This morning, he woke up and went out to the living room…all by himself! I followed him, of course, ready to head off any potential upsets before they happened. But, they didn’t!
He did wake in the night, however, and proceed to scream that he wanted mama (who was laying right beside him) for about thirty minutes. Incredible Hulk, oops, I mean my husband, went out into the living room before he became too angry. There’s just something about getting woken up in the middle that turns this loving father into a big, green meanie. Luckily, we’ve had enough of these nights to recognize it now and he just goes into the living room until C/he calms down. If you haven’t experienced these night wakings (I somehow managed to make it through two kids without having one!), they are AWFUL. Basically, he wakes up crying and/or screaming, and not only is there nothing anyone can do to make it better, but anything we try will most likely result in a longer, louder screaming session. His eyes are sometimes open, sometimes he can answer us back, but he doesn’t seem to really be there, in his body. He doesn’t seem afraid of anything either, just totally freaking out. In any case, it’s happened enough now that we know to try leaving him alone first. Sometimes this works and he falls back asleep. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t and we spend the next half hour to hour alternating between snapping at each other, trying to soothe him and wanting to scream/cry ourselves. It sucks. Last night was a doozy. He was so loud my ears were ringing. His baby brother will either be deaf by one year old or will sleep through hurricanes. Then, he asked me to calm him down. Like we did the day before. Could it be? Is he getting it? I don’t care, he’s asking and we’re going back to sleep!
I knew the morning was going to be rough, but it wasn’t. He asked to nurse once, with his hand up my shirt already, but quickly accepted my answer. He didn’t even want to put a sticker on the chart. I guess he’s tired of that already.
We had to go to the grocery store today and while he had been fine all morning, I was leery of getting him out again after yesterday’s awful fits. Today’s a new day, though, right? Right?!? So, off we went.
Our first stop went pretty well. He wants to walk now instead of ride in the cart and while that makes my shopping/parenting job infinitely more difficult (Have you ever tried to keep an eye on the toddler while carrying the 30lb. baby and trying to follow your shop list? It isn’t as easy as it sounds, trust me.), but I try to acquiesce in the smaller stores. I only needed a few things, so I let him walk and it went okay. He only ran ahead once or twice and we were done quickly. Next up, Aldi. No walking here! Even on a good day, the stacks of food are just not toddler-friendly. We made it in/out in record time (I actually stuck to my list), again without incident. Last on our trip was Wal-Mart. Does anyone else see where I made my fatal mistake???
I agreed to let him walk in Wal-Mart because we only needed three things. THREE! First, we headed to the bathroom. C loves the little seat in the big stall at the front. He’ll play with that the entire time I’m doing my business, instead of trying to lay on the floor and see into the next stall (which, for some reason, seems to bother people). After that, we started making our way to the food section. I guess I should interject that Wal-Mart makes me insane. The sheer amount of people, even on a slow day, boggles my mind. In addition to that, the lighting makes me eyes hurt and my brain fuzzy. Seriously. If you’ve ever run into me there and I looked like a zombie, just know that the second I stepped outside the store, I returned to my normal-frazzled state.
