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?
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.
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