May 1, 2009

At a total loss

We're in Chicago. Kyle is in my sister's bedroom trying to get Jack to settle down. It's his turn . . . again. I'm so tense from my last turn that my shoulders ache.

The terrible twos are upon us. Up until this point there have been a couple of times when I thought, "This must be what it's like to be in the terrible twos." I was so, so wrong.

In this stage of rapid development, he is growing and talking and learning so much every day and I'm amazed at the things he does and says. But he's also testing every boundary we've set and as a result, is pushing my nerves to their limit. I would say that most of my inability to cope with this behavior was coming from pregnancy hormones, but I think Kyle feels as helpless as I do.

Jack is a naturally sweet, silly and happy little boy and for that I'm thankful. But during these times of boundary testing, it's like he morphs into this foreign creature that I am totally unfamiliar with.

He screams "NO!" when we tell him to do something. He kicks us and acts as if he'll hit us when we physically restrain him from doing the things we tell him not to do. I just heard him command Kyle to "SING SONG!" as he's trying to get him to settle down. He runs when we ask him to come. About 50% of the time, he does the opposite of what we ask him to do. Where does this little monster come from? He's so disrespectful and mean spirited when he gets into these little tantrums. Helpless is the only word to accurately describe it.

Today, in the Container Store, we told him it was time to get back into the stroller. Wait, to set the stage, you should know that he did not take a nap. Not even a 20 minute nap. He was really tired, but he wouldn't fall asleep in an unfamiliar place.

Anyway, Kyle picked him up to put him in the stroller and I witnessed something I have never in my life. I've seen kids throw tantrums before, but Jack threw the tantrum of all tantrums. It involved kicking, screaming, thrashing around on the floor and accidentally wacking his head on the window. Kyle couldn't even hold him. I've never even seen another child throw a tantrum like this. It took everything in me not to break down into tears. It took both Kyle AND I to restrain him. I have no idea what I would have done on my own.

I know that this is a "normal" stage or whatever, and I know that ultimately I'm a good parent, but for tonight I feel a little bit like a failure. I'm listening to him scream in the other room and I'm at a total loss for what I can do to appease him.

And I just heard Jack turn on the tv. How on earth did he do that?

I'm so tired.


Sara Neufeld said...

Sara, I am praying for you right now. It is hard. It is so painful to see your son, who you love so much, and have poured all your parenting efforts into, act like that. I know it breaks your momma's heart. I have cried those same tears when Avery was little. We had a hard few years in there, but it does get better. I know you already know that. But maybe it will help to hear it again. Avery is such a delight to us now. So fun to be around and loving and respectful. There were times in his 1's & 2's and well 3's to be honest that I thought he was going to end up in jail someday! Now I can't even imagine that, he is such a dear. Just wanting to give you a little hope from one momma to another. Just keep beatin' the doors of Heaven ....that's all I know to do sometimes. I'm praying for you tonight.

Julie said...

Sara, you and Kyle are awesome parents! Every kid (at least all of mine did) goes through some kind of stage like that. I totally understand how you guys are piece of is SO important to be consistent. It's the hardest thing to do, esp. in public places. Another thing is that while he is going through this stage, it might be a good idea to plan your schedule around nap time. It's not easy sometimes, but it will keep him from getting overly tired...and maybe help with the tantrums. They talk about terrible twos...but I swear threes are worse. I am just getting into this stage with JAsmin...she learned to say no the other day! Great.
You guys are in my prayers. Hang in there.

Sarah said...

Don't worry, because in fact other child DO have this kind of tantrum...that totally exhausts you and brings you to tears. I know that you know it's still "normal", but it does stink. One time, McK was having such a tantrum I just had to put her in her room and shut the door (and flailing the whole way up those steep steps). I went outside to tell Kevin about it (it was around nap time), and she was screaming SO loud that we could hear her outside. I thought the neighbors would probably call DCFS!!! :( Obviously we're through the worst of that stuff now, but even in her 4-6 yrs, we've had some nights like that too. It is definitely frustrating. But you guys are doing a great job. he WILL get through this stage! YOU ARE GOOD PARENTS :)

Anonymous said...

all i can do is echo these other mamas, and hope that today has been a better day. trust me, i've been there, wondering whose child this is, b/c he certainly can't be mine...

Tara said...

Hang in there...I spent most of yesterday and today in tears for this very reason and I am wondering how my nerves will be able to take this for the next few years....And thank you for blogging about it.