But I digress…
My three items turned into five, resulting in L carrying a few things while I balanced C, M and two bags of frozen chicken (eww!). When we got to the checkout, C informed us that he needed to pee. Great. Thank goodness for older children that help out, even though they shouldn’t have to (because they’re kids, too, you know) and don’t really want to. Here’s where the day started going to shit. As they head towards the bathroom, I feel my breath unclench slightly…a few seconds of peace….and then I look over to see C flailing around as L tries desperately to herd him towards to bathroom door. She’s obviously frustrated (can I blame her?) and I, being the fabulous mom I am, head right over to help, right? NOPE! I give her a look that says, “WTF?” She looks back at me, with daggers, and says she’s trying. The dude in front of me kind of chuckles at this interchange. I debate for a quick second whether I should head over there, but instead decide to hold my place (I’m *almost* there) and pretend as if I don’t know those crazy people. Don’t worry, if the shit had really hit the fan, I would have gone over there. She got him to the bathroom, though, and I didn’t hear either one of them screaming. When I finished paying, I went to check on them. No screams, that’s a good sign! I opened the door and ask if everything is okay. L answers with a resigned “no” and informs me that he’s upset because she flushed the toilet when he wanted to, and is on the floor. Now, if you ever read Rants From Mommyland (which you totally should be), you know that they can turn these situations into the spit-your-coffee-everywhere kind of funny. However, I found this more along the lines of pull-my-hair-out-then-go-on-a-permanent-vacation kind of not-even-close-to-funny. I ask him what’s wrong, I offer options, I go through the laundry list of everything I just happened to read about yesterday on this blog. Then, when I see that nothing is working and we are quickly losing it (all while on the floor of the public restroom), I think screw this and pick him up. Now, though, all bets are off and he begins throwing a fit in earnest. All of the sudden, I want to lay on the floor, writhing around, screaming “It’s not fair! I’m using the techniques! This shit is for the birds, screw gentle discipline and I give up”, but I don’t. I calmly carry my screaming, kicking child out the bathroom door and head to the exit with poor L following closely behind (now carrying all the groceries, her bag and my purse). He says (screams) that he wants to walk and so I set him down and say, “Great! Let’s walk”, to which he responds by throwing himself on the floor and screaming even louder. Up we go. By this point, I can feel the adrenaline and anger building. I am frustrated, but I also know that I still have to get him in the car to go home. Having been through this just yesterday, I start attempting to calm him down. I acknowledge that he’s upset, why he’s upset, how we have to go home now and we’re going to get in the car seat. No dice. We get to the car and I set him in, causing an uproar of tears and yelling. He says he wants to get in himself, so I say okay and set him down. More screaming. He wants to go back inside and flush the toilet. I explain that it’s now time to go. More screaming and flopping. Fuck. I pick him up and try to plop him in the car seat, as he is using all of his considerable strength to push back. The next fifteen minutes involved more screaming, crying (at one point, both of us had tears in our eyes), kicking and holding down. I explained what I was doing, why I was doing it and why it had to be done. It was taking every ounce of self-control to do this. While my exterior was somewhat calm, my mind was whirling. These are the types of situations where children get beaten, I think. This is how it begins and if he doesn’t stop screaming and kicking me, I am going to hit him! Why won’t he just get in the fucking seat?! I don’t care what the research says, screw his future self…his self-esteem, whatever, they can all suck it. I just want him to stop. I just want to buy some damn groceries without being screamed at, kicked at or anything else. Just walk beside me, hold my hand and do AS I SAY. One time!* Click. The last part of the car seat clicked into place. I told him I loved him, I was sorry he was upset and that we were going home now. Then, I shut the door.
He cried most of the way home. By the time we got home, though, you would never know what had happened earlier. He spent the rest of the day and evening playing pleasantly with his brother. He asked to nurse a few times, but happily accepted juice or water as a substitute. He and Daddy decided to sleep on the pull-out bed together, so hopefully that goes well. As far as nursing (or not, as the case may be), it was a super easy day. He’s been loving; a nice ending to a hard day. He’s also made some of his infamous “Colinisms”, which has been fun. I like ending the day on a happy note, remembering how much I love him and *almost* forgetting how frustrating dealing with him can sometimes be.
* My husbandread this portion and suggested I leave it out because it sounds so awful. I am choosing to leave it in because I think it’s a) an accurate description of what I was *thinking* in the heat of the moment and b) important to be honest that raising kids can be difficult. While I applaud those parents who have never felt pushed to the brink of sanity by their children, that is not/has not been my experience. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, pushes me faster than my children. Does this mean I don’t love them? No! It means I’m human, with human emotions and human shortcomings. Presenting myself as anything other than this does a disservice to other parents who have been there. Most of us accept that *adult* relationships are difficult, take lots of work, etc., etc. and yet, when we discuss parent-child relationships, it is unacceptable to think they, too, take the same work and present the same difficulties….which seems idiotic when we think that (presumably) both adults have logic, know right from wrong and so on, while children are still learning these things. For me, recognizing and acknowledging the more challenging parts of parenting is the key to being able to work through them. It is key to creating an authentic relationship not only with my children, but also the world around us.*