Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confession Time

I'm going to complain about parenting stuff in this one.

Ok, I have a confession to make. But first, let me preface everything I'm about to say with this:
1. I love (LOVE!) my son.
2. I am more grateful than you may ever know that he is mine. I still don't know how we wound up with truly, the world's cutest dang kid ever.
3. He is a GOOD kid. Really. I am SURE I have it a lot easier than some moms.

BUT. (Here's the confession part). I really, really HATE the stage he is in right now. That term the terrible two's gets thrown around a lot, and G-d help me, he's only just about to turn two, so maybe things will get even worse before they get better, but boy-oh-boy this stage is kicking my ass. There have been many times over the past several weeks where I have even found myself contemplating whether or not I really and truly do want another baby. Huh? Wha? Hasn't that been my whole raison d'etre for like, I don't know, the past 5 years? Crap.

Here's a little run down of what's got me feeling beat:

He won't take naps anymore. Okay? N-O naps. This means, on the days when he is home with me (and I feel a little guilty even complaining about and of this because I am not a 100% SAHM. He does go to daycare part of the week) he will not take a single nap. Ever since he broke (yes, BROKE) his crib a few months ago, and we switched to the big boy bed, the naps have been a source of dissent and much teeth gnashing (on my part at least). At first, we/I could sometimes get him to nap, if I just read his cues and pretty much locked him in his room when it was nap time. He would fuss for a while, and cry, but eventually, he would succumb to sleep. Sometimes this meant he would fall asleep in his big rocking chair instead of the bed, but as long as he was sleeping, I was ok with it. Now, no matter what I do, no matter how tired he may be, no matter how long I try to let him cry it out, there is no giving in. He. Will. Not. Sleep. That means for me a couple of things: 1. I have no down time in during the day, at all. 2. He is not getting enough sleep therefore he is a cranky monster for about 60% of the day. 3. I am so frustrated after TRYING to get him to take a nap, I'm an emotional wreck.

2. Whining. He has suddenly taken to whining/fake crying to get whatever he wants. 24/7. This does not make any sense to me because he has always been a very pleasant kid, has not, prior to this time, been whiny at all, and we've always been able to communicate very well. I taught him some basic baby sign language early on, so he's pretty much always been able to communicate his needs/wants to me without the whining. And now, his language skills are coming on line too, so along with the sign language there's really no reason for the whining. Other than to drive me berserk. Seriously. I have to keep saying, "How do we ask without whining?" "Can you tell/show Mommy what you want without whining, please?" And he can. But after a full day of this (and without the naps, you can only imagine the fever pitch of his crankitude by, say, dinner time) I am ready to start drinking. The hard stuff.

3. Throwing. He has suddenly decided that it is really cool to throw stuff. Especially his food, off the high chair tray or table. Why? I don't know! Because he knows it's a no-no. He will do it, and I'll say, "Handsome Man, we don't throw our food. If you do that again, there will be no more dinner/snack/lunch." Then he will look me dead in the eyes, hold a piece of food out over the edge of his tray, wait a second, and then....drop. Gaaahhh! Then of course he throws a fit when I then say, "Ok. Dinner/lunch/snack is over." and remove him from the high chair.

4. Speaking of fits. Yes, he likes to throw them. Kicking, screaming, bucking tantrums. (And I have the dental work to prove it, remember?) I honestly think that he is not as bad as other kids around his age. I have seen some doozies out in public with other people's kids, and I can only pray that the worst is NOT yet to come. But, on top of the other stuff I am ill-equipped to handle the tantrums when they do happen. And they are happening more frequently.

5. Messes. The kid enjoys making messes. If there is something in a drawer or on a shelf that he can reach, he will pull everything out/off. Again, and again and again. As many times as I can put stuff away in a given day, he can pull it out. So now his room looks like a cell, with just a bed, and empty shelves. Oh well.

6. General button-pushing and boundary-checking. I know this is normal. I know this is exactly what he is supposed to be doing at this stage, but folks, I'm beat. All I hear myself saying all day long is "HM, what did I JUST say? No!" "No, we don't do that." "HM, get down off there right now, you know that is not allowed." "HM get off of there right now you are going to get hurt." "That's daddy's/mommy's please put that back." "Give that to mommy please." "HM, I said, give that to me, please!" "Do you want a time out?" I sound like a freaking caricature of a crazed mom.

7. Potty training. I am so proud of him, and he is doing a great job. But some days it takes A LOT of coaxing and prodding to get him to use the potty when I know he needs to. Even just getting him to let me change his diaper/pull-ups when I know it's necessary requires a lot of strength. Sometimes physical as well as emotional. (Have I ever mentioned how strong this kid is?) I also have had to clean up a lot of near misses and messes. (Comes with the territory, I know). I am proud as heck, but I hate it. I really hate it. It is just adding another layer to the stress that I am already dealing with (see #1-6).

