Thursday, April 12, 2012

Connor James

When Connor was almost two and I was VERY pregnant with twins, I had a complete melt-down. I sobbed and sobbed, wondering what on earth I was going to do when all three were having temper tantrums. Connor's temper tantrums had just begun and we were in the thick of it and it left the hubby and I wondering how we'd survive. And then... Miraculously, Connor stopped. The babies were born, they stayed in the NICU, and then came home, and Connor was so calm. He threw less fits, communicated his needs more, and ignored us a whole lot less. I can't tell you how much easier it made things.

Well, now that we have settled into a routine and the babies are easier to manage, Connor has become more independent and strong willed. He has thrown more fits, yelled more, and had complete if-you-do-not-give-me-a-second-bowl-of-ice-cream-I-will-SERIOUSLY-die yelling matches with us. It's fun. Really.
I'm a teacher and I'm equipped to handle temper tantrums; I am equipped to handle consistency and calm tones and strong, "I said no's...Your behavior is not acceptable's" But man. This is hard. The other night Connor wanted a second bowl of ice cream. We told him no. He was lucky to have the first. (Ha!). We told him that if he continued to behave the way he was behaving, he'd be going to bed. He continued. We started the bed process. Have you ever tried to brush the teeth of a child who is so angry steam is actually emanating from his pores? Have you every tried to put footie pajamas on a child who is wildly trying to grab your hair and pull as hard as he can? Yeah. I kid you not that he would not have had a more extreme reaction had we told him that due to a lack of food in our house, we were planning on eating him for dinner. Seriously. Panic. Screaming. Completely unreasonable behavior. It was not his finest moment. Nor was it mine.
When you dream of being a parent, you expect temper tantrums. You expect that you will remain calm, that you will firmly tell your child not to behave that way and they will magically stop. Because they know you're serious. Because they know you mean business. Because, you know, you judged all those other moms whose children were throwing temper tantrums in the grocery store. At that time, you KNEW YOUR child would NEVER behave that way. Right? Nope. I can't tell you how unbelievably humbling it is to have your child throw himself down in the middle of the aisle in a crowded target and scream on the top of his lungs. It is especially humbling at home when your child is intentionally inflicting harm - doing his personal best to actually hurt you - or his siblings.
The other night in the car, Connor was upset. He had had a bad day at school (complete with pushing a little girl off of the slide for no apparent reason). He was grumpy. And I was ill-equipped to handle this new parenting dilemma (how to parent through a behavior that happened while I wasn't there). His monkey was sitting on the seat in front of him and he couldn't reach it. I could tell that he lacked the words to say to me, "I'm upset at myself. I'm frustrated I had a bad day. I'm embarrassed that Jason had to tell you what I did to that little girl and I can't tell you why it happened." So instead, he screamed as loudly as he could, "Isabella leave monkey alone!!!" Poor girl. She was literally sitting there completely minding her own business doing absolutely NOTHING with the monkey. She couldn't even have reached the monkey if she tried. Honestly, I wanted to laugh. Because don't we all feel that way sometimes? Haven't we all displaced our anger on an unsuspecting person a time or two.

I'm constantly learning the right things to do and the wrong things to do. Usually I learn after I make a mistake. Usually I learn after I've cried because I've been a horrible mommy. But every day I get better at this. I swear I become an expert at this whole parenting thing and then they do something new that I have to come up with a new plan for. Isn't that life?!?
I know that some people don't like to blog about those moments and that's okay for them, but for me, I see the beauty in these moments as much as the ones where he's being cuddly and loving. I learn the most from these moments - I learn how much stronger I am than I thought...I repeatedly apologize to the woman in the grocery store I judged before I had kids...I repeatedly apologize to my former self for being so proud. I learn to be humble. And mostly, I pray that my child will learn that when I say to no to ice cream, I really mean it. Haha!

*In case you're wondering if I did laugh in the car, I did. But I didn't let him see. I moved my body away from the rear view mirror and laughed. And then I told Connor that Isabella loved him even though he was mad at her. He shouted, "NO!" at me. I just simply repeated myself, "Isabella loves you so much and if she could tell you she was sorry you are upset, I'm sure she would." Miraculously, Connor's response: "I love Izzbella. I sorry Izzbella. I love you." Haha! 

3 comments:

Nina said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

We are in the middle of alomst-3-year-old-craziness as well. I often (more than I ever thought I would) find myself feeling horrible about how I dealt with my son's behavior. I get it wrong often. I'm tired and overwhelmed all the time. I reflect about how I could have done better. I apologize to my son often for my behavior. But I think that makes us human. All we can do is pray the Lord helps us learn to deal a little better each time. Two steps forward, one step back. Good job, Momma! : )

Kelli Kegley said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My goodness I love this post. My Connor (just turned two) is wearing me out lately and I am so scared of what is to come with baby brother coming in 2 weeks! Maybe he'll give me some relief at the beginning, too?? One can only hope! Ha! Anyway, thanks for the honest post. Nice to know I'm not the only one!

The Schult Family said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

The two best pieces of advice my Mom gave me about parenting were - Never say never about your kids - Whatever they are doing now, won't last and will change quicker than you know it (Good and Bad). Your post hits on both of these things! You are SUCH a great Momma!... D

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