Over the past few days T.Puzzle and Full Speed have not been on their best behavior. In fact, whatever you use to describe the opposite of good behavior; that’s what they are doing.
The weekend was rough.
Then, while I was at T.Puzzle’s karate practice (hooray that Mad Dog had a chance to join us!), Full Speed decided to be a sore loser for the babysitter. He thought crying, tantruming and hitting her were acceptable ways to deal with the fact she beat him at a game.
When she walked in the door with Full Speed behind her, she described to me these unfortunate events. I felt the color creep up my neck and my face burned bright with frustration, anger and whatever else a Mom feels when her child’s behavior mortifies her.
She packed up T.Puzzle to head home so Mad Dog and I could remain for Full Speed’s practice. Upon leaving, T.Puzzle melted down for me and I almost snapped. The babysitter gracefully swooped in and escorted him to safety.
As Full Speed practiced his kicks and punches, I stewed in my thoughts. I was disappointed that my boys were being so poorly behaved. I know that kids aren’t going to be perfect and will have a bad day or two, but this seems to be spiraling and it isn’t fun.
Like nails on a chalkboard. That’s the only way I can describe T.Puzzle’s onslaught of questions concerning his assorted punishments. I picked him up from school and when it was time to go, he decided that he wasn’t in the mood. He dragged his sorry self down the hallway and folded into a heap of sorrow about half-way down. I informed him that he would lose his crocs for tomorrow and would be sent to his room when we returned home. He screamed at top volume all the way home. This only lengthened the amount of time he would be spending in his room, expedited his bedtime hour and contributed to a loss of his other privileges.
After I managed to get Full Speed off to tae kwon do with Mad Dog, I allowed a seemingly defeated T.Puzzle to come to the table for dinner.
“Why can’t I have my Thomas (the Train) color book?”
“Why can’t I have my animals?”
“Why can’t I have my crocs?”
“Why can’t I have a treat?”
“Why can’t I watch TV?”
“Why can’t I stay up late?”
“Why? Why? Why?”
I tried to ignore him, but my ears couldn’t take it. Not after all the high-volume screaming they had already endured. I tried to tell him to be quiet. I tried to calmly explain the reasons for the loss of his privileges.
I don’t like to be the kind of Mom who fears living her life because the behavior of her child is so unpredictable. For better or worse I have always pushed forward even if I knew tantrums and embarrassment could be imminent. I have never had a period in my life that we stopped taking the boys to restaurants or on other public outings only to sit at home for months and months trying to out-wait their tantrum-prone/defiant phase. My boys are just too active to sit it out. I have to keep going. I admit, this second time around (as in raising little T.Puzzle), it’s harder and harder to find the motivation to keep doing so.
I decided to give myself a break of sorts and didn’t take little T.Puzzle on any outings during the day. That is rather hard with a super-active, super-inquisitive little man to keep entertained all day. Eventually by day’s end, I knew I had to take him outside to do something. I landed on going to the park after we picked up big brother Full Speed from school.
As we pulled in the parking lot I told Little T.Puzzle what my expectations were. “You have to listen to Mommy at all times. If Full Speed needs to use the potty, you come with us immediately. If you decide not to listen you will lose many privileges for the evening. You will sleep alone (he loves to have big brother Full Speed sleep in his room with him), you will go to bed right after showers and there will be no treat and no tv show.”
They played for maybe ten minutes when big brother Full Speed announces he needs to use the bathroom. Little T.Puzzle ignores me when I tell him to come with us and proceeds to laugh at me because he know I can’t reach him. At least this time Full Speed was more prepared to potty on his own so it wasn’t as disastrous as it had been in the past (see ‘I’m Stunned’).
I somehow manage to get little T.Puzzle down from his safe haven of the top of the slide and I dropped the hammer. He went to his room when we got home until dinner was served. He went straight to bed alone after showers and he didn’t even have the privilege of a bedtime story. There were tears and angst (mostly my own) and little T.Puzzle screamed like a banshee at times, too (super-fun).
Motherhood is hard on the days when you question everything. Is my child beyond behavioral repair? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t my child listen to me? Why do even attempts at fun outings lead to disaster?
I guess that’s why love is such a powerful emotion. It trumps everything thank goodness; even the question-filled unlikable days of motherhood.