Monday, June 13, 2011

Temper Tantrums (and not just BBZ's)

I have a bad temper.  No, that's not exactly accurate.  I have a really bad temper.  People who know me will likely be quite surprised by this as I am also blessed with a great deal of patience.  You see, I am patient, patient, patient, patient and suddenly BAM!  Pissed off!  There is very little middle ground for me.

This has proven to be a challenge for me as a parent, and one that I continue to work on.  I had to go out of town for work on Thursday and Friday, and N had to go out of town Friday through today, so BBZ's routine has been all kinds of crazy, as has mine.

So it was just he and I holding down the fort after I finally got to him at about 10pm Friday night.  Traffic was terrible and a rough end to an otherwise great work trip.  But it was not a great start to the weekend.

BBZ and I have spent many weeknights and some weekends alone together as N often travels for work.  I'm not sure if it was his extra testing or something going on with me, but we just didn't do well this weekend.  While he is really just being a regular 2-year-old with a messed up routine, I really don't have an excuse.

There were times over the weekend when I was reacting to something he was doing and I was having an internal battle with myself.  I knew that my attitude was making it worse.  I knew that I was getting upset and that I should be able to control myself.  I knew what "positive discipline" measures I should have been using, but reacted the opposite.  Not sure why...exhaustion, maybe?  Hormones?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Never the less, it made for a few rough interactions between Saturday and Sunday.  For one thing, he is extra intense right now.  Everything is amped up to a "10".  I really think it is a little boy thing, as my friends who have little girls don't seem to experience this same kind of intensity.

The last blow up occurred at McDonald's.  We tried to patch up our rough morning with a trip to the park and we were going to go out for pizza.  He asked to go to "old McDonald's" instead, and I recently discovered one nearby that has a play place, so we headed that way.

He started his wiggly and can't stand still stuff while standing in line to order food.  We got through that and found a table by the play place.  He actually did really well playing and eating...I was impressed.  As we were getting close to time to leave, I gave him the 10-minute warning, the 5-minute warning, then 3, then one more time down the slide and it was time to go.

He started to run away from me and I grabbed him and swooped him up (which is quite the funny site with my big belly swinging around).  And then he did it.  He pulled both hands as far back as he could reach and hit me so hard that I almost dropped him.  Right in front of all of those people.

That was it for me, I sat down, gave him all kinds of lectures about how we don't hit and how bad that hurt and how is was not ok and blah blah blah.  And I got nothing back.  Just screams that he didn't want to leave.  No "sorry mommy"s or other reactions that I wanted from him.  No apologies or "ok mommy"s or anything.  Which made my blood boil.  (Yes, I now realize that these are unrealistic expectations of a 2-year-old, but this is what my mind was expecting at the time).

After not getting what I wanted from him, I swooped him up and shuffled out the door and to the car.  And in the car as he continued to try and hit me it happened...I turned his little butt around and smacked it hard.  And simultaneously said "we do not hit".

Yes, it was not one of my finer parenting moments.

So as he sat in the back seat and cried for his toy or whatever, I drove off towards home.  Then the guilt hit me, and I started bawling.  Not just little cries either, big, huge, fat tears that I could not control.  BBZ asked me a question after he calmed down and I did my best to answer.  He asked me why I was talking funny and I told him it was because I was crying.  He asked why I was crying and I told him.

I actually manipulated the situation a little and told him I was crying because he hit me.  I was actually crying because I knew I had lost control, but I didn't want to go into that right then.  He said that he cries when kids at school hit him too.  So we talked a little about that.  Then he asked for ice cream and I said no.  I told him we were taking a bath when we got home and I didn't want him to argue with me at all.  Thankfully, he didn't.

So after we got home and relaxed, took a bath and had a snack, we headed to bed.  He had one more hitting fit and spent a few minutes in his room alone before bed.  I went in and sat down with him, talking about all that happened between us that day.

After a few minutes of talking, I said "BBZ, I am really sorry that I lost my temper earlier today"

And he responds "you need help to find it?"

I couldn't help but giggle.  The truth of his 2-year-oldness shined through in that moment.  The guilt I had carried that evening for losing my temper drifted away.  As bad as I felt for reacting the way I did, BBZ was already over it.  He didn't even realize what happened.  In fact, he was willing to help me look for what I had lost.  Oh goodness, if only we could all see life like a 2-year-old.

I'm not sure why it was so bad this weekend...why I couldn't control my own emotions and help him learn how to control his.  I know I can't do the right thing all of the time, and I will learn from this and maybe make some changes to my approach to have a better next time, but for now I'll just chalk it up to a short temper and I try to learn from it.  Hopefully he has learned something too.