I've decided life is a lot about plateaus and rocky climbs, everything from living itself, to relationships - especially relationships. Isaac and I are definitely at a rocky climb. Prior to this we had a wonderful schedule where we'd go out in the mornings to do a major errand and then have some fun for Isaac. He was so helpful, even willing to do all that needed to be done so that we could go to story time, to the park, to the museum or zoo, etc. Nowadays, it's as if everything is Chinese torture ... (ha, ha, I kill myself!)
I've tried to see it in the light that it is ... it's not that this move has finally warped his once sweet personality in to a screaming, back-arching terror. It's not that I'm not a good mom or Kent's not a good dad, or what I fed him, or didn't feed him, or ... whatever. "Mommy guilt" has a way of fishing up. I'm trying in all my interaction to see that this is simply a time of change; he's growing and wants more freedoms. He wants to do some things that he's ready for and some things he's definitely not ready for, and so we need to reset our boundaries and clarify once again.
That all being said in a logical and analytical tone, the actual doing is nothing like it. My patience has been stretched to the limit these last few days, and I finally snapped. I have tried extremely hard not to yell at Isaac. Screaming does nothing but diminish myself in front of him, and I have succeeded thus far in that goal. I've cried, I've plead, I've cajoled, but not screamed ... that is until just last Friday. I'd planned a special outing to the Children's Museum that just opened up here not too long ago. I packed a lunch, got directions, and planned to pack in just as much fun as we could before nap.
Isaac really enjoyed the first 2 activities but felt he need to move on .... by himself. So there I am, shoeless, chasing a boy up stairs and down halls as he careened from one exhibit to another in some wild manner. Once I finally got a hold of him we talked about our rule of holding hands, and we started all over again. After one exhibit, it was back to the chase. I thought perhaps it was a little too much excitement - time to calm down. I needed a potty break, and he needed a diaper change. Of course diaper changing was never the fiasco it was this time, I felt like I was a sumo wrestler clearly being beaten by the underdog. My potty break wasn't any better as I tried to stop free running toilet paper, flushing when Mommy's not ready and let's-dump-everything-out-of-the-purse games. By this time I was breathless, frustrated, and fed up. I marched down to the front desk to finish my application for membership before we left. Between a well-meaning but overly chatty clerk, Isaac's squirming and smacking me on the face, and an ill-timed phone call from Kent on an extra loud ring, I lost my composure and yelled.
It would be nice to say that the yelling tirade ended with that one moment, but unfortunately the wrestling match in the car seat with Isaac triggered another bout. Isaac was a little in shock with how long this went on the drive home, and afterwards I felt a little ashamed. It's not as if he's ever been this combative before so my response was very new.
Once we got back home he was much more subdued as evidenced by his utter silence in our 'we need to practice sitting in the car seat properly for 5 minutes' lesson. After a quiet lunch and some much needed snuggling, we had a long chat. I apologized for my inappropriate way of communicating with him and asked for his forgiveness. With his solemn look, he sat up and nodded yes and gave me one of the sweetest hugs and kisses. We then talked about what was good and bad about the day, no no's and yes yes's and after a nap, went to to park and had a wonderful time. The day was salvaged in the end.
I learned a lot from this experience, and I guess that's why I'm blogging it. I learned that it's okay not to be perfect, and 'Mommy guilt' would have me think otherwise. I learned that forgiveness is a process (as evidenced by the fact it took several days for me to face the facts of what happen in order to write about it), and that this will not be the last time it happens. I've also learned that children are more capable of comprehending things than we think (Isaac has changed a great deal these few days since especially with verbal reminders of what happened before) and more resilient than I give them credit. (I didn't scar my child forever) It's a humbling thing to be a mother... but I'm grateful for the experience!
These are the two pictures I managed to capture before the meltdown! ;0)