8. Not sleeping through the night/early waking. I'm also sleep deprived because despite the fact that my kid was one of those amazing kids that slept through the night by like 3 months old, he is now often waking up (crying, screaming, etc) in the middle of the night. Mister has done some research and is convinced that it is because, paradoxically, he is not getting enough sleep (see #1). I know this is most likely true, but WTF? It means that yours truly is getting up in the night and spending anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours awake with him trying to find a way to soothe him back to sleep. On the "good" nights when he sleeps all the way through, he's been waking up too early. The past few days its been earlier and earlier.

For the past several weeks I have had a headache at the top of my neck, base of my skull, which goes between stabbing/throbbing/burning. I am exhausted all the time. I have been experiencing terrible mood swings.

As many of you know, my husband has a sucky commute (and we were going to try to move to make that better but we're staying put for the meantime, more on that later). So he often does not get home until after 8pm. I can tell you that by the time he gets home, I am spent. I am totally done. I have nothing left to give. I am a cranky bitch, or I'm just a dial tone. One or the other. Even on the days when HM is in daycare, there is the fact that I have a shitload of work to usually get done in the time that I have, so it's not like I'm going back to bed (even though Mister says I should). And, I am responsible for getting him from daycare, (at which point, he's happy to see me, but by the time we get to the car, he is already throwing a screaming fit because he doesn't want to get into his car seat), drive home, feed him, bathe him, get teeth brushed, use the potty, jammies, and bed time ritual. I also have to deal with the dog, the cats, and figure out what Mister and I will have for dinner. So, even though I get a "break" during the day, the time in the evening is pretty exhausting.

p.s. I know this is just a phase and yes, I do want another child. But the upshot of this experience is that 1.I'm actually GLAD in a weird way that the treatments didn't work last year because I would have an INFANT right now on top of all of this (how do people DO that?) and 2. I can tell you (at least for now) that I will be totally satisfied with just 2 kids. (I hope we will succeed in that). After #2 comes along I will not be wistfully thinking about trying to find a way for a third. We will be finished. Ahhh. And we can move on with our lives without the family building conundrum looming over us any more. Won't that be nice? See? There's always a silver lining.

p.s.s The really BIG confession that I should be making here is that I am a TERRIBLE parent. The other day, after an ill-fated attempt at getting HM to nap, and after having spent many hours cleaning throughout the day, I went into his room to find a monstrous mess (I had left him in there with a bottle--in a crazed attempt to try to get him to quiet down for a nap) and he had sprayed milk everywhere. He had pulled out all of his diapers, his clothes out of the hampers, and he had gotten his own diaper off and had peed. He'd pulled all his books out and his blankets off the bed, and you couldn't even walk any where. Well, I totally lost it. I yelled at him. I mean really yelled. I am sure I had the look of a crazed maniac on my face, too, and it really scared him. I am not proud. In fact, I had a grapefruit sized pit in my stomach for about two days after. I think Mister is still mad at me about it, too. I am not very impressed with myself and have even wondered if there is some bigger reason why I am unable to procreate? Am I just not cut out for the task of parenting? Yeah, I'm thinking I really suck right now.


Lori said...

I am not without sin. I cannot throw a stone.

It's just hard sometimes.

Go easy on yourself. That's actually one of the best things you can do for HIM.

luna said...

you must be exhausted.

it has to be hard, being on all the time. I think lori is right -- be easy on yourself, give yourself a break.

and don't question that you are a wonderful mother. everyone has their moments.

Bee Cee said...

Some of those scenarios would test the patience of a saint, and all of them at the same time would push anyone's buttons. Don't beat yourself up, you are doing a great job. And I know nothing, but I am sure there are much much worse stories out there.

Tracy said...

I'm sorry you're going through a rough stretch. I have zero advice to offer, not that you asked anyway.

Try not to beat yourself up too much. You recognize that you lost it (understandably so) and know that you don't want to do it again. You are a GREAT mom, but even GREAT moms aren't perfect.

s.e. said...

You are grateful. You have all the right in the world to complain. And it is obvious you are a wonderful mother.

My mom is by far one of the best mothers I have ever encountered and she yelled at least every other day of my childhood, infancy included I am sure.

Just me said...

I think that is totally normal as a parent, especially in the toddler years.

Actually, probably in the teenage years as well. I clearly remember my mom telling me around 13 "I will always love you, but right now I don't LIKE you very much."


Kami said...

The last paragraph had me laughing out loud. I'm sorry - but it was just perfectly HORRIBLE all the things he did. Not that he meant to be horrible, of course.

Sleep deprivation will make a monster out of anyone. I'm with Lori - cut yourself some slack.