This Hate Thing

We’re still caught up in an epic battle with the hate word. We’ve tried a variety of different methods for dealing with it, including all the ways you guys suggested. And thank you, I was dying for advice and it was great to see so much support come in.

What seemed to work, for a short, short time, was taking it VERY seriously. Acting very hurt and angry. Making him sit in his room and think about it for a while. But, then he started acting out at school. Bigtime. So, lesson learned. Anger won’t get us anywhere. But neither does acting like our feelings are hurt. That only seems to fuel it, really.

When he started freaking out at school, we got called in to talk about it (THE HORROR) and their basic stance on it is, let the kid say it. It’s just a word, after all. One that’s hard to hear from our flesh and blood, but just a word nonetheless.

If they are able to freely say it at home, an environment where they feel safe in pushing their boundaries, then they’re less likely to start saying it outside of home, to friends, etc.

If they do what the preschool teacher called a “drive-by”, where they just walk by and insult you: “I hate you.” “You’re stupid.” “You’re ugly.” with no real provocation, then that you can be upset about. Tell them you’re hurt, and it’s not a good word to use. But, if it’s in the heat of a denied-a-second-dessert fueled tantrum, then let it go.

And this might all sound like we’re being a little soft, but really it has been working. Sort of. He still says it. And it slips out at school once in a while. But, it has ebbed a little bit. And sometimes when I act all hurt and sad, he will quickly add, “I love you.”

I talked to a lot of other parents at preschool, and it seems like all of the kids are going through or have gone through the exact same thing. Which oddly makes me feel a lot better. There is a light at the end of this hate tunnel.

Ground Control to Major Tom

So, you know what I’m totally tired of already (even though I have like 16 years of this  parenting thing left) (well, really forever because they’re always our kids) (and make that forever and a day if we have more kids)?

I’m tired of the whole not listening thing. Like, you know they hear you, you know they understand you, yet they do not respond and/or do not react accordingly!

I remember my own mother complaining about this phenomenon, the selective hearing. Why, just this afternoon, I repeated one of her favorites, “Why don’t you ever listen to me?!”

Ok, so I didn’t listen, and probably kids before me didn’t, and I should take comfort in that and therefore be able to deal with it when Bowie pulls the I’m-not-listening card. But, no, people. Really, no. It still sucks.

I often apologize to new moms or expecting moms for scaring them about the toddler years, but I won’t apologize here, you must be warned. Be prepared to repeat yourself approximately 75 times when you want them to do something or stop doing something or whatever it is.

You will be calm at first. You will think I am the coolest, calmest most collected mama on earth. I’ll just ask him nicely to not put the fork in the socket and everything will be awesome.

Gradually, the volume of your voice will increase, and the language will change (for instance, you may even begin to throw a threat or two in there) until finally you are MAMA, HELLBEAST OF THE APOCALYPSE.

Just do this for me though: don’t be too hard on yourself. Know that you are not the only mama to yell. And take comfort in the fact that you had the patience to ask nicely as many times as you did.

I have a friend who theorizes that a little yelling when they are young makes them think twice as teens. Now, who knows what our kids will do when they are teens, we were all loose cannons back then AM I RIGHT? But, use her theory to make yourself feel better, haha.

p.s. like the Bowie reference? yes, I’m super witty like that, thanks.

Our First Time Out

Monday morning, 9 a.m. Mommy is checking email, updating the Christmas gift list, entering Pampers codes, generally important morning-on-the-internet kind of stuff. Kiddo is quietly playing with some dishes in the kitchen.

He gets up to show me something he found, and when he realizes I’m on the computer: insta-meltdown. Screaming, crying, hitting, throwing things, the works. So, I get up from the computer, check out the toy, calm him down. Then I get back on the computer, and the meltage starts up again.

Repeat FOUR times.

So, I said to him, you are going in a time out. And I put him in his crib.

I didn’t know what else to do, he’s screaming and being violent for the sole purpose of getting my full, undivided attention. Is he too young to learn that sometimes I have to do other things, and he has to be ok with that?

At the end of the time out, we hugged and kissed, and I told him I love him. Big smiles. Then he followed me into the bathroom and screamed at me during my entire shower.