Gabe is asked to do chores on many, but not all days. One of the chores that he is able to do is sweep the stairs. This is not a hard job. It involves a small soft brush and a dust pan.
This morning I tell him that the stairs need swept. "Do I have to?" he whines.
"Yes, please do."
"Why do I have to sweep the stairs?" he whines. This time a bit of sassy argumentative tone also comes into his voice.
"Because they need it and it is your job," I tell him.
"Guards arrest this woman!" he shouts. "She should be taken to prison now. It's because of you Susan! Dad said I don't have to!" All of this is said in a very angry tone.
"You need to calm down and sweep the stairs," I say.
"I'm telling Dad. What have you done with him? Where did you take him?" More angry demands.
"You know he went camping and will be back later today."
"It's because of you," he scowls. "You are so mean to me."
"Stop talking and sweep the stairs before you get into trouble," I say. Gabe thrusts his face at me with his teeth barred much like an angry dog. "Enough, now sweep." I use a stern tone.
Gabe swipes at the stairs getting about half of the dust. All of the corners have been missed. This is the usual way it goes with him. "I'm done and you can't stop me!" he says very rudely.
"Let's check to see if all of the dirt is gone," I say. "The point of sweeping to to get rid of the dirt." I began to point to a few of the missed areas.
"Will you just leave me alone," Gabe waves the dust pan in my face.
"Put the dustpan down and listen," I say. At this point I am choosing to keep my voice very even.
"Just go away." shoulder and elbow up towards me, "I'm getting it.
"You had better get it all. I will che...." Gabe interrupts again with a bunch of nonsense yelling at me. "Stop talking," I say. "All that is coming out of your mouth is very rude this morning."
"But you.." he starts in an accusing tone.
"Enough! No more talking. Sweep and think about using nice words."
"But you are being mean to me." He still argues pointing his finger.
"Quiet and put your hand down." I turn and walk away quickly. I do not want to continue arguing. What has brought this on, I wonder.
As the day progressed there were several nonsense arguments and accusations. One of them involved a movie that he has watched too many times recently. Gabe keeps asking me if my dad likes a certain imaginary object from this movie. I tell him that Grandpa doesn't watch TV or movies. "Just answer me now! I said does your dad like ...? "
"Grandpa is my dad, and he hasn't watched that movie."
"No! Grandpa is MINE!" Gabe butts right in. "I had him first! I SAID, does your dad like...?"
"No he doesn't!" I say.
"I SAID, does your" Gabe is shouting. This time I butt in, "DO NOT ask that question again! It does not make any sense. You have not listened to anything that I am tel.."
Gabe shouts, "I SAID.."
"Close your mouth!" I demand. "You are done talking for a while. Not another word." Gabe has asked and asked that same ridiculous question several times already today. He kept asking it several times a few days ago. I have already told him that he cannot ask it again, because there is no real answer to it. This has not stopped him from asking and getting nastier each time. What is printed here is the short version. It has gone on and on.
After being told that it is a nice day and he cannot watch a movie at this time, Gabe storms out of the house. "I can if I want!" he shouts as he goes out of the door.
About 10 minutes later I finish the task that I am working on in the house. There is much yard work to do. Gabe has been instructed that since he is the teenage boy in the household, it is his job to rake the leaves. It is a big yard and I know that he can't do it all. It has rained much of the week, but has been nice for 2 days now. No raking happened yesterday so there is much to do today. I decide that I am going to rake for a while today. Gabe is swinging on the tree swing when I enter the yard. "You can't come out!" he shouts. I have already gone several rounds with him today that have included instruction and time standing by the wall. I decide to act as if I haven't heard. I pick up the rake and begin to rake a little way from where he is sitting. "Do not touch that rake," he yells. "I said put it down now!"
At this point I drop the rake and go to where he is. "OK," I say, "if I'm not going to rake these leaves then you are. The job needs done and someone has to do it."
Gabe looks shocked. He has been so busy making demands that he has not thought through what he is saying. "But I just can't. I'm having a stroke," he argues. I have no idea where he has heard about strokes. He grabs his chest, "See it's a stroke right here."  I do not know whether to laugh or scream.
"Go get the rake and get busy." The ridiculous arguments continue for a few more rounds with him coming up with bizarre excuses and me replying with "rake the leaves." Finally I say, "Not another word. Rake!" And then I walked away.
These are just a few of the ridiculous things that went on today. It went all day long. When the guys got home Gabe started right in with them. I could hear him outside making all kinds of crazy demands and insisting that I said he could do it. The thing that he was arguing most about was a party that he decided was going on somewhere and he had to go. In reality there was not party to go to. He continued to insist, "Mom said I could." He had gone through this with me earlier in the day but it was "Dad said I could. He's going to take me." No amount of explaining would convince him. He ended up facing the wall again. But nothing stopped him from talking nonsense, making crazy demands and saying rude things. Even as he was headed for bed he was announcing, "I have no school tomorrow. I'm not going."
"Believe me, there is school and you are going." I feel bad for the sub teacher that will be there, but then tomorrow is a whole other day and we could be back on sweet and nice. I hope we are for that sub teachers sake, not to mention my peace of mind.

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