Friday, January 27, 2012

The Ref

I need to start wearing stripes.  Something like this:

I am the Ref.  The Referee.  She who must intervene.

It's always been that way.  Even though, Lord knows, I have my bad days with Dylan, it's always been a battle between him and RockStar. 

Considering that even RockStar suspects he has undiagnosed ADHD, it's almost funny that they are like oil and vinegar.

But they have always been like that - two elements that want to be together, but spontaneously combust when they are.

From the time he was just a little guy, Dylan preferred for me to read to him. He'd whine, asking why I had to go to work, to Jazzercise, to anywhere.   

"Daddy will be here.  He'll play with you."

"I don't want to play with Daddy."

I don't even consider myself the especially fun parent. It's not like I'm always willing to put Legos together or play whatever make-believe scenario Dylan is acting out today. RockStar is the one who will get into a good light saber fight.  Or tickle Dylan. While I cringe, because I know.

This will not end well.

It never does. At some point, Dylan has had enough and he'll get back.  And start to cry. And it will go from so fun to so bad faster than you can say Darth Vader. 

It's almost as if they are both too much for each other. 

It's been a bad week to be a ref.  Dylan's been out of orbit, even back on the Metadate. Doing adequately well at school, but the picture of hyperactivity at home, which is all the more amazing since his original diagnosis was inattentive type only.  (More on that one day.)

It's hard to rope a tornado and get him to sit and do homework after he's been sitting and doing schoolwork all day. It's hard for me, but I make it happen by being a cross between a cheerleader and a prison guard. A mind meld of Katie Couric and Jack Bauer.  And on the whole it works.  Some homework gets done and no blood is drawn...usually.

But RockStar is all Jack Bauer. "Do it now." 

At least he hasn't resorted to cutting off fingers.


I don't know if it's worse when I'm here or when I walk into it. 

In theory, we split morning shifts of getting Dylan up, going, and out the door. But I'm still physically here, in the same house, getting my own self ready. And more often than not, I get roped into the drama du jour. 

"Daddy didn't say please!" 

"Yes, he did, Dylan.  The first time he asked."

"Daddy just expects me to be able to teleport." 

"No, he just wants you to get dressed." 

"Daddy's being so mean to me.  He won't even listen."

I can't entirely disagree with that last part. RockStar really doesn't want to listen. He just wants Dylan to do what he wants him to, end of story.  Not that I don't, but I think I have a bit more...finesse in getting him to do it.  

For starters, I almost always use a timer.  The Time Timer, in fact, which is an ap on my iPhone.  RockStar doesn't have an iPhone and he's not too technical to begin with. Beyond that, he just doesn't like all the games and contrivances. He just wants Dylan to get dressed. Or eat. Or go to bed. Whatever it is.  

Of course, when I want the front deck painted, or chicken wire put up around our shed to keep our dog from going under it, or an oil change, "Do it now" becomes "Do it whenever." They really are so much alike.  

At night, when I come home later from Jazzercise, there's usually so much tension in the room, I could slice it up and cook it for dinner.  (That would be a really tough piece of meat.) And when I do, it's the same patter from Dylan about how RockStar is so mean. Next thing you know, he wants me to read to him, nevermind that I've read to him for the past three nights. 

"But I like how you read better." 

Not so long ago, he would have loudly said, "But I love you more."

Gee, thanks, Dylan. I'm sure Daddy loved hearing that.

I've tried to coach RockStar, to gently guide him to be a little softer, a little more flexible. I've tried to teach him that he doesn't need to argue every little thing; that keeping your mouth shut can lead Dylan to a better conclusion on his own. That you have to present options that are a win for everybody. That you have to pick your battles.

Still, the battles wage on. 

I'd better hope I look good in stripes. And that they are the vertical kind, and not the horizontal kind: