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Monday, December 06, 2010
Today, I Cried...
I'm tired. Along with everyone else I know, I'm running from this social event to the next, dealing with kids who are so very tired from the whole school year (me too), and just trying to keep my head above water.
I don't cry often. I really don't. Yes - I've had days where things get hard and I've shed a tear or two. I've had days when I feel down, flat, tired as all hell and over it - but I still manage to keep it together.
You see, parenting is, for the most part, an incredibly rewarding, fun and fulfilling thing to do. It really is. I thank God every day for my children. I'm blessed. But oh my goodness - sometimes they are such hard work.
The 3yr old especially. I keep waiting for him to reach the same maturity his brothers did at the same age (he'll be 4 in a matter of weeks). It's there - I catch glimpses of it - but we're still experiencing some incredibly challenging behaviour. The tantrums are diabolical. Time outs mostly work, but some days they come so think and fast and he does everything he really shouldn't, and I find myself filled with so much frustration, I think I might explode.
This morning, I did.
It started over a pair of shorts. I asked him to get dressed, and these days he's so particular about what he wears, and he so badly wants to emulate his brothers. Last week, the 8yr old went on a surf skills course for school, so he had to wear his boardies (swimming shorts) under his school sports shorts. So, the 3yr old decided this morning - getting ready for his swimming lesson - that he wanted to wear his boardies under his shorts. The problem being? His shorts are not the same material as his brother's sports shorts - in fact, they were boardies as well, so imagine trying to get one on top of the other?
And so I said, "No." That didn't go down well.
He immediately started throwing a tantrum - screaming at the top of his lungs whilst I tried to hurry the 6yr old and 8yr old out the front door for school. My 3yr old has quite the scream on him. Really. I'm not exaggerating - it's a small miracle all our crystal glasses are still intact.
Feeling tired already - as well as time pressured - I put him in time out in his bedroom. I even grasped desperately at straws threatened to leave him there whilst I walked his brothers to school if he didn't calm down (for the record, I would never do that. This was one of those knee-jerk parenting moves you later regret because you can't follow through).
And still he screamed.
I did too. I was terribly frustrated. Eventually, I got him out the front door and he screamed all the way down to school, and whinged all the way back. I just kept walking.
We got home, and he immediately started the tantrum back up about the shorts and that's when it happened.
I couldn't take it a second longer. The frustration, the exhaustion - the fact that we haven't slept properly all week - came to a head and I couldn't control myself a second longer.
I cried. And it felt so good.
I bawled my eyes out in fact. The 3yr old - shocked - ran out of the room and quietly sat on his bed, leaving me to it. I sat on the couch and I cried until I felt a little better. There was not a sound from the 3yr old's bedroom.
Eventually, my tears finished, but too exhausted to even move, I stayed seated on the couch, and then the 3yr old quietly crept in to our family room and sat down next to me. He spoke softly, asking me questions about this and that. Then he asked, "I heard you crying, Mummy. Did you hurt something?"
I replied, "My heart hurt. You hurt it when you didn't listen to Mummy." He thought about this for a second and then said, "Are you ok now?"
"Yes. I am," I replied. "But please listen to Mummy from now on."
I don't know if telling the 3yr old that he was the cause of my tears was a good idea, or not. I really don't. But do I think it hurt him? I don't think so. It's time he realised that he is responsible for his own actions, and sometimes those actions have consequences. I'm not expecting a big turnaround in the 3yr old's behaviour because of today, but at least for now, we've struck a peace deal.
Today, I cried. I needed to. As Marilla tells Anne in the book Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is a new day. With no mistakes in it."
Thank goodness for that.
Do you have days like this? Days where you can't take it a second longer and you just need to shed a tear or two?