Shorty after my last post, things got bad. And by bad, I mean “Holy Batman” levels of bad. The Cute suddenly made a play for world’s most annoying child ever, my sick levels reached insane proportions, and my mental state plummeted. And as easy as it would be to just write it off as a shitty behavior day on the part of my child, I ended up owning “worst mom” instead.
My four year old son is a handful. He can be demanding, stubborn, and irritating. He’s also brilliant. “400 piece puzzle” brilliant. And he’s passionate, imaginative, and incredibly sharing and caring in regard to others. And all that comes in a super sensitive, highly needy package. Just when I think I have a handle on things…I find out that it’s all bullshit and really, I don’t know a damn thing. He’s such a dichotomy. So smart and aware in some ways and so very immature in others. It’s really hard defining realistic expectations. And that’s where I blew it.
Our first “No!” day was a success. But that was a week ago and he was not sick. And I kept it simply to the lesson of no. But then I got cocky…and tried it on a day of sick. No one wants to learn things on a day of sick. Add to that a cocky, sick mom also trying to correct other behaviors at the same time…and the cranky, incredibly smart, four year old is going to correct her right back. I was insensitive, demanding, and rigid. I got owned and if I’m honest with myself…I deserved every miserable moment of it.
I should have been soft. I should have been full of hugs and treats. I should have been full of movies and popsicles. I forgot to be compassionate.
At first I was fully depressed at just how shitty the day had become. I was unreasonably angry at him. And then suddenly at myself.
Then I was disappointed in myself. Disappointed that I had forgotten my promise to remember how it feels to be a kid. Because I remember a very unpleasant childhood. One that has left scars forever. And I don’t ever want to give him scars. And, of course, one day won’t do it. But it doesn’t take much to forget that one day turns into two and then to weeks. It takes constant vigilance to avoid becoming the parent I feared. They don’t turn into monsters overnight. They justify and ignore. They blame the day, the job, the child, the world…bit by bit they forget their own power….and then the wounds pile up.
But I won’t let myself slip into that. I can’t promise to be perfect…but I can promise to be vigilant. Vigilant enough to adjust the course when things turn south.
And so came yesterday.
I apologized and explained that mommies make mistakes too. That today would be about cold drinks in front of the tv, lots of books read….and lots of cuddles. And we would work on “No’s” on a better day. And guess what? I got a big hug, a reassuring “that’s ok, mommy” and no “no’s” for the whole day.
I guess I needed a lesson from him.
The Cute is a great teacher.