Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Z

Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs had a meltdown Wednesday rivaling that of my son's on the same night. The difference? Big Z got violent while little M got insolent. In both cases, it was all about attitude. I couldn't get my guy to read; I couldn't get him to listen; I wasn't going to argue or negotiate or placate. Tonight, a day later, things are much better. We don't know why, but he had a good day at school, and though we were delayed with finishing our homework, we did it.

We banged out our spelling sentences. This has transformed from a loathed Thursday chore, to something he (and I) actually enjoy doing. I take the dozen spelling words of the week and form a half dozen sentences for him working with his week's list. And while we do this, or before or after maybe, there's a chance to talk about other stuff. I really wanted to revisit last night's mess. He had already broken the ice earlier with a heartfelt and unsoliticited apology. Yay! So now, with dust settled, we talked about it.

Earlier, I had heard of the cost to Zambrano for his own blowup: Six games and a few thousand bucks. And it was a gimme to connect the dots and help M. understand the price of these explosions. Any opportunity to talk baseball or hockey or now, even basketball, helps. His face lit up when I mentioned the Cubs (though he's more of Dodgers fan), and his face fell when he heard about Zambrano's tantrum and the penalty. Similiarly, I pointed out the Bozo on the Nuggets who got a Technical foul against the Lakers with a showboating routine. Thank goodness for these role-models athletes.

It's fun, these off-the-cuff conversations. It's fine to be passionate, I told him. (This sidebars into a 'passion' definition). It's great to have feelings and express them, I said. (These being some of his lifelong challenges---getting in touch with what he's feeling or what's going on within his body). But no matter what you feel, it's all how you express it.

And though I didn't think it til later, I'm now put-off by Zambrano's antics. Sure, it feels good to pummel a Gatorade cooler and bump an ump and yell and toss equipment around. But it's just not cool. Maybe the week off will help Big Z clear his mind. It only took a day for little M.

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