In the grand scheme of life, T.Puzzle is doing pretty good after his tonsillectomy. The hardest part has been getting him to take his pain meds. Somehow convincing a very opinionated 5-year-old that orally ingesting pain relievers down the very vessel that has been injured, is most often a losing battle. Yesterday, as he complained of a hurting throat, I brought him some Tylenol. We were at an instant stand-off that ultimately led to him being sent to his room. The tantrum that followed was of epic proportions. Eventually, he calmed himself enough and was able to take the medicine. About thirty minutes later he sat at the table and ate some yogurt.
“How’s your throat feeling?” I asked.
“It feels good now but it really hurts when I scream and cry,” he replied as he lapped up another spoonful of yogurt.
Full Speed is an extremely stubborn boy. It is only recently that I can play any sort of game with him and it doesn’t end in him melting down if he loses. Well, most of the time anyway.
It’s nice that Full Speed has evolved away from some of this tantrum-ing in competition. The one area that Full Speed has shown zero to little improvement in competitive meltdowns is when he is playing anything against Mad Dog. Our theory is Full Speed’s belief system. In everything else, Full Speed has a fundamental belief that he can dominate so he powers through. When up against Mad Dog, he understands that his Dad is stronger and faster so he gives up in frustration quite easily. He feels hopeless so he acts hopeless. It ain’t pretty.
I don’t think the answer lies in having Mad Dog let Full Speed win all the time. Life doesn’t work that way. However, I do believe that I should be given at least one hour notice before they play anything against each other. That way I have plenty of time to find a more pleasant alternative to view.
When writing my posts I try to be honest. My resolution for the coming year is to keep the honesty going. Motherhood has not always been easy for me and I want to continue the truthful documentation of my triumphs and tribulations.
I would like to start this off by first of all sharing how far I have come since the birth of Full Speed. In the seven years that I have been lucky enough to call this kid and his little brother my own, I feel like a completely new person. I learned it was easier to accept the harsh realities of raising two extremely spirited boys than continue to fight it. The more I let go of my parenting expectations (like having a quiet house, having children who exhibit minimal tantrums and/or power struggles, receiving gentle hugs, etc.) and embraced my kids for exactly who they are, everything started to get easier. You can sense this evolution if you have been following my blog for a while. The more recent my posts, the less pitiful they are. 2011 has especially been a turning point for me. My boys are older and I am hopefully wiser (ha, ha). I am now finally able to reconnect with parts of myself that I thought motherhood had taken forever. My boys are more independent (sigh) and this has allowed me the freedom to return to myself a little bit more every day.
How do I know that I still have a long way to go? Well, this is where the honesty part comes in play. Every time I hear that a friend or family member is expecting a child, especially their first, a tiny part of me hopes that at some point their future bundle of joy will throw some serious, Grade A tantrums. There, I said it.
I have yet to meet another Mom who has dealt/deals with as many tantrums as I have survived. If you are out there, hang in there. It gets better and so do the deals at the liquor store if you buy in bulk.
Anyway, I raise a glass (or two or twenty) to my best year of my motherhood experience yet. Thank you 2011!
Denial is a wonderful coping mechanism. I’m learning it lasts for as long as a delicate psyche needs and then collapses when you’ve reached a head space that allows for the truth.
When T.Puzzle was born and he screamed louder than any newborn has a right to, I clearly remember thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. You’re suppose to be my easy kid.” I had made a silent agreement with T.Puzzle while he was in utero that he was going to be a milder version of Full Speed.
In some ways this was true. He actually stayed put long enough for me to on occasion hold and snuggle him. He broke into easy smiles with his incredible dimples a-blazin’ and he actually played calmly with baby toys for extended periods.
Other signs that T.Puzzle would be ‘easier’, or more likely helped feed my denial, were his slightly more sensitive nature and his skill at reading and reacting to other people’s emotions. Early on we labeled him ‘our little social worker’.
Great. This was good. I rolled along and headed into his ‘terrible twos’ feeling like I was finally going to have an upper hand.
I was completely wrong. He tantrummed with the same passionate zest as his brother before him. The only things that kept me going through this were the glimpses of his social worker nature and my dear, sweet friend denial. No matter how ugly the tantrums became he would always quickly win me back with his, “I love you, Mommys” and loving hugs.
Then came this summer and that’s when denial packed up its bags and left me for good. T.Puzzle has continued his tantrumming phase well into his fourth year exactly the same as Full Speed. Unfortunately for this latest phase of summer tantrums the gloves are off. He is proving that he can run with the big boys and has shown such a ferocity of independence that it is at once frightening and awe-inspiring.
All I can say is bring it T.Puzzle. This ain’t my first rodeo, kid.
While Full Speed is doing his thing at a morning soccer camp this week, T.Puzzle and I checked out storytime at the library.
We have a spotty past with storytimes. In theory they seem like a wonderful thing. In practice they tend to take nightmarish turns. Essentially quiet sitting+crowded room=disaster.
I figured with T.Puzzle being older and since I was playing him man to man, I had a decent shot at some actual enjoyment of the experience.
As we filed in the soon-to-be overcrowded room, I still felt confident. I believe the line between confident and crazy is paper thin.
Then, the backslide into silliness began.
T.Puzzle couldn’t keep up with all the steps of the African dance that accompanied the safari story. He folded his arms, pouted and defiantly declined to participate. He plopped to floor and I could see a tantrum starting to brew under his frowny face.
I refused to let him win.
I grabbed him close and positioned his ear so that I could speak directly in it.
“If you want to go to the park after this, you better adjust your attitude and participate the best you can. If you continue with this stinky face I’m taking you home and putting you to bed.”
From that point on a finer African dancer I have yet to meet.