Sunday, September 16, 2007

Calling All Moms

I need help. No, not the psychological kind....although....(wink, wink).

Seriously though, I need some advice here. My otherwise well-behaved, compassionate, sweet little girl has just morphed into this very whiny, very contentious, excessively hyper hell raiser, and I have no idea what happened. It's as if her 3rd birthday came and went (which I haven't even posted about yet because I'm just too frustrated by everything else), and all of the sudden she's a different person. She's completely thrown me for a loop here. And our relationship has become so acrimonious lately that it's become a chore for me to spend time with her. And I hate that. I hate that I feel that way, and I hate that our relationship is so full of conflict all of the sudden. Things that we used to enjoy together, bedtime stories, trips to the store, taking walks, have suddenly become battle grounds. I ask her to do one thing, she insists on another, and the battle ensues from there. Hell, even something as simple as putting her shoes on has become a source of friction. I tell her to do it so we can go to the park, she has an absolute fit. And we're not talking about the, "I don't want to, but am going to anyway," kind of fit. We're talking defcon 4 type of fit with the crying, screaming, flailing, etc.

And I'm left to wonder....what the hell is going on? Seriously. I'm exhausted from it all. And if she's not fighting with me, she's fighting with her brother, pulling things from him, pushing him, hitting him, whatever. As if that weren't enough, she's also regressed a bit in the self-help skills department. She won't dress herself anymore (which she's been doing for 4 months now), won't put her shoes on by herself, and I find myself constantly reminding her not to talk like a baby. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she's going through the jealous stage that most siblings go through when a new baby arrives in the family. Except in her case, it'd be about 18 months delayed.

And of course, this all happens at a time when my 18 month old son has discovered a multitude of new skills and is trying them out at every chance. He's climbing on things he shouldn't, opening and closing doors constantly, and constantly babbling at a volume that has the potential to wake the dead. These things in and of themselves would be tolerable as they are a normal part of his healthy development. But couple these with her behavior, and you've got the makings of utter mayhem. Every ten minutes someone is whining or crying over the dearly coveted toy that was ripped from their hands, among other things. I realize that at their tender ages, the onslaught of emotions over which they developmentally lack the ability to control must be overwhelming, but c'mon. I'm losing my mind here.

I've always said that parenting is the hardest job I've ever done. No vacation days, no sick days (and at present I am fighting a cold), no lunch break, no thanks. And we all go into it knowing that there will be hard times when you muster up the strength to love and care for your children even when they're at their least likable. And I've done that. Maybe not at my finest, but I have. Nevertheless, it doesn't change the fact that these past two weeks I've been feeling a bit like Jack London's lost hiker in "To Build A Fire", futilely looking for a familiar trail and/or shelter, praying that my last wet match won't leave me out in the cold.

So I'm putting the alarm call out there to you moms, whoever you are. What do I do? I'm at my wit's end, and I'm starting to wonder what I did to bring this on. Was I too hands on? Is it just a phase? And how do I get through the day without feeling like I just want to give up? I reached my patience limit in the last couple of days. And now I spend an awful lot of energy keeping my own rage, frustration, and crying outbursts at bay. I don't know if I can spend another 6 or 7 hours listening to them cry or whine every 10 minutes over this little thing or that. And I know I need a mommy's day away, but given my husband's work schedule, it just hasn't been feasible lately.

So tell me ladies, what do you do when the kids you love so dearly are the last people in the world you want to spend time with?!?

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I ache for you. None of this is easy, as they try to stretch and test their wings. I am trying, really trying, to go into things ready to adapt. Sometimes I have to accept we aren't going for a walk, or she won't sit and read. Sometimes I can crack her up and that helps, other times we each kind of need a time out, space with each on their own side of a door. It ain't perfect, but it's survival, for now.