Was reading an article from one of my favorite writers/bloggers, Lisa Jo Baker, and it provided me with some inspiration today, as well as encouragement. The article you can read here. She writes about her difficult experiences often with one of her challending children, and of course it reminds me so much of our struggles with Cameron. This kid....
We've struggled with Cameron for the past 5 years. He was a great baby, but terrible 2's turned into terrible 3's and then terrible 4's. He was what most people would describe as "strong-willed". I tried it all - spanking, time outs, reward boards. I read books (The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson, among others). I could not figure out what we were doing wrong with him. I was convinced somewhere along the way, we had slacked in some department. He was so different from his mild-mannered, quiet, well-behaved older brother. It never crossed my mind in the beginning that they could actually be two entirely different individuals with two very opposite personalities.
Don't get me wrong. Cameron is truly a very sweet kid. He can be very loving, endearing, and sympathetic. He is great with his little sister, and I know he looks up to his big brother. He does great in school, which I'll admit did surprise me in the beginning. When he first started school, I was sure he was going to drive his teachers crazy and distract his classmates. In that regard, he has totally surprised me. He was deemed by his teachers as a sweet child who worked hard and was very compassionate with his classmates. His first grade teacher loves him. She told me at our first meeting, "I wish I had a lot more Camerons in my class." My reaction - she can't possibly be talking about my Cameron. Not only does he rarely get in trouble, he is at the top of the charts on a regular basis with his behavior.
At times, he fights us tooth and nail with almost anything. He is particular about the way he dresses. Mornings used to be a real struggle until we decided to accept the fact that he likes to pick out his own clothes and this is a
battle not worth fighting, within reason.
He is loud, obnoxious, and very busy. Typical boy, right? He needs room to move about and activities to release his energy. Whereas his brother can spend hours on the computer playing by himself, Cameron prefers to be outdoors with other kids, being active and playing sports. When he is bored, he can drive you nuts. He is in your face, demanding, and making tons of noise (and messes). Whether it be throwing a ball back & forth
against a wall, playing basketball in the middle of my den with my laundry basket, wrestling on the floor with his 2-year old sister, or just trying his hardest to get your attention, good or bad. It's always - "Cam, sit still. Stop touching your brother", "you have to be gentle with your little sister", "quit being obnxious", "will you please just smile for the picture?", "if I have to ask you one more time", "Because I said so, Cameron!".
To top it off, Cameron is a big kid for his age. And more mature than your average 6-year old. We have always attributed this to him having an older brother, but this is not always the case for most. He enjoys playing with his big brother's friends more than kids his own age. I have to constantly remind myself that he is only 6 and remember to cut him some slack sometimes.
At times, he's focused, he's sweet, he's patient. Other times, his attitude makes me want to scream. He's like a 6-year old going on 15! He also has a bit of an ego and can be a little "too big for his britches". He's unappreciative and can say hurtful things unintentionally. Last Christmas, he flat out told his great-grandmother that he didn't like the books she gave him, much to my embarrassment. (I mean, they weren't really appropriate books for a 6-year old boy. He was just being honest.) Or the time when he asked my overweight friend how much she weighed. Or the time he asked me (in front of this stranger) why he had a ponytail braid, was he a girl or a boy. Last night, he asked me to make him a rubber band bracelet while he was at baskeball practice. When he got home and saw what I had made him, he responded with, "I don't really like it that much." I wanted to act like a child and throw it away and vow never to make him another bracelet again! But of course, I'm supposed to be the adult. But can you see how he might make you want to scream? Despite all of this, Cameron is still my knight in shining armor and heaven forbid someone hurt his momma.
He still loves sleeping with me at night and hugs me the hardest. He likes to hold my hand and steal my heart. He has grown so much since Bella was born. I think he actually liked no longer being the baby and having a role as a big brother. And she absolutely adores him. He's still at the age where he likes to play with her on occasion, and she loves his attention.
Let me also point out that Cameron is a very funny kid. He is already a class clown. His peers love him. He's just...cool. Cool Cam. Sometimes, as frustrating as he can be, I have to laugh at him. Other times, I am appalled at his antics. His Pop Pop lovingly once said, "Cameron is the best kid to be around. For about 5 minutes".
The older he gets (and the older I get), I'm learning to accept Cameron's personality for what it is. The good and the bad, and the ugly. It's just him. My life wouldn't be the same without him. He requires more attention, more love, and more reassurance. I guess, in a way, he is a lot like me. I'm obnoxious, loud, and annoying. I can be rather moody and selfish. Even ungrateful at times, even though I really don't mean to be. But it doesn't make it less hard to deal with. But whoever said parenting was easy?
Reading Lisa's article (and other articles like it) gives me a sense of relief. Knowing that other moms out there struggle with the same fears and conflict as me. That's it's normal. That I'm not doing it all wrong. I just want him to know that he is loved, and that I love him for who he is, and that he makes me so very proud (most of the time).
My name is Kaci. I am a working mom of 3. Wife to Josh. Mom to Jackson, Cameron & Isabella. My life is dinner, homework, baseball, basketball, grocery lists, laundry, wine, video games, and bath time. I started this blog because I am passionate about photography and journaling, and because I wanted a place to write it all down, to rememeber little details so easily forgotten in the mad rush that is the life of a family of 5. Through my photos and words, I endeavor to capture our story.