Parenting Failure 101
If I ever thought that a newborn baby or infant was a challenge, I take it all back. If I could go back to cuddly overnight bottles and snuggly couch naps, I would.
When Jack was a baby, I kept thinking that I couldn’t wait for him to get older and more independent. I thought that life would be more simple. I could do the dishes. Watch my soaps. Make lovely dinners.
Nobody told me how far off the mark my thoughts were.
Nobody mentioned to me the epic, horrible toddler days. The terrible twos.
On Saturday, I think we gave Jack at least 12 time outs. Throwing toys at the walls. Throwing toys at the window. Kicking mommy. Punching daddy. Pushing the dog. Throwing tantrums. He tested us at every twist and turn. He wouldn’t nap (which actually resulted in a lovely and swift bedtime for daddy). By the time our little spawn was sleeping ever so soundly, both my husband and I were spent. We were shell shocked at how this little person terrorized us all day. What on earth happened to our sweet, polite and snuggly little boy??
While Sunday was a better day (only took him an hour and a half to take a nap as opposed to just not taking one at all) bedtime for me was a nightmare. He fought me with every toddler power he had until I finally just threw my hands in the air, kissed him on the forehead, said good night and walked out of the room as he was standing up in his bed just WAITING to taunt me and challenge me again. When he realized I was gone and that I might not be back, an epic tantrum ensued. My husband, fresh from mowing the lawn all sweaty and cranky, asked me what was going on and I said I gave up- I was watching him on the video monitor so I knew he was safe and the kid was just royally pissed off. My husband proceeded up the stairs where upon walking into the room, the little monster quickly laid down. They had a very quick conversation which I was unable to decipher through the hum of the monitor and my husband walked out. Jack was asleep in a matter of minutes.
Imagine my frustration. As I watched this go down in front of my eyes, I began to weep. Yes, because I had a pile of dishes from my own epic baking failure earlier in the day but mostly because I felt like a parenting failure. What on earth did my husband do that was different? NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING. So why does he choose to listen to daddy and not me? Did my kid tag me as that much of a pushover? ALREADY? Nobody told me that happens this early!
Today, still feeling defeated and sorry for myself, I took my troubles to my friends at my various baby advice sites. How easy it was to search and find “Bedtime Struggles” and find the hundreds of comments to go with them including stories that sounded a thousand times worse than mine. At least he has no desire to sleep in our bed. That would seriously be the final straw for us. Importantly… I learned that my kid’s behavior is normal (which is seriously mind blowing). The one thing I cannot find the answer to is, how long does it last? Does not finding the answer mean it NEVER ENDS?
We are hoping it is just a phase. We are hoping that it is his new classroom transition that is causing him to act out this way- he hasn’t been thrilled about the change to the “Big Boy Room” (aka Early Preschool 2). We see other kids acting out in this class as well. Is it the teacher’s lack of coddling? Lack of attention? Something doesn’t seem right. We want our sweet boy back. We want something or someone to blame. That’s what all parents do, right? No WAY could this be our fault!! Ha!
I will accept any advice at this point on how to deal with the terrible twos. If you have any, I am all ears.
I am thankful that my husband and I alternate putting the kiddo to bed. My nights off, as I lovingly refer to them, I am able to work off all my frustrations by going for a run or, like tonight (as I suspect rain coming in) heading to my first ever Zumba class.
Until I figure out a solution or this phase works it way out, I am learning tenfold what it means to have patience. All I can say to my own parents is this: If I ever did this to you, I am sorry.