Friday, February 23, 2007

Who The &*%$ Are You?

Though this quip applies to many far and wide, and though it could apply to me and my idea about blogging, in this case I think it applies most accurately to my child. We are currently undergoing what I like to think of as logic-free toddlerism. Case in point:

Last night, Hubby and I went out for dinner with our two-year-old son. Getting into the car seat was a struggle, though getting coat on and out the door was induced by talk of getting into the car. Dinner went well, we made a quick detour to a car dealership to look at a minivan, and then we went to the bookstore which is one of our son's favorite places and one of the first words he used regularly. Getting inside was easy, my husband took the first round of looking about while I played with the kid. Then it was my turn - easy day - and then when it was time to leave I went to find the guys. Well, here's where the trouble starts. My son had (finally) dropped a load in his diaper, and for some reason he wants to not to have "those" diapers changed lately. However, his propensity for diaper rash induced me to make a clear choice and set a firm boundary. I informed the kid, gave him an option, and he flatly ignored me. SO, I picked him up and off we went. This treatment didn't go over well with Shorty. Big friggin' surprise.

Now, I understand that this in "normal" two-year-old behaviour. I put normal in quotes because there really isn't any such thing at this age, which makes everything normal and plausible. Shorty is learning to exercise his independence, thus the advent of "by selfs" as a favorite phrase. What kills me is that things can be going just fine, we're all on the same page and Shorts is getting to do his thing, and then just as suddenly we're off on a tangent that's dangerous or we're refusing to move along to the next gig.

What kills me is that in trying to figure out if throwing a fit will change anything, my son howls like his heart is breaking and that is not something I have an easy time with. We've NEVER let him "cry it out" because we think it's just cruel and sick. Okay, there was ONE time when he was about four months old and he refused to be comforted and ride in his car seat. Once in two years that I haven't been there to comfort him, and now I think it might not be my job anymore. Is that crazy?

All this heartache and boundary pushing and lack of sensible choices makes my head spin. It's like I wake up every morning with a different person, and I spend half the day just trying to figure out what will work and what won't for that particular moment. Sometimes I get all geared up to wrangle, and he submits to my suggestions without comment. Sometimes a thing that normally wouldn't bother him or get him worked up sends him so far over the edge that I have to let him cry for a while so he can get a grip and let me help him work through it. So you can see where I might start to feel like I'm living with someone with a case of severe multiple personality disorder or schizophrenia.

Ultimately, all this will be lost in the history of natural progression and we'll be on to the next challenging stage. But while we're right in the middle of it I find myself wondering if I want to bother having a second child. As I was pointing out to the car salesman last night, it is so different when the child is your own and you are responsible for how they turn out as adults. There is nothing about parenting that makes it not worth the trouble. However, staying sane enough to raise the child is a question for every parent at various stages. This is one of mine, and while it isn't lots of fun, I am growing up quicker than I thought possible, and the moments when Jack and I are golden make all the work worthwhile.

1 comment:

cheryl said...

I think your son is just figuring out what works with you and what doesn't. Most kids will only go as far as you let them. Of course, there's always the one who pushes the limits to their extreme that drives us all batty.

My oldest son would not do his business in the toilet. Being my third kid I had certain expectations about potty training. But, he was also my first boy and being a boy had an unnatural attachment to his body functions. Peeing wasn't the problem either. :o) Now I know that I was expecting more of him than he was prepared to give me and one of the best pieces of advice I got was from my mother-in-law - "If he's still doing this when he's forty then, you have a problem." He's 21 now, still says "I love you", calls & writes to me with some regularity, but I would love to go back to when he was two with those loaded diapers for just a little while.

Just persevere and he'll outgrow it all.