My most recent pledge to not yell at my son was an epic failure on day 2. Everything was going smoothly until it was time to strap the kids in that monstrosity of a double stroller to take them for a walk. TJ wanted to get out but I really needed that walk because I need to lose weight and because I need to get back into the jogging/walking/running mode for a 5K race next weekend.
I have many triggers. Sometimes I recognize them. Most times I ignore them.
Lately, the fact that
– I have started to wake up early (between 5 and 5:30 a.m.) and stay in a tired sleepy fog all day,
– I have been having disturbed sleep (TJ in whose room we sleep, wakes up on and off at night time for whatever reason and that wakes me up and makes it really hard to fall back asleep),
– I feel more and more depressed about not being able to lose all my pregnancy weight
– I am getting really tired of still not being able to wear my regular pre-baby clothes,
– I hate myself for becoming complacent about the domesticity of life that has come upon me,
– I fear that I am losing my ambitious need-to-have-a-career spark,
– I feel incompetent about keeping a household because the husband works all day and STILL comes home and finds so much to do – stuff that I am supposed to, should do because I am the frikin’ housewife,
– I love my kids to no end but sometimes wonder what life might have been without them
…is all getting to me.
This morning when the stupid straps on the baby’s seat in the stroller wouldn’t comply into being tied and TJ kept wanting to be strapped in, demanding that he be strapped in right that second repeatedly despite my requests to give me a few minutes while I got his sister strapped, then after I took a break and strapped him in to make him shut up, demand that his shoes be tied, over and over and over and over again while I continued to be bent over the baby’s strap still trying to figure it out (my back always hurts so this bending wasn’t doing me any favors), I completely lost it and yelled, “If you ask me to tie your shoes again, I will strangle you!!”
Like, really!? Who says that to a child? One’s own child? A child that I prayed for, wished for day and night.
That was it! Just like that, I was back to yelling again.
I got literally two seconds of peace after I said that and then, “Mommy, shoooes” as if all that I had just said wasn’t said at all. It didn’t even matter. My anger, my frustration, my yelling, just did not seem effective (since when was yelling supposed to be an effective parenting tool anyway?). All he cared about were his damn shoes. I could’ve burned them at that point.
The rest of the day was spent similarly. In utter frustration.
At 2.5 years old, he may be at the peak of his terrible twos. Who knows? I’ve heard it doesn’t end at 2 but continues on to ages 3 and above too. Yay, me!
The worst of times are when he purposely hurts his baby sister. He loves her very, very much and it is obvious in many ways and yet, he rams his monster dump truck into her, on purpose even after I repeatedly warn him against doing so. He smacks her face out of nowhere, pokes her cheeks or eyes, pulls her hair, kisses her exerting so much pressure with his mouth that she starts crying, hits her tummy, and forcibly gives her tummy time and if she is on her tummy, rolls her over on her back. He is capable of doing all or some of these actions at any time.
The unpredictability of his actions means I cannot lay the baby down even for a second without threatening him with consequences if he goes anywhere near her which he inevitably does. He is drawn to her because he loves her. I think he loves her so much that he doesn’t know how to channel it appropriately to show that love. I understand he is learning to express his emotions and I teach him how to do what he does in a kinder, gentler, more loving manner but none of it works when he is in the throes of his emotional overflows.
Perhaps he has some kind of repressed emotions from still adjusting to a sibling. Perhaps we just didn’t do a good job of helping him through this big change in his life. Perhaps, despite our overcompensating him with love and attention so he does not feel left out or ignored because of a new baby, we are failing him somewhere.
Point is, whenever he does things that hurt the baby, I can’t stand it. I tend to try telling him nicely, redirect him to better ways to express his emotions, or to other activities entirely or simply tell him to stop doing whatever it is that he is doing. My methods seldom work. Usually, he’ll pretend to listen for a few minutes and then come right back to what he was doing. All of these end up becoming triggers.
Not to mention that the two hours I used to rely on, two glorious hours where I could write, read, peacefully have a cup of coffee, or do whatever the heck I wanted while he napped are slipping away from me. He barely naps that long anymore. Once he is up, there is more demand for attention or to go out.
Given my tiredness from waking up early (my own doing because I need to at least have that me time in the mornings if I don’t get it in the afternoons anymore AND because I want to work out AND prepare for the 5k), I have no energy to be present 100% while we are outside, whether our porch or the small community park across the street. Besides, I need to be within wi-fi range so I can keep an eye on the baby’s monitor. I don’t want to get arrested for child abandonment.
So, all in all, choosing to institute the no-yell policy at this time of my life with all these very active triggers is not a good time. When is? Don’t know. Perhaps I should just give up waking up early, writing, trying to lose weight, or doing anything for myself. Maybe, that will make me a happier, more easy to live with kind of a person.
Otherwise, there is always therapy. This time, with drugs, and not a prescription for useless mindfulness which never works for me. I am always mindful in everything I do and yet, it never works. It may be time for psychiatry, not psychology.