I don't do it often, and I think he would KILL me if he knew I was doing it at all, but I just HAVE to brag a bit on my son today. Cameron's 12... if any of you have a kid - a son at least - that is 12, you may know, just by my writing those two words "Cameron's 12" that things can be difficult at times at our home. Not every kid hits it at the same age, and some are better than others, I'm sure..... but I think every kid eventually makes it to the "Cameron's 12" stage. If you have a kid this age - or if you HAD a kid this age, you know the stage. The kids sound something like this:
They know everything and you know nothing.
They are experiencing things that you could have never experienced before.
You wouldn't understand mom, because things were so much different back then.
All you care about is me cleaning my room (or any other thing, just fill in the blank), you don't care about me.
Why do I have to do everything?
Reality is more along the lines of: I love my kid to death, seriously, I do.... but lately, I've kinda been leaving him alone. When I see a glimmer of a normal, loving human being, I cling to him like there's no tomorrow. I really want to be around him then - but that moment (and literally, it's just a moment) soon passes and he is grouchy again. At that point, I back away and wait for the grouch to leave again (for that fleeting moment). We have had HOUR long discussions (which sometimes get heated, I'll admit it) about being respectful and having to do what Tim and I tell him to do. If I ask for help with something, even the slightest thing - ugghhh..... it's like I asked him to clean a sewer or something.
We've had talks about his attitude, but it didn't seem to get through..... until today.
I have NO IDEA what happened today, but I. DON'T. CARE!!!! If an alien took over my son's body - that is fine. The alien can stay. If he fell down the stairs and somehow knocked himself silly - please don't fix him. I LOVE the kid that was at my house ALL. DAY. TODAY.
Obviously I'm writing this, because it's something amazingly new at our home. If this were how life looked everyday, then I would have nothing to write about - but something great happened today. I got the kid back that I have always loved. I can remember when he was younger (before this hideousness of being a pre-teen hit) and I would be so happy with how he would help me and be so kind. Then the pre-teens hit.. I wondered if I would EVER see that loving child again. He appeared at my home today.
When we came home from church, he asked how he could help me out. Seriously? Really? He said yes. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that last night we were talking about contracts, and he wanted us to write up a contract regarding his allowance. I said sure.... the way I looked at it, it was more of a benefit for me than for him, and I actually explained that to him. We would write out the terms of the contract and if he didn't meet the terms of the contract, then he wouldn't get his allowance. He was fine with that. Somehow he thought this was protecting HIM (not sure why - he's always gotten his allowance, even without a "contract") but whatever. Write it up! I told him Tim and I would have to agree to the conditions of the contract and he said that was fine. So, he got to working on the contract, even putting in there how long his allowance at the current rate was effective (until the contract was renegotiated). Tim asked him when he would be asking for a raise. He said "I can ask for a raise?" Sure, you can ask for a raise. As soon as we see your responsibilities increase and you maintain that increased level of responsibility for awhile.
So, back to getting home from church - he asked if I wanted him to clean the upstairs bathrooms (two full baths). Sure!!! I asked him if he knew what he needed to do, and he said he did. To be sure, I asked him to tell me everything that he would be doing - sure enough, he knew what needed to be done. So, up he went and cleaned his bathroom. Before he could get the second bathroom done, we ran out and did some shopping. He came with us and didn't complain about anything (we were looking for a dress and shoes for Anna - which would normally bring about complaints of boredom). Even when we had to run to a second store, he didn't say a word. When we got home, he said he was going up to clean the second bathroom. EXCELLENT!!!
After that, I was down in the den folding clothes and getting ready to iron the kids' uniforms for school. Cameron asked if he could help. Ummmmm.... sure.... He said he would fold all of his stuff. He separated the school clothes from the every day clothes and put his everyday clothes away, leaving school clothes for me to iron. He folded TWO laundry baskets worth of clothes and put them away - some of them weren't even HIS!!!
So, I started ironing and he finished up his homework - he did it in the den by me (which he NEVER does, it's always done in his room...). When he was finished, he asked if he could iron a shirt. Yep, sure can. He wasn't real thrilled with doing that, which was fine with me, I really didn't want him doing it anyway, so he moved on. He asked what else I needed to have done. I asked if his room was clean and he said it was - but he was going to go up and check. He came down carrying a sweatshirt that was too small for him and asked what to do with it. This means that he actually looked to see if anything needed to be tidied up :O) I went up to his room later and it was actually really clean!!!
Right before dinner, the garbage needed to be taken out. Cameron jumped up and said that he would do it. SERIOUSLY??? But, he did! Took the bag out to the outside garbage bin AND put a new bag in the garbage can! He was even getting along with his sisters well today.
Maybe this is just a fleeting moment - or maybe I can find a way to keep this kid around. I did tell him that if he kept up this level of helpfulness, I would have a hard time telling him no when he wanted something or wanted to go somewhere. I know, I know, it sounds kinda like a bribe... and it is... but I'm ok with that. At this point, whatever works to keep this kid around, I'm willing to do it :)
When the "pre-teen, raging hormone, argumentative, moody" kid comes back, I probably won't post about it. I'll let you all think that my perfect child has remained with us.... in the meantime I'll read this blog post over and over and pray that this child comes back - or that the alien that took over his body, takes it over again!
Love you to death Cameron! Thanks for being so helpful today - even when you're the "pre-teen, raging hormone, argumentative, moody" kid, I still love you to death!
I just had to write this so I'd remember this wonderful day!