In the midst of trying to managing the temper tantrums of my 5 and 3-year-old boy’s, I wonder if they know how much I love them. I use all my will power to ignore the 5-year-olds meltdown in the hopes of teaching him that whining and yelling demands will get him nowhere in life. All the while my maternal guilt wants him to know that if I could create a world where he wouldn’t feel one moment of sadness, disappointment, or frustration and still grow up to be an emotionally healthy adult, I would. At the expense of my sanity I would. But I can’t. I know that experiencing these emotions is entirely essential to becoming a kind, empathetic, responsible, human. That is what I’m trying to raise: a happy, healthy, responsible human.
The trouble is I don’t know how much of these things will yield the desired outcome. Too little and he becomes a self-absorbed a-hole who thinks the world was created for his benefit. Too much and he is forever seeking out unhealthy relationships that reenforce his belief that the world is an inherently disappointing place. And day by day, I am supposed to know the exact amount that will strike a perfect balance and create a well-functioning adult male.
Oh…………crap. I’m a semi-functioning adult female. I don’t think I’m qualified for this.
His tantrum has sent me spinning into the orbit of guilt and uncertainty. I am so overwhelmed by his sorrow over not getting to play with the best bath toys that I resent it and tell myself that it is what prevents me from being the mom I want to be.
But I stay calm. We trudge upstairs. The 5-year-old wails, “I can’t walk, I’m too tired!” The 3-year-old smugly announces “I’m not having a fit! I’m not crying!” I stretch pajamas over a gone-limp body and roll it into the bed like a wet bag of leaves. I put pajamas on the 3-year-old, an ever-moving target, as he climbs into bed mocking his brother who is still whimpering. I turn on music, switch out the light, kiss them goodnight and wonder if I’ve harmed or helped tonight. I tell him (and myself) that it will be better tomorrow. I sit on the floor and rub his back in one last attempt to calm us both.
This is the boy who is so artistic, musical and imaginative. So sweet, yet resists all my attempts at physical affection, save one: he loves for me to gently bite his ear lobes. I’ll take what I can get. He nudges his head toward mine and giggles as I make piggy sounds in his ear. He’s calm now and wants his turn. I’m a little creeped out by this bizarre ritual of affection and by his heavy breathing in my ear, but willing to set aside my discomfort just to be close to him for one sweet moment.
© Jennifer Sparklebritches and Poop In My Hair, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to and Poop In My Hair with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.