Monday, Jun 2 2008
View LYNNABEL's food & exercise for this day
Iím feeling very challenged by being Willís mother right. I donít want to go into too many specifics for fear of being misunderstood, but Iím just at a loss with him, his behavior, and my reaction to it. I am praying that this stage passes quickly. I havenít read any particular helpful advice online or in my child development books or from my own past or others experiences. I havenít found any truly useful ideas for managing the type of behavior Will is exhibiting. I dislike my reactions to his behavior. That is the biggest understatement Iíve made recently.
From my perspective it appears that he understand that his behavior is wrong/inappropriate/etc. and he often times understands the consequences, but it would seem he cannot control the impulse that links the two.
Iíve talked to S about it at some length. S understands, I think, how Iím feeling, but he is only really able to say that I am too hard on myself and to ask him to take over whenever I want to. Of course, that has its problems Ė Will learns that when Mommy canít manage a situation, she calls in Daddy. I donít like what that makes either S or I. However, I would prefer even that to the way Iíve been feeling after our episodes. Will just doesnít act up the same way for S. As much as this concerns my feminist heart, it may be because S is a man. And Will identifies with Sís authority (due to physical size?) moreÖI donít know. I donít think its because Iím out of the house Ė Will has always been challenged by the presence of both S and I. His current stage is something new entirely. He is defiant and deliberately so.
Examples: he poured cup after cup of bath water on to the bathroom floor the other night when I was trying to get Ellen to sleep (he has a bath seat that prevents him from any danger of drowning, so I can leave the bathroom for short stints without worrying). He hits my face when I am reprimanding him. He wonít let me change his diaper even when he needs it and his bottom is feeling sore/chapped. He wonít participate in having his teeth brushed. He runs away from me in parking lots, then flails when I have to physically restrain him. He lays ON Ellen. He pulled down his curtains, rods and all. And so on.
In order to prevent the above situations from happening, I have to keep reminding myself he canít be trusted in situations that I used to be able to trust him in. It seems counterintuitive to me Ė that you would essentially remove experiences/options/responsibilities/privileges with developmental stages, rather than increasing themÖAnd he needs to be potty trained sometime this summer, I think. The diaper issue gives him too much situational power. Its so hard to remember that I canít kneel to speak with him when Iím scolding him, or he will hit me. Its hard to remember that I canít let him walk to or from the car on his own, or he will pull away and run off into danger. Its hard to remember I canít leave him alone at all. I can't have Ellen accessible to him.
And then there are the activities I need him to participate in that he wonít Ė diaper changing, and tooth brushing. How do you insist on cooperation? Its so difficult. No amount of positive reinforcement is working nor is punishment via timeouts. So, I end up holding him and forcing the tooth brushing/diaper changing on him. And I HATE that type of physical restraints and interaction. Its just awful.
And he just laughs. Laughs and laughs. As if he gets an adrenalin thrill out of my anger, even when I think Iím not showing how furious I am.
In my secret heart of hearts, I sometimes wonder if is a pathological behavior on either one of our parts, if something is wrong with both of us.
I just SO want Will and Ellen to have good memories of their childhoods. Better than mine. I want so much to do right by them. And yet I find myself frustrated and despairing and wondering why I thought becoming a parent twice in two years was a good idea.
I got to thinking about smugness the other day and how guilty of it I was (and still can be) of it before I started making a conscious effect to combat it. (Iíve figured out over the last several years that this tendency of mine to judgment and smugness is a toxic combination of my personality and the way I was raisedÖa family very focused on appearances). Anyway, I was thinking that someone like Nichole Ritchie who has lived hard and fast very young is someone you might not expect to rise to the occasion of being a parent, where someone who has had a more stable, staid, fairly innocent life wouldÖIím not sure that Nichole Ritchie isnít a much better mother than I am. Just because I had many advantages that you would assume would lead to skillful mothering, doesnít seem to mean it comes naturally to me. I have to work hard at it. And Iím afraid I often fail. I sometimes think Iím the exception that proves the rule Ė nurture can only do so much. Sometimes nature is the stronger force.
I had a nightmare this weekend Ė the kind that is emotionally wrenching versus physically frightening. I dreamt that I was at a gathering of people I used to know and be close to. The degree of distance between myself and those former friends was so apparent in the dream I woke up feeling so shamed. So embarrassed. So mortified. So hurt. It reminded me why I still carry so much emotional baggage from the loss of those friendships.
The above is the depressing reason why I donít know that I will ever be a person secure in herself. I donít know that I will ever feel self confident in the way I think an adult woman should feel.