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Posts Tagged ‘bad word’

Another Thursday, another miserable day. Instead of having fun at the Children’s Museum, like we planned, we’re still home and L is in a time out. Why the F he has to F with me on Effing Thursdays, I have no idea. (I’m doing a good job curbing my swearing. I already emptied our checking account into my swear jar.)

Clearly something BIG and BAD happened to send L over the edge into obnoxious land costing him a trip to the museum. Right? Of course. The BIG BAD thing was that I asked him to wash his hands after peeing. That’s right. I’m such a bitch. Not only did I ask him to wash his hands, but then when he crumpled on the floor into a puddle of whining misery, I did not acquiesce and come help him wash his hands.

This is after a morning of walks and a bike ride, giving him his favorite lunch (a Nutella sandwich) and letting him watch a show while eating it, all with the promise that afterwards we’ll go to his favorite place ever. All he had to do was pee first.

Another special day, another huge disappointment for everyone. Maybe L and I just shouldn’t spend any time together. I’m so pissed off. I told him that if he made one more fresh face or comment that we wouldn’t go to the museum. He promptly stuck his tongue out at me and said “No, YOU won’t go to the museum.” So, up to his room he went. Apologizing, crying, wailing against the injustice.

And now I have to follow through. In order to be a good mom, I have to find something else to fill the next few hours with. Something certain to be harder for me and less fun for him than a trip to the museum. This sucks. And will he learn any lesson from this? Will he actually internalize anything about actions and consequences? About how mommy is serious when she threatens something and you’d better listen to her? Not likely. He’s missed out on so many things, been dragged out of so many fun places. I always follow through. And he’s still the worst behaved kid I know. (When he’s being bad. When he’s being good he’s a freaking angel.)

Thursdays always suck.

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Another bright shining mommy moment brought to you by your local mom who makes you feel better about your parenting:

me: (dropping my phone by my feet while driving and talking to L’s pediatrician) Damn!

L: Why you always say ‘damn’?

me: Um, I shouldn’t. It’s not a very nice word. It’s a grown up word and you shouldn’t say it though.

L: Then you should only say it at night when S and I are sleeping so we don’t hear it.

me: (sheepishly) You’re right.

L: You should say ‘fuck’ instead.

me: Er, actually, that’s really not a nice word either and no one should say it.

L: Yes it is a nice word! Fuck! Fucking! Fuck. What does fuck mean anyway?

me: (stammering) I really need to pull over to get my phone. Nothing. It means nothing. Want ice cream when we get home?

When I did finally retrieve the phone no one was on the other end. I have no idea how much was heard. I am an AWESOME mom.

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I’ve been living under a microscope. Or at least that’s what it feels like. For a short-term house guest, it’s possible to present a version of your self, home and family that is close to the real deal, but a little nicer. But for a long-term house guest, namely a 3-week mother-in-law visit, the pretense falters after a few days and suddenly the real thing is exposed to an outsider.

For a few days, all of L’s snacks were carrots, apples, clementines and the like. But by day 3 or 4, both of us were tired of this and the goldfish, pretzels, and crackers came back out. For a few days L’s mischief and misbehavior were met with reasonable, measured responses. I was able to pretend that he learned “dammit” somewhere else. S’s wriggling and whining on the changing table was met with gentle encouragement to stay still. But this couldn’t last, and soon enough my crazy was showing.

Knowing that all of this was observed by my mother-in-law, has kept me keenly aware of all of my family’s faults, all of our weaknesses, all of our weirdness, our dirt (real, physical dirt), our bad sides that we generally reserve only for each other. The stuff you imagine doesn’t go on in your friends’ houses, even though they assure you it does. And because of my relationship to her, being  her son’s wife, I feel that all of these imperfections fall squarely on my shoulders and are seen as a reflection of my own shortcomings.

I am likely judging myself and all of us much more harshly than my mother-in-law is, but I can’t help but feel that she is grateful that her flight is in two days. That soon she will be able to take her leave of our loud, disagreeable household and go home to her peaceful life. I feel guilty that I couldn’t hold it together better. That I couldn’t, for just 3 weeks, create a nice environment for her so she could leave missing us and looking forward to her next visit.

