I try hard to focus on the positive, the joyful and the thoughtful. I attempt to shift my mental space from the whining (which is easy and natural) to the rejoicing. I have read that rehearsing a litany of wrongs makes you an angrier person, whereas choosing not to do so and not to practice your anger makes you actually happier. I believe this to be true. I suspect, since this is the venue where I do much of my intellectual and emotional processing, that this leads to a rather Polyanna-ish blog of my life. (Although it’s worth reminding you that Polyanna’s optimism worked!)
Anyway, that’s a long and meta intro to say that today? I’m not up to it. I can’t even tell you what exactly happened to make today one to be forgotten. It started ok — I got to sleep in until a near pre-kids hour due to an amazing and loving husband. But Thane is at such a stage. He’s not bad, not at all, but he’s demanding. I probably hauled him up onto the couch 45 times today. He wants things that are beyond his capabilities. He doesn’t really believe that I mean it when I say no. He hits his head on things apparently recreationally. And when thwarted, he throws a back-bending, writhing fit. He is, in short, 15 months old. (Aside: it’s AMAZING just how much progress he’s made verbally since the ear tube surgery. It’s VASTLY different. In the what, week? I swear his vocabulary has doubled. He OBVIOUSLY wasn’t hearing well before and now he’s parroting EVERYTHING. It’s pretty awesome.)
Grey? Well, he’s his own version of demanding. He bounces back between super-capable and frankly lazy and demanding. (AKA: four years old) He and I had a little friction this morning, which I suspect was at least equally due to me being cranky for no good reason. Then, aikido. Oh, he’s been doing so WELL. He knows the names of the techniques. His focus is amazing. He’s energetic. He listens and does well. But today we had an EPIC MELTDOWN.
I’ve always read that you should be very honest and true to your word with your children, and I have tried to be. (I think integrity is important, and I think it’s learned by example.) So if, for example, I promise him he can be excused if he has three bites, he gets excused when he has three bites — not four. I’m starting to wonder if this sets up an unrealistic expectation. Today, he wasn’t doing his rolls properly, and he’s getting far enough along that he needs to learn how to do them right, not his way. The person he was working on (lucky enough to get one on one time!) asked him to do it once more. He did it. Then the person said (apparently) “Again!”. And Grey stormed off the mat in high dudgeon and did not stop crying for about 15 minutes. It took me about 2 hours to get him calm enough to tell me what went on. And what a two hours. I had to carry him out of the dojo. He hit me. He’s getting strong and big — it hurts. I still don’t know what to do when your child hits you and you have to (for example) get out of the dojo and get home. You’d be amazed at how quickly your back-brain steps in when someone, even your own beloved child, hits you in the mouth. (For the record what I did do was pin his hands to get him in the car, not give him his DS, go straight home instead of to our usual post-aikido treat, and send him to his room for the next hour and a half or so.)
We all stumbled our way, grumpy, through the remainder of the evening. We put the boys to bed about an hour and half early, based on their completely exhausted behavior. And then, Grey started throwing up. He threw up while asleep. Now he throws up all the time, but this was something special. (I think the difference is that he usually throws up because of his gag reflex, so he has plenty of time and warning. This was not so tonight. I think this was actual nausea.)
So here I am, bedraggled and patience in rags. What should’ve been a joyful family Saturday was more of an ordeal. I don’t think I was my best self. Worse, I don’t think I discovered in any of this a lesson I could learn or trick I could apply instead next time — no silver lining or lemonade here.
Just the promise that tomorrow is another day.