Friday afternoon: Ari returned from school with two decodable readers that showcases a sticky note from Ari’s teacher: “Ari has become a reader.” Of course, I stopped everything to listen to him read Dan’s Fat Cat and Pat the Cat aloud.
Saturday evening: Ari brought Dan’s Fat Cat in the car. He declared, “I want to write a book called Dan’s Fat Dog. I encouraged him to have a go with that before Hebrew school the following morning.
Sunday morning: Ari said he wanted to work on his book before leaving for religious school. In reality, he watched “Super Wings” and lamented, later in the day, how he didn’t have time to write. (Wrong, he didn’t make time to write.)
Monday morning: This morning, Ari hustled through his morning routine so he would have ample time to draw and write Dan’s Fat Dog after the two of us couldn’t come up with a different word (rather than fat) to rhyme with dog. I gave him a couple of paper choices. I brought a drawing book over to the craft table so he could get a little help with his illustrations. (My drawing skills make me useless in this department.) He finished page one and started page two by the time he left for school. He was as excited to write his story as any kid who has ever rewritten an Elephant & Piggie book.
Monday Late Afternoon: Despite saying he wanted to write, Ari opted to watch another episode of “Super Wings” before soccer practice.
Monday Late-Late Afternoon: Soccer practice was canceled due to excessive mud on the fields from the rain. On the way home, Ari stated he wanted to work on his writing before dinnertime.
Monday Early Evening: I was cooking dinner, but Ari wanted me to sit alongside him like I did in the morning. I couldn’t. I encouraged him to come into the kitchen for help. He was not pleased about the fact that I couldn’t fully engage with him since he needed my help drawing a person “sitting cross-cross applesauce with a dog on his lap.”
Soon after, I heard Ari declare he was almost finished writing the book and “just needed to write a title page.”
The next thing I knew, I overheard Ari asking Marc for help on how to draw a human. I walked over to them to mark the relevant pages in the drawing book for Ari. I was met with Ari’s wrath. Apparently, he didn’t want my help. I walked away.
Marc spoke to Ari about how rude he was to me. Then, Ari drew something and raised his voice since it didn’t look like he wanted it to. The next thing I heard were papers crumpling and Ari wailing. He was frustrated that his drawing didn’t turn out as he expected.
I called into him about being patient with himself. Today was his first day attempting to write words (even if it were a parody of another text) and pictures across several pages. He was still mad about his predicament so I brought up that I worked on one of my books for three years before it was published. Ari was not be placated. In fact, I heard more paper crumple.
I thought about a recent #TWTPod episode on solving predictable problems. Ari reminded me of the perfectionists we talked about. Therefore, I called to Marc into the kitchen, explained what I thought Ari’d mood was really about, and encouraged him to redirect our son.
But Ari didn’t want to be redirected. His attitude devolved rapidly. Before Ari could destroy everything he worked on, Marc removed it from
him so Ari could return to it when he was rested tomorrow morning.
That was the beginning of what was the longest two hours of my day. Everything from eating dinner to showering to brushing teeth was a struggle. By the time Ari was asleep in his bed, I was spent. I collapsed in my bed and hope he will be excited to try again tomorrow.
12 thoughts on “Well, that devolved quickly!”
There is so much to celebrate here, despite the ending. Ari is a reader and a writer!
Yes! I’m delighted he is both now! 🙂
It seems Ari’s actions perfectly capture what all writers do but may not always admit. Writing is a struggle. So we allow ourselves to be distracted. We seek support. Instead of being OK with a stick figure, we get distracted by trying to make elaborate illustrations. And then sometimes, we crinkle it up or put it away. But your post ends perfectly, a reminder that tomorrow is another day. When I struggle next (because I will), I’ll think of Ari and give myself a break. Thanks for sharing. Keep being patient, Your son’s a writer!!
Today was a new day. And, if you take a look at the update, he finished his book calmly and patiently. Quite proud of him.
A great example for everyone on how a project in our head doesn’t always work out on paper–or in life! Hoping you all got a good night’s sleep, and that Ari was able to pick up and continue his project.
So, so true, Chris!
I updated the post with a video of him finishing the book this morning. 🙂
Oooh, I could empathize with Ari- my pictures NEVER turn out how I imagined they would… Congratulations to him- being an authostrator is something I would love to try!
An authostrator! I think he’ll like that.
Some days are like that, even in Australia. ❤
Here's hoping for better days ahead.
Thankfully, he woke up with a new attitude today and he finished the story. (I recorded him reading it aloud and updated the post.)
I LOVE the clip you posted of his book!
I feel for you, Stacey. As a perfectionist myself, having raised three boys, now young adults, it’s a familiar tale you tell. He’s so young. I think you did some really good things here; handling his meltdowns with patience and delayed persistence on his project. Thanks for sharing his finished product.