Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Some Days Are a Challenge

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Yesterday was a rough day for us.  It involved a mad dash to get ready, and, of course, no one ever listens to me when we’re on a time, crunch.  I should have seen some of the potential pitfalls coming, but I never do.  I could have planned ahead for this.  I probably should have planned ahead for it.  I don’t know why I never thought to.  Thankfully, it all worked out to be worth it in the end.

Yet if there’s one thing I’ve learned, Beekee is going to be the one who constantly challenges me.  I’ve often referred to him as being “my special kid”.  I hadn’t thought about it then the way I do now.  Then I just recognized that he offered me special challenges, challenges that other moms didn’t seem to face, challenges I hadn’t had to deal with when it came to Corde.

When Corde was little it was very clear how things would keep on going.  She was determined, defiant at times, and very independent.  She didn’t want anyone doing anything for her.  She refused to hold hands while walking on her own, which often landed her planted in the stroller because she didn’t have the awareness to manage being on her own.  She was highly social and would throw fits when she’d have to leave her friends before she was ready to.  She was outspoken (both a good and bad thing at times), very intelligent, and super friendly.  She would talk to anyone who looked like they’d be a good friend.

Beekee was very different when he came along.  He was timid, quiet, and not nearly as wild as Corde.  He did make a lot of his milestones much sooner than she did.  He was very adventurous, but he wasn’t so much on the social.  He was a late talker.  I wouldn’t so much say he was shy, but he was definitely a loner.  He was pretty much chill and easy going about everything, just so long as you let him stay in his own little world.  He never threw a tantrum over leaving a place, just as long as I gave him a good understanding of what to expect.  He was actually pretty easy when he was younger.  I saw him as very chill and go-with-the-flow.  Then again, I also didn’t recognize that it was because I pretty much left him to his own devices.  He was  happy to be on his own.  His sister had constant questions, needed all kinds of mediation between her and her friends when trouble was caused.  Beekee needed none of that because he was in his own world, not really interacting with anyone else.  It’s hard to need mediation when you’ve got no one else there.

As he got older and more interaction with other kids was pushed upon him, that’s when we started to notice my assessment of Beekee as being “special” was more than just a unique, easy-going, super chill kid.  How foolish of me to think his brand of “special” meant he’d be an easy child and Corde would be my constant challenge.  Looking back I sometimes wish I’d known what I was in for.  I think I might have appreciated the constant conflict with Corde as she fought to win her independence that much more!  Instead, I’m left with a new set of challenges that I think are in some ways even harder.  I have to wonder if maybe I had some kind of foresight in calling Beekee “my special boy” all those years ago, because, as I’ve said, he’s definitely presented me with some challenges that I’m frustrated to see other parents just don’t have.

I know it’s horrible to compare your kids against other kids their age, but somehow I think I need to.  By seeing where Beekee stacks up I can that much more easily identify that maybe this situation is going to be a little harder for me than the challenges with Corde.  He’s not as social.  He doesn’t like playing with other kids.  He’s very stuck on everything going his own way.  He can be highly repetitive.  He’s super particular about the way things feel.  Unlike my other kids, he’s very sensitive to particular noises that he doesn’t like.  There are so many times when it really just seems like he’s not all there, or maybe that he really is all there, just not all out here in the world where he should be, just tucked away in his own little space.  He’s just not like other kids his age.

Yesterday while we were getting ready to go to the church potluck someone was giving us a ride to, I was caught with the need to be ready a good two hours earlier than I thought I’d need to be.  I ended up racing around the house in a mad-dash attempt to get ready in time.  The boys tore the house apart in three seconds flat.  Corde had gone to church early with Oz, so it was just the three boys and myself.  Sander, as usual, was completely useless to the process of getting ready until I helped him get his underwear sorted out and his pants on.  He’s been having problems with getting his underwear and pants on backwards, or getting his feet in the same pant leg, then gets frustrated and throws a fit out of frustration.  Once that was done he was able to take care of the rest himself.  He put his shirt on, brushed his hair, and helped entertain Luca while I got everything else handled.  Beekee offered to help with Luca after he’d gotten his shirt on, but poor Luca didn’t like that idea so much.  Beekee’s idea of helping was to be all kinds of crazy in his face, which scared Luca and made him cry.  He kept trying to shove Luca’s pacifier in his mouth, pushing the little guy clean off his feet twice before I took the pacifier away completely.  I left the room for two seconds to come back and find Luca crying and Beekee bopping him on the head.  When told Beekee that Luca didn’t like it and it’s mean to bop someone on the head like that, he insisted that Luca liked it and thought it was funny.  When I pointed out that Luca was crying, he insisted Luca wasn’t crying, he was laughing.  Poor Luca was quite distressed.  Thankfully Sander swooped in to make him laugh and I had Beekee go look for his shoes.  Of course, Beekee didn’t do this, even though he told me he was dressed and ready to go.  When our ride got here I had her put the car seats in the car while I finished packing the diaper bag.  It was when I grabbed my keys and told Beekee to hop in the car that he finally asked, “Do I need my shoes?”  Really?  Really, kid?  I asked if you were dressed and ready!  I asked if you had your shoes at least twice!  Why do you still not have them?  At least he knew where one pair were.  He grabbed his Toy Story cowboy boots and we were on our way.

