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.