First of all, the warm welcome I received with my I’m Baaaaack post was so nice and unexpected. I appreciate all the sentiments – both on and off the blog! I don’t have the biggest following but the ones I do have sure are loyal! So thanks peeps!
*** *** ***
Michael is and will always be my first born and eldest. Yes, he has a sister much older than he, but Michael remains my guinea pig. I was 19 when I became pregnant and barely 20 when he was born. I lived with my parents and felt more like a teenager than an adult – much less a parenting adult. So, at times, instead of parenting Michael, I simply participated. Thus as Michael went through the Terrible Twos and Thrashing Threes, followed closely by the Frightening Fours, I realized before I could teach my son how to behave, I had to learn how to behave. I do not miss those toddler years. And now, it’s happening again…
Denai is the most loving toddler I have ever known. I am not being biased here. I know, you don’t believe me. But let me explain.
When I’m sad, she sits next to me, strokes my hair or rubs my back and says, “You are a-right, Mom.”
When I fall asleep on the couch, she makes sure my blanket covers me completely, sings me her bedtime songs and randomly comes over to stroke my hair and tell me she loves me.
After throwing a tantrum she will return within ten minutes to say, “I sorry, Mom. I sorry.”
For no apparent reason at all, she will come sit next me, hang on to my arm, look into my eyes and say, “I wuv you, Mom. I wuv you.” And during all these times I think, Damn. Can my child be any more perfect?
But then there are still those really special moments where I wonder WHY do we have kids again?!
Screaming at the top of her lungs. Wanting everything and nothing at the same time. There is no reasoning. There is only screaming. Yes, she is tired. But even at 2 1/2, I don’t give her that excuse unless a stranger is staring at us at Winco (like the other night).
This particular morning I sent her to her room for the third time. This caused more screaming and stomping as she slammed the door shut. But the tantrum was short lived. Ten minutes later she tentatively appeared around the corner, timidly asking about finishing her breakfast. I gave her a good lecture, acquired my apology, and the sweet girl I knew was back again.
Mr. Sexy reminded me this is the age when Michael and I used to have our fights. Michael was two and Mr. Sexy and I weren’t even engaged yet. That means Mr. Sexy and I had been dating for less than four months. Well, Michael would start throwing one of those tantrums like Deani threw the other day. However, sending him to his room didn’t make him calm down. Instead he would get worse. And he would become physical. Towards me, towards his things, towards the wall, towards anything in his way.
I had not yet begun to learn how to take control of my emotions. So as Michael would start to react to his world, well, I returned fire with fire.
One evening I had to literally shove him in his room and hold the door closed while he threw himself against it. Tears chased tears as I used both hands and my body weight to keep his anger contained. The rage exuding from his small body was frightening. When he moved on to throwing his furniture around, I let go with one one hand and called Mr. Sexy. He immediately left class on campus to come over and help me.
This can’t be me. This isn’t my life. This is one of those sad scenes from the movie where the child is the victim. The mother is the one making poor choices. The child is left to deal with the consequences. He is stuck with a mother who has no idea how to handle her own emotions. Nobody can win this endless battle.
Mr. Sexy made it to my apartment where I was still crying against Michael’s door and Michael was still thrashing about. The first thing Mr. Sexy did was hold me tight. Finally I felt a wave of fresh thoughts. You are loved. You are a good mother. You are not alone. When I was ready Mr. Sexy instructed to me to go downstairs and rest. It was time to calm the flames.
I don’t know exactly what happened up there. It started out loud which broke me all over again. Then everything became still, and quiet. I strained to hear. But there was nothing. I would learn over the next few years that sometimes Mr. Sexy has to make himself bigger in order for Michael to actually see and hear him. That’s when the magic happens. On occasion, I have had the privilege to see how Mr. Sexy softens himself in front of Michael. He takes the time needed to meet Michael where he’s at so he can deal with the heart of the issue.
About 20 minutes later small feet were quietly coming my way. Michael was still red in the face, but calm. We apologized to each other and hugged. All was well – until the next time.
Throughout these past five years I have learned how to handle these situations of angry emotion. Michael continues to struggle in this area. And heck, so do I. As Mr. Sexy and I began teaching Michael to count to five and take deep breaths, I was learning right along side him. I’m still learning, too. My emotions still get the better of me from time to time but I can definitely see a difference between then and now.
Deani is two and already understands the concept of taking deep breaths to calm down. She will even breath deep without being told. But she is still my strong- willed toddler, so we do have those moments where he she gives us a flat-out “NO!” While defiance in tiny humans still gets me fired up, I have learned to remain calm (for the most part) and act like the parent instead of a participant.