So, that’s where I am. Stuck with an unpleasant mixture of disappointment, frustration, guilt and some relief that it will all be over soon, (this last feeling brings on more guilt, so it really provides very little relief). She’s planning another visit for October and I’m calculating the ages my kids will be then and thinking that it will likely be another rough one. L will be 3.5, which from what I’ve heard makes 3 look like a day at the spa. S will, (unimaginably!) be a toddler of 15 months, instead of a sweet baby. Ugh, this will not be good.

So, Nana, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you had to witness the real deal in my house. I’m sorry that I’m not a calm, serene person who takes it all in stride. I’m sorry that L is a maniac. I’m sorry that my cupboards and fridge aren’t filled with only the most wholesome ingredients for the most wholesome home cooked meals. I’m sorry that you teach me how to bake every time you come and I stubbornly just don’t learn. (Truth – I have no interest and feign incompetence; she must think I’m a dolt.) Hopefully you are as generous as possible and don’t judge us all as monsters, and don’t mourn for your son’s poor choice of wife!

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I imagine life in other people’s homes as mostly pleasant. Sure there are normal toddler tantrums, there’s over-stimulation, hunger and over-tired outbursts, but I expect that most of the time, the people in the home are happy. This is not true in my home – we are not happy. We aren’t happy because we live with a crazy person.

From one moment to the next, over the smallest of infractions, L can go from the happiest child to a sulking, brooding, foot stomping, hitting, kicking, spitting, screaming, threat-slinging monster. (I thought that brooding was reserved for teenagers? Maybe I’m just getting it out of the way early? Wishful thinking, I’m sure.)

So far this morning L has told me that he loves me and thanked me for the new shirt I bought him yesterday. (Aw!) A short time later, he attacked me with his drumsticks, calling me “Bad Mommy” and telling me that he didn’t like me and didn’t have to listen. (#%$!) Soon after that he cuddled up to my leg to ask if he could help me.  (Aw!) A moment later he screamed at me not to look at him, demanding that he needs privacy. (@$%&*) WTF? How am I supposed to live with this kind of mood-shifter?

I’ve tried different tactics dealing with his bad behavior. I have given more time outs than you would believe. No effect. I have taken away offending toys (the ones he hits me with, throws, etc). No effect. (On one particularly bad day, I actually took away every single toy and book. I carried his whole toy box, very nearly killing myself, down to the basement telling him that I was going to give it all away to nice poor children. Once again, I’m waiting for my mom of the year award.) I have ignored him. This just leads to more and more outlandish behavior until it can no longer be ignored. What can I do? How can my sweet child say that he wants to throw me in the garbage? And where in the world did  he come up with “I’m going to shoot you with my gun!”? What kind of bad mother am I to have a child who says these things?

Just like in everything in life, different people excel at different things. I think I’m a good mom to a baby. I am not good at 3-year-old boy. I just don’t get him; I react too emotionally to his evil outbursts; I am almost never on the same page as him; I don’t like his games (mostly running and throwing himself at things and asking “isn’t that cool?”); I don’t like his interests (poop, worms, jumping off of dangerous things); I don’t have the same type of energy (constant). I’m hoping, that at some later age, we’ll sync up again. Until then, I’m considering renting him out. But, just like my damn cat who now pees on the carpet, who would want him? Do those safe haven places even take 3-year-olds?

And then, just when I’m ready to pack him in the car to drop him off at the local fire station, his natural instinct for self-preservation kicks in. He turns on the charm, dialing up to full blast, and says something like “Mommy, you’re my special girl.” And, like an idiot, I melt. All is forgiven. My sweet, snuggly, boy is back, his demons exorcised. For the moment.

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Story Teller

April 20, 2010, in the car with Niece 1 and Niece 2:

After telling a particularly unbecoming story involving several variations of “poop” and “pooping” and “butt,” L ends the story with “and then she had poop on her foot.” I gave him a disapproving look and he replied with, “What, Mommy? Foot isn’t a bad word!”

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