I’ve Created A Couch Potato

It has been a rather frustrating week here with Mini Me and I’m sure Muppet and  I only have ourselves to blame. I heard on Monday that the track and field club had started up and suggested to him that he may want to join. He did training for a 5k run back in the spring and was really good at it. The whole thing culminated with a huge run involving kids from the whole school board and there were sponsors and goody bags. Really fun. So, he seemed game to join track and field although he had missed the initial sign up and the first day.

But here’s the thing about Mini Me and it’s the very reason he has this nickname. That kid can freak himself out over nothing and put up obstacles in his brain that are truly astounding. To the outside world he seems social and outgoing but if you know him well (which I do), he can be his own worst enemy. Can you say anxiety? I’m pretty sure it’s a genetic trait and one that I would have happily kept to myself but there you have it. My mother used to keep paper bags in the glove compartment of our Chevy Nova in case she had a panic attack. I was afraid of my own shadow as a kid and still deal with anxiety regularly. Looks like the Mini apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

His dad took him to the running club Tuesday morning while I had to wrestle Monkey out the door later amidst tantrums and tears. He wanted to bring a toy to school and I told him big kids in Grade 2 didn’t do that. I finally got him tearfully out the door and said that if he specifically asked his teacher and she said yes, then it was okay with me (FYI she said no –  I think I love that woman). We get to the school late and find Muppet and Mini Me sitting outside looking like somebody had peed in their Cheerios. Uh oh.

I guess Mini Me got there and all of the anxieties in his little brain just came crashing together to cause a total breakdown. There were too many kids on the course. He wanted to run 5k, not 2.5 (seriously?). He didn’t know what he was supposed to do (ummm, RUN?). It went on and on. As an added bonus, he didn’t want to go to class until he could see me and air his concerns, so now he was late as well as Monkey, who was still in a funk and dragging his heels the whole way to school. And poor Muppet, who thought he was going to drop off his kid and get to work early for a change ended up being especially late due to all the dramatics. Sigh.

After school that day Mini Me and his dad had a talk and they agreed that he would try again on Thursday. Which is today. Which is why I am writing this post. I could tell from the minute I saw his face this morning that it was a no-go. The complaints of fatigue only confirmed my suspicions. Then Muppet got out of the shower and the poop hit the fan. The end result? I think we have given up on cross-country but Mini Me has also lost his computer privileges. If he’s refusing to be active then we are taking away his main temptation to be inactive.

I want to blame myself for letting things get so far out of hand but I don’t know how much of Mini Me’s couch potato tendencies come because of a lack of rules or because he is naturally apathetic. The kids were home this summer for at least a few weeks where they were left to their own devices while I worked. The hours I had been working in the spring were easy enough to maintain when the kids were out of the house from 8:30 to 3:30 but come summer, they were nearly impossible. Monkey is 7 and, left to his own devices, flits between the odd video game or YouTube video, then outside to play, then downstairs for some Lego, then time for some crafts. Mini Me will play Minecraft. Period. The summer before, he would play outside and ride his bike, but that all seemed to be a thing of the past.

So now here we are in September, trying to right our wrongs. In a lot of ways, it’s just like having a toddler in the house again. Remember when you would put a new rule in place or say ‘no’ to them and they would tantrum, and all you could do was wait it out? Then, the next time the tantrum would get a little shorter, and so on. Yep. That’s gonna be my house this fall. I am imposing rules on a 10-year-old toddler who is going to tantrum. But I need to do it. He needs to be more active and I don’t want him to have to struggle with his weight because I can already see the tiny first beginnings of a bulge around his middle. No way. Not on my watch.

Which means I have to get my act together, make the rules and enforce them. There is going to be some tough love around here this fall and that couch potato is gonna get mashed (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

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2 thoughts on “I’ve Created A Couch Potato

  1. Ugh, I identify. Our oldest has never been a keen reader, and he’s never enjoyed the outdoors, and now he wants to give up the few indoor sports we’ve talked him into trying these past couple of years. GAH. Right now he’s still young enough that we can insist on swimming lessons and the occasional bike ride. But his life as an exclusive all-Lego all-the-time guy looms large.

  2. Yep. I feel your pain. We have been suggesting everything from soccer to fencing to extreme frisbee and when he finally caved and said he would try soccer, he freaked because he doesn’t want to play inside. I’m sorry, but he seems to forget this is Canada. Does he expect to play soccer outside in the snow? Sigh. And now our school has cancelled all extracurriculars thanks to the McGuinty government. I’m tearing my hair out.

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