I was told this morning that I am a Mean Mommy. And odd as this may sound, I did a happy dance inside because it was affirmation that I’m doing something right.
The Boy woke up this morning before 6 o’clock with a nosebleed. I was able to get him to lie back down in bed and rest for a bit longer, but I doubt he actually went back to sleep. At around 6:15, he bounced out of bed and was ready to start his day. (I, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as eager to crawl out from beneath my warm, cozy covers.)
Since he was up so early, I took advantage of this and encouraged him to get dressed and have breakfast. And since we didn’t need to leave for school for a while, I also suggested that he practice guitar to get it out of the way and give himself more time to play when we get home tonight. Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly), he agreed to practice.
We began with “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Since this song is now all about practicing chords, I’ve been taking it easy. On Monday, I had him practice the first line of the song. On Tuesday, Cute Husband worked with him on the second line. On Wednesday, it was the third line, so this morning, I had him work on the fourth line.
Now, for readers who don’t play guitar or haven’t seen the music for it, the beginning of the song (before you get to the chorus) is fairly easy. There isn’t a whole lot of strumming, though you do need to change chords at the beginning of almost every measure. So this morning, I was really only asking him to play three different chords (D, Dm, and F) and strum F six times.
As you may guess, he pushed back. And I pushed back harder. And I won, but at the cost of being told that I was mean.
Once he played the fourth line three times, I let him play the melody lines once through before moving to “Minuet in G”. He can read the music and play all the notes, and he does quite well playing the first half of the song with the correct rhythm, but he struggles with the rhythm of the second half. And so I drilled him on that. And he didn’t like it.
So he pushed back. And I pushed back harder. He threw down his pick. I calmly gave him a new one with a firm reminder that throwing it one more time means losing all gaming privileges for the day. He played. I corrected. He sulked. I reminded him that practicing was non-negotiable. He told me he was mad at me. I accepted this and pointed to the music. He played well, paying close attention to rhythm this time. I praised his efforts, and he unplugged his guitar and put away his pick, pouting all the while.
I don’t like making him mad. I don’t like hearing him tell me that I’m mean and that he doesn’t like me. I don’t like when he runs away from me when I try to give him a hug.
But I do know that he lashes out when I’m firm with him because I’m making him do something he doesn’t want to do. And I also know that in a few months’ time, when he’s playing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” for fun because it’s an easy song for him compared to “Hotel California” or whatever song he’ll be working on then, I’ll remind him of this morning and he’ll roll his eyes and say, “I know, Mom.”
And that’s when I’ll know I’ve done my job.