Monday, October 28, 2013

Zen and the Art of Being Colin

In a constant effort to channel and redirect Colin's energy, I think we've found it.

It has definitely been a process, but I think if we stick with our new regime, the results will have been worth the wait.  We've tried time-outs.  We've taken away privileges, toys and electronic any screen he could possibly stare at to no avail. When we moved several months ago, my in-laws had their treadmill in our basement until they moved.  During that time, the kids actually enjoyed going in our workout room and using the elliptical, spin bike, treadmill and even lifted some light weights.  Colin especially liked the treadmill and would get my heart rate elevated just standing there watching him.  He would crank up the speed and I would swear he was going to fly off the back of that thing, yet he just kept running.

At one of the gyms I work at, they have an indoor track that is open to the public and when the kids come with me, they always ask to take a few laps.  I usually tell them one lap, but Colin will always take extra.  He finishes breathless, but with a smile and a sense of accomplishment on his face.  Guess the running shoes don't fall far from shoe rack? Because if they did, then that would make him more like his father.

A few weeks ago, Colin was having a particularly hard time behaving.  Tom had been on a month-long stint of constant business trips and I was at my wits end with the amount of button pushing, limit testing and downright rude behavior Colin was dishing out.  I looked at him one morning after he had talked back to me for the fifth time since he opened his eyes only a half hour prior, and in an act of desperation, told him to drop and give me ten push-ups.  I figured, I teach all these classes and yell at people, push them to their limits and they all do exactly what I ask them to. There are even times when I scratch my head and some people will scratch their's because they do exactly what I do.

At first Colin looked at me quite puzzled.  I told him I was serious and since he had talked back, he had to give me ten push-ups.  He got down and gave me ten piss-poor push-ups.  Guess we will have to work on that.  Awhile later he talked back again and I made him give me ten more.  Once he caught on that I was serious, the day went more smoothly.  Later that week, Colin got in more trouble, as Colin is always capable of more trouble.  This time Tom was home and he led the calistenics.  He was a little more rough on him.  He had him doing sit-ups, push-ups and sprints up and down the stairs.  Despite the fact Colin usually enjoys physical activity, he was worn out by the end and not pleased with this form of punishment.  Of course, the rest of the day any time he stepped out of line, all we had to do was threaten him with any one of the exercises and he fell into line.

A few weeks ago, my mom was watching the kids and my she texted me that Colin had just informed her he does two hours of meditation each morning.  I had to laugh just imagining Colin, the newly crowned King of B.S., telling my mom this with complete sincerity.  While Colin doesn't typically do two hours of mediation, he had been known to sit cross legged with his hands on his knees, eyes closed and chanting "Om."  I know he got this notion from the "Buddies" movies where one of the dogs named "Buddha" practices yoga and meditation.  Still, the fact that he picked up on this particular dog's actions instead of the one who plays sports, is interesting to me.  Of course, there is another dog, "Butterball" who eats a lot that Colin likens himself to when he asks for bacon and bacon for breakfast.

Last week I found Colin doing push-ups in the family room, without punishment.  I asked him what he was doing and he said he was going to start with the push-ups, then do his sit-ups.  Then, he was going to do his meditation, followed by yoga and finally practice his karate chops.  His meditation lasted about five minutes, versus two hours, but the fact that he sat still and focused for that amount of time takes true discipline for a four-year old any way you slice it.  He asked me to do some yoga with him and I obliged despite the fact it has been awhile since I've done any.  I walked him through a basic flow that lasted about ten minutes and then he wanted to move on to karate chops.  He was using the furniture for his practice and I thought it might be a better idea if he used my arms instead of the arms of the chairs we just dropped a small fortune on.

He completed his practice and seemed quite please with himself in the end.  I also notice that his behavior for the remainder of the day was better than most.  It reminded me of his biting and overly aggressive phase.  The pediatrician had recommended playing rough with him, doing exercises where I pushed on his joints and having him do jumping exercises.  It is typically used for kids with sensory issues, but they offered it up and a suggestion before we left the house so he could better handle social settings.  The bottom line, this boy needs discipline, focus and to be worn out.

We recently had Colin in hockey and the coach was a real ball-buster.  Colin actually responded well to him, and I honestly wished this guy babysat in his spare time.  However, Colin was not to fond of the game "Shoot the Ducks" where the coach shot cones at the kids while they skated. After he completed his last session, he left the ice and proclaimed he was, "never coming back to this hockey class ever again."  I supposed getting knocked on his ass half a dozen times sealed the deal.  He told me he'd rather play soccer where he can score goals without the whole skating thing.

Our other plan is to put Colin back in karate.  Based on his most recent "zen approach," I think karate would offer the right combination of discipline, focus and the ability to learn when hurting people is okay and when it is not.  So far he is focused on kicking people down, hitting people and breaking things in two.  It would appear some clarity and direction is in order.

I find watching Colin's multi-faceted personality unfold completely amazing, entertaining and puzzling.  It is clear he is smart---probably too smart for his own good. He it constantly asking questions, expressing his opinion and offering up his own philosophy in his own little world.  Now, I just have to figure out how to convince him to believe in God even though he can't see him, and figure out how he developed a penchant for heavy metal music.  But that's another subject for another blog.

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