The less glorious times of parenthood

I think Thane may end up killing me. I debate, as I practice my breathing exercises, whether he’s different than Grey was at the same age or whether I’ve simply blocked it from my mind. I suspect, as is so often the case, a mixture of both.

Mr. Cranky Goes to the Park
Mr. Cranky Goes to the Park

I’m on my own this weekend. My husband is in Washington DC for a work conference. Thursday night, shortly before said spouse left, Thane spiked a fever of 104. The high fever point actually wasn’t so bad. As long as you were holding him, he was ok. Snuggly even. And he slept a lot. But then Saturday he woke up sans fever but with a wicked fierce grump going. Saturday had great weather — in the 50s and sunny. We went for a walk, went to the park, went for another walk. He was pretty happy in the stroller (I thought maybe this wasn’t the right weekend to start Project Teach Thane To Use His Own Two Feet, Already), but at the park, he just wanted to be held. He pitched a royal fit when I took him out at the graveyard and refused to walk.

When we weren’t walking, there was a lot of screaming. Disconsolate wailing at his high chair when presented with (oh, the woe!) his favorite foods. Bitter, bitter tears when his brother was playing with a toy he desired. That particular episode lasted about 20 minutes. Screeching, wailing and agony.

Then dinner time came. I’d made the mistake of telling Grey I’d take him to The 99 — a treat on par with few others in the 4 year old pantheon. It’s a step below Chuck E Cheese, but a step above even McDonalds, if you can believe it. I should have held my peace — I faced oath-breaking to a 4 year old, or bringing the hydra-handed fury of screech with us. Since I really didn’t feel like making dinner, I opted for the latter. Big. Mistake. Oh, the waiting! The gnashing of teeth! And that was just my reaction to Thane’s behavior! Even Grey was bothered by it.

Pity and forgiveness, fellow diners. At least acknowledge that I got us out of there FAST.

This morning, I permitted myself to hope. Maybe he would sleep late and wake cheery? Such things have been known to happen! Perhaps the sun would rise in his crib, leaving the sturm-und-drang as an operatic memory, washed away by humming the chorus to that silly sewing song in the second act? No such luck. Worse, this morning it seemed temperament-based screaming. He DROPPED a CAR on the FLOOR!!!! Has ever a child known such WOE!

And I’m left to discern whether he’s actually still in pain or discomfort in some way, whether it’s a phase, or whether he’s just arrived at 2 awfully early. Moreover, I can’t really go anywhere, and staying here is driving me nuts. I’m headed to church shortly with the boys. You’d think this would be some nice respite, but no. I’m on nursery duty. I’m contemplating begging someone to switch with me, but somehow there’s something in “Help! My kid’s driving me nuts! You take ’em for an hour!” that seems rather, I don’t know, unChristian.

I’d been hoping the ear tubes would make this sort of tantruming a thing of the past. While they’ve been fantastic in terms of verbal development, apparently they do not fix all. The truth is that Thane is focused. He wants this one particular thing, and he will expend vast amounts of effort to obtain it. It doesn’t matter if he can’t have the thing because he is not permitted to, or if he has simply failed to communicate his desires. Quite often the problem is that he wants something he can’t have (the butter dish at the 99, the toy his brother is playing with, etc.) So the ability to communicate will only eliminate a small problem.

The great thing, though, is that this same trait will be an excellent one (applied correctly) later in life. This focus and determination, turned to a scientific problem, obtaining tenure, running a marathon, becoming an Olympic athlete, or finally writing that perfect gaming system will be a tremendous asset to him. We just have to survive to get there.

On our way to the Children's Museum last week
On our way to the Children's Museum last week

Happy as a duck in water
Happy as a duck in water

Edited to add: Then Thane skipped his morning AND afternoon nap. Shortly after being allowed to get up from his attempt at an afternoon nap, as I was on the phone with his father, he fell down four stairs and cut open his eyebrow, leading to lots of blood and a call to the nurse line, which recommends I wake him every 2 hours tonight. (He’s probably fine, but I was alarmed.) Poor husband was totally in the dark about the seriousness (or lack thereof) of his condition for about 15 minutes as I staunched the bloodflow, which must have been really nerve-wracking for him. My cell phone finally ran out of battery. The cat vomited on the stairs. All this is to say: I’m really forward looking to Monday.

On the plus side — Dominos delivers.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

3 thoughts on “The less glorious times of parenthood”

  1. Oh, gah. Hang in there. And no more stairs for Thane. Ever. Air mattress somewhere downstairs, stat. Poor baby.

    And hey! I know that playground. Heck, I know that 99, too.


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