This has been the hardest phase of parenting for me, personally, this far. Other than the newborn stage with Archer … I think we parents can all agree that nothing compares to a screaming infant. Especially when you are in it deep and haven’t quite grasped the concept that everything is a phase. This, too, shall pass.
Which is the advice I am giving myself in the back of my mind as I type.
That, and this devil-child, tornado in a small body, cute-smiling minion that turns on the charm when he knows he’s done something to piss me off … is Maverick.
I never went through this stuff with Archer. He would sit and play with his toys. They didn’t often go flying through the house, at the windows, dog or other people. Sure, he had epic tantrums, which even resulted in me taking a parenting class to try and help us manage his meltdowns. But, this. I don’t know how I’m going to come out of the other side of it—I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know what to do.
Don't let this cute little gecko-pirate fool you ... there should be devil horns in there somewhere.
We went through a phase where we yelled a lot. He just yelled back. Archer cried. I hated myself for it all. So, we tried a more relaxed approach, setting only the minimal boundaries necessary for the way we run our family and letting the rest go.
He pushed our boundaries even further. He won’t stay in bed, he keeps his brother up at night, he unbuckles his car seat in the middle of the highway, grabs random kitchen items off the counter—raw bacon comes to mind. I literally cannot turn around for one second, unless Paw Patrol is on the tv. It’s the only time he will sit still and not get into anything. I can’t put everything I don’t want him to get into up high, it’s not realistic and I don’t want him to start climbing more than he already is. He can open every baby lock we have, get into every door, leave the house on his own. Everything.
I am lost.
He may be small ...
Take yesterday. I wanted to eat lunch. Really pushing the boundaries here, I know. I’d made Maverick his lunch a good forty minutes before I re-heated my leftovers. He had one bite and that was about it. It’s not surprising. We’re lucky maybe once a week that he’ll sit at the dinner table with us, less frequently that he’ll eat. Breakfast is usually okay, but he left a good two-thirds of his waffles on his plate this morning. Silly me thought he’d have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch as his first meal of the day.
I sat down to eat, next to Maverick’s nearly-full plate, and could hear him playing in the other room. I got up to check on him and he was playing nicely with his blocks and cars. Everything was good.
Until two minutes later when he came running into the dining room to show me that he had put on some of my chapstick! Which he knows is in a drawer that he is not supposed to be in. At all.
*I will take a minute here to say, I know that he is small. He is learning by exploring and pushing boundaries. He likes the attention we give him, whether it’s negative or not, and he is just being a kid. I get that, I truly do. THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT ONE IOTA EASIER TO DEAL WITH. And this is my point.
... but he is mighty, and ...
The chapstick he got into comes in a small pot, which he had somehow taken large globs out of and smeared across his face. There was a huge lump on his upper cheek and I’m not even entirely sure that he had gotten any on his actual lips.
I snapped. But not in the way you would think. I wiped his face with a napkin, probably a little rougher than was warranted, I told him very firmly that he was not to play in the drawer where he got my chapstick, and then I burst into tears.
This shit is hard. I try not to care, to let Maverick and Archer yell and throw things and scream and wrestle. To let them be kids. It’s not like they listen to me or Brad when we try to tell them anything anyways. So, I try to turn a blind eye.
But then I can’t because I try to do something as simple as eat my lunch and our resident holy terror has gotten himself into the chapstick, diffuser and turned on the electric fireplace.
... he knows how to make a REALLY big mess.
I sat on the stairs, crying, for a while. Maverick brought me his stuffy and a toy. Then a book. It’s something my kids do when I get visibly upset in front of them. It’s, sweet? At some point, Maverick went upstairs, grabbed a book and his pooh bear that he sleeps with, which made me think he was ready for his nap.
I’ll spare you the details, but it ended with me sitting on the floor upstairs, this time, again, bawling my eyes out. Thirty-six years old and I can’t hold my shit together. I cried, I sobbed, and I sat on the floor for another indeterminate amount of time, a snotty mess. Thankfully, it passed and Maverick forgot why he was in trouble, I think he even did the thing he was supposed to be doing in the first place.
But then I had to switch modes, and this is where the hardest phase thing comes in again. I had to pretend like I was alright. Not only to put him down for his nap, but I feel like I have to pretend that I want to be home during this pandemic caring for my kid 24/7. I’m not sorry that that’s not true. I was not made out to be a stay-at-home-mom. There, I said it. Now you know.
Mom and Dad - Exhausted Doesn't Begin to Describe It.
And I’m sorry for anyone out there that wants nothing more than to be a parent, I don’t mean anything against what those that are struggling are going through.
I’m struggling, too.
Through the hardest phase I’ve been through in parenting yet, I hear my voice repeat itself to exhaustion. I do things on my own because no one will listen. Even the poor dog is having a go of it right now, having to watch for flying objects or a bad kid looking to slap him or pull his tail at any time.
I guess it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Poor Eddie. He's been going through enough lately.
I basically just needed to get all of that out today; writing is my therapy.
This will end, right?
Don’t say no, just send wine,