11.30.2007

Some things I just can't say to my kids


My Dearest Buddy,

Can we quit with the gawdamn power struggles already? They really just fucking suck, ok? Maybe it's my fault, maybe I coddle you too much and do too much for you because I just forget that our job is to raise independent people, and now I'm paying for it. You will be four years old in a couple of weeks... maybe that's it. Your "Terrible Twos" weren't that bad (from what I remember), but maybe your "Fearsome Fours" will just be horrid.

Lately, you've been developing an increasing amount of attitude and disrespect (usually aimed at me), and trust me, it hasn't gone unnoticed. You've been lashing out with your temper and your fists and that shit has just gotta stop.

In response to this new phase of yours, I have been working on becoming more strict, more consistent. I hate being more strict. I hate what I perceive as nagging and I really hate having to be the "mean Mom." You (and sometimes your sisters) aren't listening to me. If it takes raising my voice and losing my patience faster and consequences for you (and your sisters) to get you to listen, I'll do it, but I won't like it.

This week has been particularly bad for you and I. I'm beginning to dread the mornings even more than usual. You drag your feet getting ready and you stall, then you have a meltdown when the rest of us are ready to go and the consequences that I've spelled out for you set in. That's when the lashing out gets worse. I gotta tell you, being a target sucks. I don't deserve to have anyone treat me this way, let alone someone I gave birth to.

Last night, you had a fit when no one would watch you get your pajamas on. I told you I would turn the light off and go to bed myself and I did. You tiptoed in and lightly touched my hand at first. I didn't stir, but I wasn't sleeping. I knew every move you made for the 20 or so minutes you waited silently next to me. You waited for me to "wake up" and pay attention to you. Part of me wanted to ask you if you needed help, but with the new "Mean Mom Rules", I just couldn't. Eventually, there was a hesitant "Mom..." and only then did I "wake." You told me you were going to get your pajamas on and brush your teeth and get in bed. You also told me you were sorry for the way you acted. Then you went off and got ready for bed. You tucked yourself in last night, quite a bit later than your usual bed time, making this morning another uphill battle.

After we dropped the girls off at school this morning, you were fine. Fine. Seriously? How do you do that? One minute you're throwing a gawdamn tantrum, the next minute you're fine. You wanted me to sing along with you and Tim McGraw in the van. All I wanted to do was throw my own tantrum. LEAVE ME ALONE STOP WHINING I HATE IT WHEN YOU ACT THIS WAY WHY DO I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS SHIT STOP WHINING STOP WHINING STOP WHINING STOP TALKIING TO ME IF YOU DON'T STOP RIGHT THIS MINUTE MY HEAD WILL EXPLODE I SWEAR TO GOD THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO RIGHT NOW IS SING "1 2 3 LIKE A BIRD I SING"

Instead, I inhaled slowly, then exhaled slowly. And I sang for you because that's what you wanted and I thought about the truth in the lyrics I was singing (I'm so glad you're here today...) and some of my frustration and anger dissipated. When I dropped you off at school, I gave you a big hug and held you close and told you I loved you and nearly cried in the wake of the roller coaster morning.

I love you (and your sisters) so very very much. More than you'll ever even know, so... Truce? Ok? I really really really really hate the power struggles. Did I mention I hate them? You are such a sweet boy, with a good heart. Let's find a way to work this out better, ok?

Very Sincerely,

Mommy

P.S. Punkin - I'm sorry the Tooth Fairy didn't show up last night. She was probably just tired and distracted after dealing with a stubborn, nearly-four-year-old boy. I'm sure she'll show up tonight - right after she goes to the grocery store, when you're fast asleep.

18 comments:

wordgirl said...

Sorry there's such a struggle, Kelli. Things will straighten out soon. I just know it.

http://wordgirl5.typepad.com/half_of_the_sky

Nilbo said...

“Parents are the bones on which children cut their teeth.”

- Peter Ustinov

"This too shall pass."

- Nilbo, and every other parent of older children.

You're a hero, darlin'. Even if you don't always feel it.

Sharkey said...

Just keep repeating the "This too shall pass" mantra that Nils mentioned. Also, if you're looking for good behavior I've heard that Santa is a good carrot to wave around this time of year. :)

Mrs Groovy said...

