Kade has been going through an awful bout of tantrums and whining. I mean, awful. He screams, he tries to hit, he stomps his feet. And though I don't tolerate it and a time out is issued immediately, I can't help but feel like I'm doing something wrong. What's even worse is when he starts laughing at me. I sit him in a time out, explain why he's there and he starts giggling at me! There isn't anything worse in my book. Why isn't he taking me seriously, I ask myself, What have I done?
I also beat myself up on the playground, when he isn't playing nice. Kade's communication skills are a work in progress and he often takes instead of asking or asks after he takes. My mind is in a frenzy- trying to work out what I could be doing different. Sometimes, he breaks down and cries over the smallest things; He's on the floor flailing because he needs a drink but he never asked me to get him one. He's howling down the hall because he dropped something, but won't pick it up himself.
And I beat myself up. I truly feel like there's something I could be doing to resolve all of this; some magic cure, a schedule, a routine, a phrase. But nothing really works that way, does it? There is no such thing, especially when it comes to parenting.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself that kids will be who they are.
Kade is a very sensitive soul. His feelings get hurt and he's easily frustrated. When he's frustrated, he cries (huh, wonder where he inherited that gene) because he doesn't know how else to express himself. We're working on this. It's a constant lesson at our house of, "Okay. What should you do next?" and "If you need a drink, what should you do and say?" and especially, "What are you feeling?" And I like to think that he's catching on when we have small victories; like when he puts Thomas back on the train track instead of laying on the floor in a heap of sobs when he falls off.
It's not acceptable behavior. I know. But I also know that we don't have to like our kids or their behavior 100 percent of the time. This generation of parenting, with the Mommy Wars, the attachment parenting, the co-sleeping... It's taught us that our kids are everything and that we are failures if they have any faults. It's taught us that if our kids have an attitude, it's our fault. We're taught that they have no personalities- that we somehow create their personalities and any of their not-so-shiny traits are a mistake we've made as parents. People might say Kade whines because I let him get away with it or that I "give in" (both completely untrue).
I call bull shit.
Kade whines, a lot. There's no amount of assertive parenting I could do to solve that right now. It's a phase he's going through. I don't like it. It frustrates me to tears and makes me angry. Kade also stomps his feet around the house. I don't like this because I think it's disrespectful, especially of our downstairs neighbors. Some days, I just plain don't like him or the way he's behaving. I know, Bad Mom. Mean Mom. How could I say something like that?
Let's be real though.
My kids are so important to me- they are the sun and the moon in my life. I love them, unconditionally. They are pieces of my heart, walking about the earth.
But I have to stop tearing myself up when they have less-than-perfect personality traits. I have to admit that Kade is a WHINER BUTT and that's just who he is today. By continuing to teach him better ways to express himself, implementing a routine, and delivering a swift kick in the pants for serious infractions, we'll get through it. When he grows up, I'll tease him about it and we'll all laugh, Haha! Aren't we glad we got through that?
You don't have to like it. But you have to get through it.
It's not all your fault.
And Mama, you are doing your b e s t.