I thought things would be better once we were in the car.  Usually the kids used to be quiet in the car, or so I thought.  Then again, the last time we regularly had them in the car Beekee was in the third row seat and I was driving.  It’s amazing what a difference that makes.  he also used to nap a lot more back then and would always sleep in the car.  This time I had to listen to the same repetitive thing over and over again.  “Car, car, car, car, car, car, car, car…”  That lasted for about 15 minutes.  How do I know?  I checked the time when he started, just because I was curious how long he could keep it up for.  Then he switched it up and said, “Sign, sign, sign, sign”.  I honestly don’t know what got into him.  The whole thing was getting on my nerves, but I didn’t say anything about it because he was at least talking quietly.  I tried to ignore it.  I knew if I did otherwise it would have ended up with a lot of loud complaints from the back seat about how incredibly bored he was.

When we got there things seemed at least a little better.  Beekee was once again in his own little world.  He decidedly didn’t want to talk to anyone, not really.  He didn’t like any of the food they had, so he only had two deserts, a little tiny bit of beef stew (about three bites) some bread, and a heaping portion of mashed potatoes.  At the end they got some jelly beans too, and he was thrilled because someone came over and brought a few more to add to their cups, and they mostly brought black ones.  He loves the black ones.  He was quite content to eat his dinner, not talk to anyone, and be in his own little world.  He didn’t do more than look when all the kids got up on the stage to sing.  Corde got up there too, though she was clearly just faking it.  She hadn’t learned the song the rest of them were singing, but she wanted to be with her friends.  Beekee had no interest at all in being up there.  He was glad that he didn’t go earlier to go to the kids’ class.  He didn’t want to go, unless they had jelly beans.  He didn’t even try to make friends with any of the other kids his age.  He just stuck by me, ignoring me, but next to me the whole time, more worried about his food than anything else.

Even being introduced to other people was frustrating.  The church we went to was a Mormon church, so Beekee had to say, “Hi Mormon!” to everyone who walked by.  I was just glad he didn’t say it loudly enough for anyone else to notice.  When Oz introduced me to one of the people he had met at the church Beekee said, “Hi black Mormon!   You’re not like the other Mormons.  You’re black, which means you don’t look like everyone else.”  Thankfully either the guy didn’t hear it or he was too polite to say anything.  We’ve talked to Beekee countless times about this.  I remember Corde doing this when she was three or four.  Sander doesn’t really do it at all.  But Beekee’s old enough to understand that it’s rude to talk to someone like that.  I’ve tried to tell him it’s rude and suggest better ways of talking to people.  It’s exhausting to remind him again and again not to make observances that may seem rude or judgmental.  People don’t like it.  Of course, he comes back with logic, explaining how it’s true so it shouldn’t be mean.  I know other kids his age do these things too, but other kids seem to accept that it makes other people uncomfortable and can find it in themselves to refrain.  Not Beekee.  I have a feeling we’re going to be having these talks for quite some time to come.

Thankfully, everyone there was nice.  Once again, it wasn’t my kind of thing.  I’m thinking I’m just not a churchgoer.  I’ve got to find my own home.  Beekee isn’t too fond of it either and doesn’t really have much interest in going back.  Corde, on the other hand, wants to go back really badly.  She’s going back with Oz next week.

The ride home was thankfully less of a challenge in some ways.  Beekee got on my nerves by squirming around in the seat, constantly trying to signal to the car behind us, and all kinds of other craziness.  I explained to him several times that it wasn’t safe to be trying to get half-out of his seat like he was, but it’s been a long time since we’ve done regular car rides.  It’s going to take some getting used to.  He’s going to have to figure out how to handle himself in a car again.  I’m sure he’ll be back in the swing of things before long.

As if a trying day with Beekee wasn’t enough, we got home and no one wanted to listen to me.  Well, I take that back.  Oz had no problems listening to me.  However, the kids had no interest in listening at all.  I’d tell them to go to their room and play because the baby was sleeping three times and no response.  Oz would tell them once and they’d be up and in their rooms without so much as a single word of complaint.  I had to ask Corde to do her chores ten times, completely ignored each time before Oz finally got on her about ignoring me and insisted she drop everything she was doing and do her chores that exact moment because it’s not fair of her to disrespect me like that.  Everything that night, from getting the kids to lay down to simply asking them to get out of my way, it was like I didn’t exist, like I was a ghost or something that no one could hear but Oz.  It was incredibly frustrating!

I don’t know why, but we just have days like this, days that get under my skin, days that are more challenging than others.  Thankfully, they’ve been less common with Corde now that she’s decided her family is the one she’s got here, not the family her dad replaced her with.  Sander has his days, but he’s really just your average three-year-old when it comes to that sort of thing.  Luca is about as many challenges as a baby usually is, maybe less because he’s able to do things like pop out a couple more teeth without even seeming to notice.  It’s Beekee that’s my real challenge.  I just wish I knew what to do, how to make it so there’s less friction between the two of us because he’s very much not living in the same reality that anyone else is at this point.  I wish we wouldn’t have to have so many arguments every time things don’t go precisely his way.  I just don’t know what to do.  It’s making me tired and frustrated.  These days just keep happening more and more often.  I just hope we’re able to figure it out before long, or that it’s a phase.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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