T’s behavior is deteriorating in a very typical two year old way. The problem is as his behavior gets worse and worse so does mine. A few weeks back he was a little shit all morning. He wouldn’t cooperate to the point that I was worried we were going to be late for nursery school. He did something he shouldn’t have and it was just too much for me. I screamed at him. Like the loudest I’ve ever screamed at him. And it wasn’t even something that was a big deal, it just was an accumulation of the whole frustrating morning. I know intellectually that when he gets a rise out of me I am giving him an incentive to continue the bad behavior. I know I need to be calm and discipline without emotion in order for it to be effective. But in that moment it all flew out of my head and I lost control, furious that he was pushing my buttons with such precision.
Um, at this point it is his job to push my buttons. And if I don’t respond correctly I’m the one making it worse. He needs good positive parenting right now way more than he does when he is being an easy kid. And I fail again and again and again. I started writing this post a few hours after the yelling happened. But then parenting two kids got in the way. This blog ain’t gonna get me a book deal, or make me famous, or provide me a salary. Just a few of my friends read it (thanks guys!). But writing here helps me figure stuff out and I wish I was able to keep up with it regularly. The cool thing is it has been more than two weeks since the yelling and I’ve managed to not lose my shit with him again. I’m sure I will at some point, but the incident did help me take a step back and calm the fuck down.
At first I was so disgusted with myself for freaking out the way that I did. He burst into tears when I lost control. As soon as I got him into his time out (still his exersaucer, he hates being in there) and walked away the adrenaline started burning off and was replaced with shame. I felt sick to my stomach for the rest of the day.
But over the last two weeks I’ve realized some stuff. First of all, he isn’t going to remember that one time I really screamed at him when he grows up. It isn’t going to be a defining event to him, he won’t bring it up in therapy some day. But it can be a defining moment for me. I can either look back on it as one of the many times I lost control with my kid, or I can learn from it and remember to keep my cool. I can continue to rake myself over the coals about it, or I concentrate on fixing the problem. It’s easy to beat myself up about it, but the right thing to do is change my behavior. I need to try and do better, and in the short term I’ve proven to myself that I can. I actually feel pretty good about it.
Z and I often talk about how lucky he is to love his job so much, the thing is I’m lucky as well. This SAHM thing is awesome in so many ways, there is no other job I want right now. But no job is perfect (yeah, for example, I don’t get paid to do mine). No one loves their job every day. Being at home with the kids might not seem like work to some people, but it really can be more frustrating than any job I’ve ever had. There are days when I basically throw the kids at Z when he gets home. And it’s usually not to relax, it’s so I can get dinner on the table, or clean up a bathroom, or wash poop out of clothing. The poop thing was my Monday. Not a banner day at our house. Mommy had to take a chill pill that night.
And yes, my two year old is a royal turd sometimes. It’s the truth. But he’s also a sweet kid. The turd stuff is totally age appropriate. I forget that if we don’t spend a lot of time with other kids. Last week I was the parent helper at T’s preschool. It was a great experience all around, but it especially served to remind me that to be two years old is to be a turd at times. They were all turds at least once, every last one of them.