This morning was rough. The Monday morning after the long three-day Fourth of July holiday and I could see we were not the only ones feeling the effects. At daycare drop-off, something caught my eye as we were extracting our own pouty kid from his car seat. In the car next to us, a flurry of hands flying as a mother sat in the driver’s seat fending off the whirling arms of an older child, maybe 5-7 years old, next to her. I felt for this lady; her parental issues lay bare in front of a parking lot full of families. Her kid likely didn’t want to get out and she likely lacked the wherewithal to prepare a calm and convincing argument as to why heading to school/daycare was the most appropriate option. Our own drive to school had been less than wonderful and drop off was painful. O was overtired, overly emotional and overwhelmed by yet another new teacher greeting him in an already new classroom (he moved to “the big school” just two weeks ago). Many tears were shed and after a dozen attempts to distract/redirect, I had to eventually peel him off our legs, abandoning him crying, in a classroom of unfamiliarity.
In our house, we’re all still adjusting. For the past week, O has been waking up each day earlier than normal, with a pained cry of “OUT!” piercing the baby monitor’s speakers. Startled out of bed, we’re forced to leap head first into the day before the coffee pot even has a chance to turn on. Friday we excitedly picked him up early from school, eager to begin a full holiday weekend. By 6 pm that night, we were exhausted, he was defiantly tuning us out and G and I were wondering what was wrong with us for thinking this was a good idea. On Saturday he woke crying at 4:15 am and there was no turning back, for him or for us. Once again, many threats were issued, stances defended and fits thrown – by him and us.
We’ve been feeling the “post” drain these days – post-move, post-wedding, post-fun and begrudgingly back to life’s routine – so it’s been particularly difficult for us all deal. Add O’s streak of willful disobedience and you have a very, very long weekend. At one point, I was at the end of my rope and snapped back at G in response to something and O looked at me and said “Baba – you’re acting like a baby”. That one statement was enough to jolt me to my senses and even make me laugh and while I explained we don’t talk to Baba like that, I had to admit he was right.
Of course, it wasn’t all hardship. We had some happy, fun and even relaxed times together, which is what makes all the moments where I hear myself sternly saying “no!”, “don’t touch that!” or “get down from there!” that much more disheartening. He’s simply testing us and he has wills of steel. The saddest thing is hearing him apologize after getting in trouble, in his tiny voice “Me sorry I not listen to Baba and jumped on the couch and you got mad and me cried”.
I don’t WANT to engage in constant power struggles. Neither does G – or that poor mother fending off her kid in the parking lot. Deep down, I know O doesn’t want to either, even if he can’t yet figure out how to say it. So today, the start of a new week, I plan to move ahead with new energy, a positive and proactive outlook – and not act like a baby any more.