What a touching entry. I too feel your pain... it is so hard being the Mommy sometimes. Good luck with everything.

Susie said...

I love you, CK. You're a good mom. Every parent has these times. I promise 4 is better than 3. Three, as I recall, was the year I feared ending up on the 11 o'clock news.

As for Punkin, tell her the truth about the Tooth Fairy. It's time she knew: the Tooth Fairy didn't show up because she was drunk and fucking a leprechaun.

Nilbo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nilbo said...

Be fair, Susie. Leprechauns need love too. And that Tooth Fairy looked a LOT like Bucky. Hey ...drunk, bag full of change ... you can see how he'd make the mistake.

Doug said...

Reminds me so much of Heather when we had a houseful of kids. Kept her cool, worked her miracles calmly, did all things for all the family. I used to wonder how long it would be. Finally one day she'd blow, doors would slam, words be said to the kids -- and they'd all stand with that "What did I do" look on their faces.

It was difficult for me to try to explain to them that it was the little pebbles of aggravation that became huge dunes which had just rolled over them.

eclectic said...

You ARE SUCH a GREAT MOM!!!! And I cannot EVEN tell you how effin' glad I am to hear that your tooth fairy is just as pathetic as the one that our kids have!!! Our tooth fairy has actually had to write notes of apology to deliver along with the dollar because of missing the first night deadline. **sigh**

This post is just so great, CK! Your kids are just as wonderful as you are, and they're going to be just fine -- because they are growing up knowing they matter. Ultimately, I truly believe that is the essential thing the human psyche needs to form compassion and responsibility. And they learn that they matter from us, from the fact that we DO deal with the power struggles and the tantrums and the everything, and still, SOMEHOW, manage to love them more than life.

Bone Machine said...

"Mamas don't let you babies grow up to be cowboys" --Waylon & Willie

Circus Kelli said...

Wordgirl - Thanks, love.

Nilbo - "This too shall pass" - yep, that's our mantra.

Sharkey - Ah yes, but if they aren't listening to me, they don't hear the Santa threat.

Mrs.Groovy - Welcome and thank you! Come back again!

Susie - Thanks, darlin. I may hold off on telling Punkin the whole truth...

Doug - That's it, exactly. "Mommy needs a timeout before her head explodes."

Eclectic - Gawd I love you. How do always you know exactly what to say? This was the first time the Tooth Fairy didn't show the first night. Thankfully, she showed last night.

Bone - Um... what exactly are you trying to say?

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

You are going to save this gem for after the kids reach maturity and you can show it to your grandkids, aren’t you.

Platypus said...

Oh I feel for you, sweetie. Four sucks big time and like you two was actually pretty OK. Four though - I hated four. Hang in there, it does get better I promise.

Oh and the Tooth Fairy here has also written notes of apology because she sucked and didn't turn up on time. You are not alone and it doesn't cause any lasting damage. You are a fantastic mother and your children are lucky to have you. :)

Bone Machine said...

I have no clue, but I will add that it is A-OK to grow up to be a Dallas Cowboy fan, because that shows taste and sophistication.

Can you legally pistol whip the little dude followed by a stern "Cut it out!"? I'm not up on the current legalities.

WILLIAM said...

I could just put Max's name at the top of that letter.

Circus Kelli said...

Platy - Yeah, I know that... thanks, love.

Bone - I don't think so... for everything you said.

William - Dude. It gets better. (that's what they're all sayin, anyway...)

Bone Machine said...

Humbug!

Anonymous said...

whoa, I hope you've been able to take a deep breath since this was written! and it's GREAT, Kelli! You just wrote what every mom feels at times, seriously. I know you have great kids, and I know you love them to death, but it's hard some times when they drive you crazy like that. Buddy's just testing you, he's going through this funky phase where he's learning to be independent and yet he's got a Mom who's strong enough to stand up to him, even when she's all worn out. THAT'S the lesson they need to learn.
It's easier to give in and let them have their way, but then? Then both of you would pay for itin the long run.

Best advice I ever got is that it hurts you more to discipline then it does for them to receive it! He'll get over it, and he'll be better off for it. Raising little humans is NOT for wimps!
I hope you got some rest and a big mai tai for that one.
Hang in there!
Laura, VSea

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