Friday, October 17, 2008

Some days...

Some days he brings out the worst in me, pushes my buttons until I feel abused, laughs as I get more and more angry, but gets so sad and confused when I finally cry. He pushes and pushes and pushes, double standards rampantly dictating every interaction. He can interrupt me but I can't "interrupt" him, something he says when he is being completely silent and I dare to speak to him at all.

He isn't sleeping. Last night he woke us up at 3:30. He never went back to sleep.

Sometimes I actually dislike him, which is probably the most shameful thing I could ever have to admit. I am the worst version of me around him. I am absolutely not the parent I want to be... not once I have had a full day (starting at 3:30 this morning) of high need, high intensity, demanding, self centered behavior. I get so frustrated with being ignored that I threaten to take away toys. I threaten to make him miss activities. And the worst thing is, it works. He listens when something he cares about is at stake. I know I could (and on good days, do) phrase it well. As in, "well, we would have more time to play together if you could help me with these chores, so how about you...."

And I dig through all my parenting books. They are all about talking to your child. Talking about problem solving with the child. Talking about the parent's feelings when the child does X. Talking about deciding on consequences if the agreed upon plan doesn't happen. Talking talking talking. What the fuck do I do if my kid refuses to listen?!

I feel like I am failing him every single day. I know he is in a regression, but still. I should be doing better than this. I feel like not only a terrible parent, but a terrible person. I keep reminding myself that not all days are like this. It just feels like it today.

Days like these make me think of how you get broken in the military, with angry, scary men screaming in your face until you break down. They do it over and over again and again for no reason but to drill in who has all the power. He is my drill sergeant. And I am the worst recruit to ever enlist.

How do I give all this to the universe when I know I will be waking up to it again tomorrow?


  1. Dear one, hang in there. We have all been there (or we're lying if we say we haven't). Please be kind to yourself. I try to remind myself that each day really is fresh (but, ouch, hopefully does NOT start at 3:30 in the morning, unless you count mama's computer time!).... I digress.... would a playdate sometime this week lift your spirits? We still have your sling.

    Wishing all of your household good sleepytime vibes.


  2. Hi Sweetie,
    You don’t know me, but I came across your blog and felt compelled to write. I want you to know that you are completely, perfectly normal – and it sounds like your children are perfectly normal, too. I know because I talk to thousands and thousands of parents. I’m the author of 9 books for parents. I’d be delighted to offer you a copy of my book, The No-Cry Discipline Solution” if you’d be so kind so blog about it. I think you’ll find it very helpful and reassuring. Just email your address:

    Here’s a quick excerpt – and a big hug:

    ~**~ As if it isn't challenging enough to raise children, most parents believe myths that make them feel confused and inadequate. These horrible myths can spoil the joy of raising your children. You may have never realized how intensely these beliefs affect you, but they do. Learning the truth will erase your doubts and leave you open to learning effective new ways of raising your children. Here are a few of the most common parenting myths:

    MYTH: If a parent is truly attached and committed to a child, then that child will behave properly.

    TRUTH: You could be totally committed to your child from the moment of birth. You could do absolutely everything right. In fact, you could be a magnificent, spectacular, utterly faultless saint, and your child would still misbehave. The truth is: ALL children misbehave. ALL children make mistakes. ALL children will have temper tantrums, whine and fuss. It’s part of the process of growing up.

    REALITY CHECK: Love your child, and do the best you can. And don’t let normal misbehavior wear down your confidence. Give yourself and your child enough room to be human.

    MYTH: If you love your child, and if your intentions are good, parenting will come naturally to you.

    TRUTH: Loving your child is easy. Raising your child is hard. Effective parenting skills are learned. Parenting is complicated, intense, and ever-changing. In order to be a calm, effective, parent you need knowledge and skills, but almost no one is born with these skills.

    REALITY CHECK: Just like driving a car or mastering a computer program – good parenting is something we need to learn. You can learn by trial-and-error – but that can be wildly frustrating. Instead, take a class, read a book, join a support group – you’ll be amazed to find that a few good tips can make your life much easier.

    MYTH: Good parents don’t lose their patience and yell at their children.

    TRUTH: Even the most peaceful easy-going parent loses patience and yells from time to time. No matter how much we love our children, they will try our patience, they will make mistakes, and they will make us mad. All children have their “naughty” moments. And, guess what? When children are “naughty”--- parents lose their patience and (GASP!) they YELL.

    REALITY CHECK: It’s normal to lose your cool and yell at your children, but it isn’t fun and it isn’t productive. Take the time to learn a few new anger management skills and some parenting tools. These will help those angry moments become less intense and less frequent.

    Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by Elizabeth Pantley

  3. Ay-yi-yi...
    You know I hear you, and you know I've been going through it with my two year old, but, you may not know that my 4 1/2 year old is a lot like Pablo. He's not a talker, and talking at him does not change his behavior. He could shut us out like nobodies business, and it's doubly hard because most adults can't relate to it. Most kids are looking for your validation, so most other parents will give advice that really doesn't apply.
    I've felt the drill sargent analogy as well, except that I felt like I was being the drill sargent. I would hear myself saying such mean disparaging things that I never would have imagined saying to a child, just out of the frustration of not being listened to.
    All I can do is offer a virtual hug and wish you some sleep. It seems to be the only thing that helps.