Whether it’s exhaustion or just frustration from two young children (seriously, how does anyone do more than two?), I’ve come close to reaching my limit. It has strangely coincided with my son roaring his way into the Threes. Now, things have morphed to where I am beyond sensitive parenting. I’m past caring what damage I do. Sometimes I just have to shut behaviors down. For example, today my son was joyously jumping up and down that he had peed in the potty. I give him my best ever happy face, a cheek-splitting-smile while telling him how happy I am for him. He bounces his way over to me and then he bites my leg.
Immediately, I tell him no biting. Instead of being sorry, or even looking sheepish, he defiantly says “I bite Mommy.” Well then, thank you very much. After this behavior, I’m a whole lot less likely to care when he has a tantrum. I wonder if this is nature’s way of pulling me back emotionally. He’s not so endearing when he looks like Dracula. There is no logic to this three-year old beast. His repeated outbursts of ridiculousness remind me daily that he’s an escaped mental patient. The constant exposure I have to this has also somewhat numbed me to the screaming (mine and his).
I will admit that more often than not, the answer to his tantrum is very simple. Sometimes, when I calm down and look straight at him, he will lower the decibel. And then I close up the issue, whatever it was, by asking him if he wants a hug. Because he always does. He screams and freaks out regularly, because so much of this world is beyond his control. When he is frustrated or angry or sad or simply not getting what he wants, the outpouring of any emotion is a tantrum. As if the intensity of the emotion is too big for his little body and it has to come out somehow. Which leaves him feeling drained and sad, and in need of some loving. That’s where the hugs come in. As a mother, you know when that moment is – when the fight is over and they just need a hug. Sometimes I don’t want to give a hug, but I do it because it lets him know that I am there for him, even if I want to strangle him. Inevitably, 30 seconds later, he is back to his old happy self, as if nothing ever happened (how do they do this??).
Mother nature has a funny way of working. This struggle may be her design or it may simply be because I am clueless as to what I am doing. I never had the twos- or threes-issue with my daughter (her fours were another matter of affairs!). Either way, it’s kicking my ass.