Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The story behind the motorcycle

Isaac learned how to self soothe himself by rocking on his hands and knees back and forth.  It was good to see him soothing himself finally because until he picked up this habit he was a sad, sad baby.  He couldn't get himself to sleep and he was sick the majority of the first two years of his life so he just cried a lot and was angry a lot.  But when he started rocking he became a bit happier because he now had something that could help him calm down.  Isaac actually would rock not only to calm himself but just to express himself in general.  He rocked when he was excited, happy, sad, tired, hurt, etc.  And while Mike and I were happy to see that he was learning to soothe himself, it was also really annoying.  It was super loud and when he'd rock in his bed he'd wake up the entire house.  And sometimes he'd do it at inappropriate times--like in the middle of sacrament or in the middle of the grocery store.  We tried helping him find other appropriate options for soothing but he really only wanted to rock and would get mad if we told him he needed to try something else.  Mike got really tired of it and one day made a rash decision (without asking me, I might add).  He said, "Isaac, if you stop rocking I'll buy you a motorcycle."  I was shocked.  What?  Where did that come from?  I think it was a last ditch attempt to get him to stop and I think Mike thought a motorcycle was so cool that Isaac would immediately stop rocking.  I knew better.  Isaac could care less about the motorcycle.  He just wanted to rock.  So I really didn't worry.  I thought he would rock his entire life to be honest.  His rocking really WAS annoying at times but personally, I understand the importance of self-soothing and didn't want to make Isaac stop doing something that he needed and that made him feel better and helped him deal with his emotions. 

Fast forward two years when Isaac is five and we move to Colorado.  Isaac had kind of worked his way into only rocking when he was really tired.  At night you would hear his bed rocking slowly back and forth.  I also could tell when he had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because he'd wake up and rock then.  But overall, his rocking was almost non-existent.  One day I heard Will saying to Isaac, "Hey, if you stop rocking Dad's going to get you a motorcycle.  Remember?"  Darn that William having to remember everything we say!  I knew Will was reminding Isaac about the promise because Will knew he'd get to enjoy the motorcycle too.  Isaac had forgotten about his promise, and probably Mike had too.  Suddenly Isaac had a new desire to stop rocking.  After a week of no rocking at all he approached Mike and asked for his motorcycle.  

Mike, being the straight up honest person that he is, knew he had to hold to his promise so he began researching motorcycles.  I was mad, I'm not going to lie.  Laila had just died first of all and I was nervous about the boys riding in a car with me, let alone riding a motorcycle.  Not only that but we were talking about buying a trampoline for Christmas and the house came with a hot tub (hours of fun for the boys), and Mike had just installed a slide into our basement.  I felt like the boys had plenty to keep them happy and I didn't want them driving a motorcycle around the neighborhood prompting our neighbors to say, "Those boys are so spoiled."  I know I shouldn't care what people think but honestly, I don't like my boys having everything they want all the time and a motorcycle just seemed so unnecessary and excessive. 

But Mike was firm.  He was going to buy the motorcycle he promised.  

Except he couldn't find a motorcycle that would be appropriate for someone Isaac's age.  And I admit it, it was one of the rare times I said, "I told you so."  And I was really happy he couldn't find one and I didn't really try to hide my happiness that he couldn't.  I know, I'm a jerk.  It was kind of a source of contention between us for a bit.  I did feel bad for Mike because he really was upset about having to go against his promise and tell Isaac that he couldn't have a motorcycle after all.  But because I'm a jerk, I just told him, "Well, you shouldn't have promised something so ridiculous to begin with and you should have asked me before you promised it.  Plus, he wouldn't have even have thought of a motorcycle except that you put the thought in his head."  I know, I'm a mean wife.  

I decided to help find a better solution.  I looked online and found a tractor and a jeep and a few other things.  I still thought the price was ridiculous and would never buy something like that on my own but needed to find something that Isaac and Mike could be happy with.  The stuff I found was cool, but really slow, making it pretty lame in Mike's mind.  He did more research and finally found a motorcycle appropriate for Isaac's size and age.  And so he bought it.  

And now Isaac has a motorcycle.  And I've mostly accepted it.  

I tell myself that boys will be boys and I can't keep them safe from everything and wrap them in bubble wrap.  I have to teach them safety rules and hope they follow them.  Isaac has had one small accident that didn't even cause any bleeding and Will almost ran me over (Will isn't nearly as good on the motorcycle as Isaac is) but over all they've done a pretty good job at being safe.  They aren't allowed to ride the motorcycle unless Mike or I are outside watching and they have to have their bike helmets on.  I also tell myself that they've had a hard year and I should be happy to allow them something that makes them happy.  But then I tell myself that that is how spoiled kids are made--parents tell themselves that their kids deserve it and give them ridiculous things they don't need.  

But, truthfully, while I would have preferred that Mike had promised something else, I like that we were able to teach Isaac that if he works hard for something, he can earn a reward.  We didn't just give him the motorcycle.  It was two years worth of learning self-control and learning how to figure out his emotions and deal with them in an appropriate way.  It was a big achievement for Isaac and I'm proud of him.  

And now Eli is trying to overcome his similar habit of rocking....and he thinks he is going to get something equally as cool as a motorcycle when he stops.  But thankfully, Mike has not made any more promises.  And Isaac still thinks that he has to get my approval for his purchases even when he is an adult.  He told Mike, "Mom says that just because I have this motorcycle that I shouldn't think I will ever get a real one.  You don't think she'll let me have one when I'm married and have my own house, will she?"  

I'm not about to tell him that when he is married and has his own house he doesn't have to ask my permission.  


Jess and Jen said...

He looks adorable! How fun! -Jen

Frances said...

So cool!

Jess and Jason said...

Don't worry, he will have to ask his wife's permission!

I love that multiple times in this post you wrote, "I'm a jerk, I know." or something similar. You are SO not a jerk, but I love that you wrote it!!

The Duke said...

That's a cool motorcycle. I've got to admit that it looks like a lot of fun! I hope they stay safe but have a fun time as well.