Whether at home, in school, or at tae kwon do, Jack hears the same thing: Listen the first time. Kids must be so sick of hearing this. Like they’re little slaves that MUST do what every grown up tells them to do. Immediately. How annoyed would you be if that were your every waking moment? Well, guess what? We all went through it in one fashion or another. We either got grounded, time-outed or smacked if we didn’t listen. I really wish my parents had heard of time outs. Man.
Getting Jack to listen the first time is hard. He has good weeks and bad weeks. Hell, he has good hours and bad hours all in the same day. But deep down, he really really wants to make us, the parents, and his teachers, proud. This I know. I see him try his hardest. I see him do the right thing time and time again. Then I see him get distracted by a friend, or something he’s doing, and he can’t be bothered to “get dressed, brush your teeth, pick that up, put your milk in the fridge, don’t leave your shoes there, feed the cats, put your clothes in the hamper right now, I said pause that video, turn off the light, wash your face, put that toy down immediately.”
Then, once Jack realizes that he didn’t listen the first time, and that there are consequences, he freaks and really wants a second chance. Too late. “You’ll have to try better next time.” I say “Listen the first time, please.” Tears follow, and usually the next time is a little better. I believe this cycle goes on until they leave the house for good, but I’m not sure.
Jack: Mom, mom I just thought of something SO cool that I’m gonna do.
me: Now what could that be?
Jack: I’m going to listen the zero-th time. Is that a word?
me: No. What do you mean?
Jack: I mean I’m not even gonna listen to you the first time you ask me to do something. I’ll do that thing BEFORE you even ask me. So it’s zero.
me: How will you know what I’m going to ask you?
Jack: Ha, of course I’ll know! It’s always the same stuff! (dramatic eye roll)
me: I’ll be holding my breath for that one.
Jack: Huh? Don’t do that. It won’t last long.
Now does he mean the “me holding my breath” or the “him listening to everything I say” part? Only time will tell!