Aside

Duh, Dude. This is So Stupid.

You know school is underway around these parts when you hear howling and crashing, maybe a few grizzly-like snarls coming from my house.

Because Milo, who just started first grade, cannot, apparently, keep it together around me. He does his best at school, trying so hard to stand in line, keep quiet unless called on, and be consistently nice to everyone, that by the time he comes home, he needs to blow off steam.

And you know who stands directly in front of the vent? Me. Mom. I bear the brunt of his horrendous outbursts and sometimes physical lashing out that often comes just as we’re leaving for school or immediately after we’ve come home. Part of me wants to let it slide, pay him no mind (about as likely as ignoring a growling wildcat confined to your living room). But, on the other hand, I see no reason why he should he be allowed to engage in such unacceptable behavior while his younger sister and I try to reason with him, placate him.

Now I’d like to abruptly shift my analogy from that of my son as wild animal to that of my son as teenage boy. Because the rhetoric, holy cow, it’s already crossing the line. When he’s angry with me, which is often these days, he likes to pull out his favorite words and zing them at me with the force of a speeding low rider (oh please, God, no). He is especially fond of “Duh!”, “Dude, that’s no fair!”, “You’re stupid” and “Whatever.”

We’re talking about a six-year-old boy here. A kid who, two years ago, could hardly pronounce his R’s or L’s but who now has completely mastered enunciation, sarcasm and mockery.

I don’t mean to make Milo sound all bad. He is, essentially, a sweet kid. Everyone says so. He just happens to have a mouth on him that can melt the paint off a concrete wall. What to do about this? A friend of mine gives her kids a nip of Tabasco when they sass back. Another mom I know tells me her own mother made her, as a child, drink vinegar when she got lippy.

To be honest, I’m completely bewildered as to how to handle it. I’m thinking I might be the one who needs a sip of something when Milo acts up. Only, make mine fermented and kind of grapey. That’ll teach him.

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About Angie

Angie (latte constantly in hand) raises her son, "Milo" (b. 2003), and her daughter, "Belle" (b. 2006), in Seattle with her lawyer husband. She is a writer, blogger and graphic designer who is egregiously tall and loves cookies with beer. She alternately struggles with existential angst and the fit of her jeans. Though she wearies easily of answering her son's constant questions and of negotiating with her daughter, she loves being present during their wonder years. One of her biggest parenting challenges is navigating Milo's severe food allergies. If she's not baking 50 cupcakes from scratch, she is reading ingredient labels and tutoring Milo, ad nauseum, to say, "No milk, eggs, tree nuts or peanuts please." Angie can also be found at: www.halfassedkitchen.com

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