Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why did the children put beans in their ears?

"Why did the children
            put beans in their ears
            when the one thing we told the children
            they must not do
            was put beans in their ears?

            "Why did the children
            pour molasses on the cat
            when the one thing we told the children
            they must not do 
            was pour molasses on the cat?"

- Carl Sandberg

God bless 'im, I do believe Carl Sandberg summed up the dilemma of parenting in those few lines. Right now I am asking myself, "why???" Why does Bumpus have to be so utterly exasperating sometimes? And there is no answer to this except to say, "because it's his nature." Because he's a normal toddler boy. Because I was like that, and my mother and father were like that, and their patents before them, and on and on. 

I think of my mother often at these times - I think about my personal issues, the things that plague me every day; fear of birth, financial woes, house stuff, issues around my business - and wonder what she was dealing with when I was B's age - a crappy relationship, feeling trapped and oppressed, exploring a new (dangerous) religion. I think about my aunt, who is closer to my experience in that she had two boys two years apart (my mother had two girls ten years apart). How did she feel? Did she bemoan her house being ransacked on a daily basis as I do? Was she as fed up with the kicking, screaming, and tantrums as I am? Probably. Just like every mother of every toddler since the beginning of time. And so it goes.

Today did not begin well. Honestly, none of my days begin well - they are always a morass of being kicked in the uterus, elbowed in the eye, cleaning up the pee and poop positively pouring out of B's overnight diaper (and having to wash all of his bedding and pjs), feebly entreating B to please stop banging the door into the wall over and over and over again (all of my walls now have door knob-shaped holes in them), watching helplessly as he pulls down my lamp, climbs on the dresser and throws himself back on the mirror over and over, pulls down all my jewelry, empties all the drawers on the floor, and tips over the glass of water by my bed, each time throwing a fit when I tell him no or take something out of his hands. This is what goes on from 6:30 AM until 8:30 AM when I finally give up trying to get any more rest or trying to interest him in whatever cloying children's programming is on and just give up and get him breakfast. I would like to point out that he screams, struggles to get out of his high chair, and kicks me all through breakfast, too, until he *finally* settles down just a little bit. Then I strap him in the car and drive somewhere - anywhere - just so I can get a fucking BREAK. And then I only have eight hours to go. And this is our day, every day. And I hate it.

Today I was all excited because I'd set up his room completely the night before, so left both of our doors open in the plan that, bored with my grown-up room, he would trot on over to his own room and play with the rocking car, tent, and bevy of toys when he woke up. Nope. He just went in there, saw that the door from his room to the living room was closed, and stood in front of it crying hysterically until I came and got him. No amount of distraction with the toys or TV would help. He just came in and slammed my door over and over and tore my whole room apart again. I would like to point out that he does not want to be held or cuddled during any of this. It seems like the only thing he wants to do is slam doors, throw everything on the floor, and throw things in the toilet. These are the only things that make him happy.

I shudder to imagine what it's going to be like trying to get him to sleep in that room tonight. I can only see it as a big fat failure. I think I have a lot of rough nights ahead of me. But I have to at least try. He has to sleep in there eventually, right? So, try I must. But considering the reaction to the room this morning it does not bode well at all.

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