My son has been driving me crazy. A tad more crazy than what is usual for a toddler. We’re talking about my having moments of sheer insanity where the thought of poking out my eyes or cutting off my ears actually don’t sound that bad. Moments where I hide in the bathroom for
as long as I can a few minutes just to…sneak away. Jerry is coming into his own, there is no mistaking that. Along with serene stages where our children burst forward with new personality every mommy is confronted with at least one or twelve arguing stages. Funny, I didn’t think I would ever have used ‘serene’ in the same sentence as ‘arguing,’ at least in the context of my child but whatever. If I say “black” he is most assuredly telling me “white.” It’s frustrating to even get shoes on him and get out the door. Even if he is complying with what I ask him to do he is regularly sounding off in dissent just to hear himself talk. He is “NOT going for a car ride to the park, he is going for a car ride to the MALL,” and he definitely “isn’t having peanut butter and jelly for lunch”, he is having a “cheeeese sandwich!”
****Mom’s who have been there before or are there now are nodding their heads and laughing at me. Part of that laughter is because it genuinely is funny and the other parts is the left over madness that they sometimes experience even if their children are past this stage****
At the same time that he seems so irritated with me and my “rules” (no, you may not play in the fridge or the trash can and you cannot throw your cup when you’re finished with it) he is absolutely dependent on me to do even the most menial tasks for him. And he dissolves and becomes only a faint resemblance to the normally calm (though, as previously mentioned, argumentative) and sweet little boy that I normally deal with. These tasks? How can an already totally dependent child require anything more basic and essential then needing to be fed all of his meals?! How about needing me to peel his bananas even though I have shown him countless times AND he even has the hand coordination to draw shapes?? Or refusing to blow his nose (we’re talking about breathing into a TISSUE, people) until his father finally MADE him stand there and blow into the hanky. He still doesn’t want to blow into a tissue, he wants you to gently wipe his nose. 15 times every hour. Even when I ask him to hand me his sippy cup that is within arm’s reach can trigger a mini meltdown.
“Want mommy to go get it!”
“Want mommy to peel it!”
“Want mommy blow my nose!!!!!!”
Are you kidding, son?
But then there are things that I’m not even allowed to help him with- or even ask if he needs help. He doesn’t want to eat eggs off of my plate – he wants his own plate and he wants to hold the fork. He doesn’t want me to guide his hand while holding a marker so that I can show him how to write a “j.” And he sometimes makes me leave the room when he is going potty in his diaper. He’ll scurry to me shortly after he is done so that he can request a new one. No, he doesn’t want to sit on the potty and do his business. He wants mommy to clean it up for him. But I darn well better not look at him while he takes care of business. Never mind that he has used his potty dozens of times, he wants the easier option. (Yes, we’re getting to the stage where he is going to have to buck up and do this on his own, we get it.)
But if I tell him not to climb onto a box next to our red cabinet and search for the glue sticks that he isn’t supposed to play with he’ll try anyway – though he has nearly fallen before and gets in trouble after doing so. He also likes to bounce on the couch after being told not too – and after falling a handful of times and earning himself a great big ole goose egg. Or putting his finger in another child’s mouth because I guess he didn’t believe me when I’ve said that he will get bit.
Again I ask: Are you kidding me?
No, I cannot convince him that there aren’t lions, tigers or owls in the living room. He wants me to carry him into the rooms, turn on the lights and inspect. He won’t take my word for it or for lots of different things. Unless I’m offering him a cookie. Then I’m amazing. And while I’m glad to make him feel safe, heard and secure in his own him, of course it would be easier on me for him to just believe what comes out of my mouth when I say that he shouldn’t do this, should listen when I ask for that and take my word for it when I tell him he is safe.
All this is about is simply this: he is working on trying to grow up. And that is tough business. I won’t understand why some things are going to come first and easily while others will require more time. I get it. And once I think I have it down with him I’m quite certain he will change the game. As much as this stage is a bit irritating, it’s kind of sad. I was at my women’s group the other day and was talking about how my children have “default settings.” They’re in a stage right now where mommy (and daddy) is the best. They love me unconditionally. They seek approval, assurance, love and security from my arms everyday. It is neccesary. And sometimes, it is hard. To give those things are not always MY default settings. And while I do want to see them come into their own, I now need to make a conscious and genuine effort to seek out their heart. And to remember that there is a little bit of trial and error with growing up – and life for that matter. Go ahead, Jerry, squeeze the nozzle on the end of the hose. While it is facing towards you. Knock yourself out, kiddo.
I’m proud of my little boy, don’t mistake me there. I’m not pleased with him when I tell him we’ll go outside “later on,” and he snappily says, “no, not later ON, later OFF.”
Right then, little man. Whatever.