If They Were All Like This, People Would Only Have One

Anyone who saw me at my fourth-grader’s school orientation yesterday must certainly think I have no clue how to manage a child. I tried to introduce myself to her new teacher but there is no way she could hear me over the screaming and thrashing toddler in my arms. She probably just heard, “Hi, my name is Shitty-Ass-Parent, nice to meet you.” Before we even walked into the classroom I tried, I really really tried, to get my shit together. I brought snacks, a toy cell phone, the Ipad with Sesame Street cued up … I was prepared. Between the moment we walked into the building and the few seconds before we entered the classroom, every one of my preparations had been hurled out of the stroller – including my child herself. I tried to bend and push her stiff-as-a-board body back into the stroller but the skreeches echoed through the halls and before someone called Child Protective Services on me, I opted to just hold her. Do you know how much it sucks to hold a writhing 21-pound kid on your hip while pushing a stroller one-handed through crowded school hallways?

And this is the norm. This chaotic, loud, wrestling match is part of our every day life.

What the fuck did I do wrong? This is my third kid. I should have this totally figured out by now. Am I too old this time around? One of my best friends said sarcastically, “Have a 3rd, you said. It will be fun, you said.” Well hell, I had no clue my third would be THAT kid.

The other two had their challenging moments as toddlers, but this kid … she is comprised almost exclusively of challenging moments.

Baby gates? Ha. She laughs in the face of them. Child locks? Just a fun puzzle to figure out. The leather rocking recliner? Trampoline. My desk? A stage to dance on. The toilet (that our 4-year-old never flushes)? Fun water play! And that’s all before we even have breakfast.

I’m pretty sarcastic, I say things with flare to add dramatic effect, but I cross my heart and hope to die – I’M NOT EXAGERATING about this kid. I’ve become that annoying helicopter mom who can’t even hold a conversation at a birthday party for fear of what my terror is getting into. And I did nothing differently this time around. I’m setting the same boundaries, enforcing the same rules.

The difficult child makes you question your previously successful parenting, exhausts you by lunchtime and drives you to drink, curse and throw things. Ok, I may have done those things pre-kids, but it’s more frequent now. Once I lay her down in her crib for the night (after saying a quick prayer that tonight isn’t the night she climbs out and finds the knife drawer) I plop down on the couch and breathe a huge sigh of freedom and relief. I’m off duty! And then I smell her on me … and I miss her. I do believe God takes these difficult ones to a whole new level of edible cuteness as a survival mechanism though. So there’s that.

maria floor

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4 thoughts on “If They Were All Like This, People Would Only Have One

  1. I have that kid…and that is EXACTLY why I only had one!! I love her to pieces, but daily, she’s challenging. She’s almost 10 now, so it’s getting slowly better. Who am I kidding? She’s now premenstrual. Heaven help us all!

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  2. Oh how I chuckle as I read your post! I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing because two of my own kids have gone through the same thing with their children. I only had one like that, out of three. My mother would be horrified when she witnessed this behavior. Of course I was given many child rearing tips from her. She raised us by the Dr. Spock Book. If she had only known that Spock was sitting at his desk with a “bong” in his hand, while giving out advise.
    Both of my kids have kids like yours, & they are a handful. But what I told my mother, & what I tell my kids is this, “These children who are unbelievably difficult, grow up to be extremely determined. This is a trait that is really helpful in todays busy, demanding, & competitive society. It too shall pass, & you will have a child – still a challenge – that will find a way to get what they want, no matter how challenging the problem!” I found both my difficult kids to be extremely determined, & successful. Good luck Mom, these moments are gone so fast, one day you look back & wonder where time has gone.

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  3. Been there and done that – as the saying goes… These kids turn out to be wonderful adults who have more patience and understanding for their kids — speaking from experience since I was that kid…. lol. The running joke is that I made all the bad kid movies put together look tame… I truly was the epitome of the terrible kid. I didnt turn out half bad… lol

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