My kids are good kids.
They were good babies. My son cried- a lot. My daughter, not as much. I think she was easier than him for a few reasons. First, I had experience. I had been through newborn-hood with our son and it was tough. He had his issues and at points I felt like they were daunting. But he prepared me. I thought for sure our daughter was going to be harder. She was a preemie. She was little. She had reflux. But she wasn't. She was pretty laid back as an infant. Fairly easy to handle. I was lucky.
I'm not saying that the past 3.5 years have been some fabulous walk in the park with my kids but as infants go, I think I did pretty ok. I thought there were hard times. I cried a lot. I asked questions a lot. I second guessed myself a lot. But we did good. They're still alive, right?
Now, though, I feel like it's getting harder.
Now, I feel like I'm really being tested as a parent.
Now, I really feel like I have no friggin' clue what I'm doing and I hate it.
(I'm going to use I from now on but know that my husband is included in this)
I have a pre-school 3.5 year old boy and a toddler almost 17 month old girl. They are wonderful. They make me laugh. They make me pull my hair out. They drive me insane. They are the lights of my life. You knew all that.
They really are good kids. Seriously. I'm not just saying that because I'm their mom. They are. My son is getting better and better at not having to be told to say please and thank you. He'll be the most polite 22 year old wearing diapers! My daughter is starting to say excuse me when she burps and she's saying thank you, now, too. Manners-wise they are good.
Yes, they have their moments. My daughter can throw a world class temper tantrum like you wouldn't believe! Arms and legs kicking, screaming crying. All of it. And all because I told her she couldn't play with a knife. (I know, I'm such a bitch!) My son has learned to talk back. He doesn't do it a lot but he does it enough that the time-out step has gained a 3 year old sized butt print over the past few months.
My concern is that I don't know how to handle these moments. I don't know if what I'm doing is right. I don't know if what I'm doing is helping or hurting the situation. I don't know what I'm doing.
Let's take tonight for instance. We went out with my parents. A very nice time at a community event and for the most part, the boy was ok. Before we left he was off the freaking wall and he sad in time-out for three minutes because he was not listening. That helped a bit. But my nerves were on edge. I had a horrible headache and he was just touching on every single frayed edge of nerve endings that I had left. I was at my wits end!
We went out to the event. He enjoyed himself. He was a bit whiny at points, but he hadn't napped all day and he was hopped up on sugar. Afterwards we went and got some pizza with my parents. I was on edge because everything that came out of his mouth was in the form of a whine or a cry and that drives me C-R-A-Z-Y!
I didn't know what to do. I threatened leaving. I threatened taking things away. I grabbed at every and any straw I could think of to get my then monster of a 3 year old to just. calm. down.
Luckily, the master, my mother stepped in. THANK GOD. My son was on his way to the pizza ovens if I had anything to say about it. She pulled him aside. She talked to him. She forced him to look at her and concentrate on what she was saying. She did not yell. She did not threaten. She did not scold. She talked. She asked him if he liked going to restaurants with everyone. She asked him if he wanted to be a big boy like pop-pop and daddy. She got him to focus on positives rather than negatives.
He was good. Really good during dinner. He ate. He sat. He whined a little bit when his sister attempted to eat his crayons, but who wouldn't?! He finished his entire meal and then politely asked for the candy that had been tempting him all through dinner. He wasn't good because he had been bribed.
He was just good.
Sometimes I feel like I don't have that power over my son. Over either of my kids. Sometimes I feel like I don't have any control over them. I feel like my son doesn't listen. I feel like my daughter's temper tantrums are a reflection on me and my parenting. (We don't give in to her tantrums. We walk away from her.) I feel like some days I'm just not doing this right and it's just getting harder and how am I possibly going to make it them being teenagers if I can barely handle them as a 1 year old and a 3 year old!??!
Obviously, my parents had to learn somewhere. They were not born parents. My mom claims my sister and I never threw temper tantrums. Maybe we didn't but I find that hard to believe, especially recalling myself as a child. I know that my parents had to have these same thoughts- I hope. I know that other parents have these same thoughts.
I just hate the idea that I'm not doing something right for my child.
I don't want my kids to be THOSE kids. You know the ones who back talk their parents and tell them to shut up. The ones who seem to have the parents on a very short leash and control all their movements with a fierce tug or a sharp tongue. You know the ones I'm talking about. I'm afraid of my kids being THOSE kids and I'm also afraid that maybe I don't know how to keep them from being those kids.
I guess I just hoped after the sleepless nights and the reflux and endless worry about SIDS and bottles and binkies for too long, it might get easier. Apparently not.
Apparently, this is where it gets really hard. And please don't tell me that this is nothing and it just gets harder as they get older because I really don't think I can take that right now!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
My kids are good kids.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:09 PM