Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I have never had much trouble from my two year olds -- it seems like they are just cute and fun to be around, curious about the world and learning new things every day. I actually really like three year olds, too, there is just one three year old in particular who is causing all manner of distress around here and I am fairly certain that it has more to do with a certain plump baby than an age, but we don't want anyone carrying around that heavy burden of guilt, so we'll lay the blame at the feet of normal developmental stages. I really had it better than I deserved, with Phin often playing for hours with his trains or legos, or just bopping around whatever I was doing, but then his world was turned upside down and a mere two weeks later all of his playmates went to school. It seems like he never quite recovered and we've had a bit of a rough autumn as I get used to my new boy while he figures out his place in the universe. Last week while I was nursing the baby, it was very quiet for quite some time. I hoped for the best and decided not to worry about what was going on, but the best was not to be. When I went to Phin's room he had gotten into a lip gloss that I had given to Lucy only the day before and squished it out liberally all around the room -- on bedspreads, clothes, and of course, his endearing little face. Well, it wasn't endearing enough because I got mad! Really mad. Far more than it deserved (although it didn't come out of the fabric items, so it was fairly serious, right?). There were tears on both sides and I felt terrible. I hate when I lose my temper!!! What is my problem?!? Deep breath. So the very next day I had to feed the baby again. A few times even. And you'll never guess what happened -- almost the exact same thing! This time he had stacked a stool on a chair (he had to work harder since I had given the girls a lecture on keeping their things out of his reach) and gotten into a cute little make-up kit that Ibby had gotten for her birthday. It was even more exciting because there were several fun colors involved, including a lovely bright blue. Well, I got angry again and while I was stomping around trying to clean up the mess I kept thinking to myself, and probably vocalizing a smidgen with some nice low muttering, "Why oh why doesn't he ever learn? Doesn't he remember that he got into trouble yesterday (and lots of other times recently)? Why is he having the same reaction (making a mess) to the same stimulus (tempting bright, gooey things) even though I have made myself more than perfectly clear that that is not okay?! Didn't the bad feelings of being punished make any headway into his consciousness?" And then I completely stopped in my tracks as I had an epiphany, as it were. I realized that I never learn either. For years I have been getting mad at my kids about stupid things and then feeling terrible afterward. Why haven't those pangs of regret and remorse changed me into more of the person that I want to be? The kind, long-suffering, ever patient, yet fun-loving, madonna? I don't know! I do think I am better than I used to be, but I still understood, for that moment anyway, that I can't expect a mischievous, slightly bored and very displaced, little boy to learn all of those lessons and be more mature than his mother, can I? So I am determined to do better and over the past couple of days since we've gotten out the Christmas things and he has undone vignettes, relieved nutcrackers of their swords, smashed glass ornaments, and shattered a snow globe, you'll be happy to hear that I didn't even bat an eye -- they're just twitching a tiny bit.