Time out in Five, Four, Three, Two -

I remember the last days of parenting an angel.  

The boys spent the day outside in the dirt and Lane came in with red cheeks from the wind.  He had a nightmare that night - or what I think was one.  When I went into his room and he was on his stomach not moving but his eyes were open and he was crying.  I got him out of his crib, laid down with him and sang him back to sleep, rubbing his back as he whimpered. 

The next morning he woke up as a toddler with a limited vocabulary and emotions pouring out of his whole body all at once - explosive volcanic wild human beast.  One that throws toys and bangs his head on the walls on purpose (he has a bruise now) and tries to fight me when I hold him and screams the entire length of the store and throws a fit when we ask him to eat dinner. 

He woke up from his nap today and I walked in the room.  
I shouldn't have done that.... 

He THROWS all toys out of crib.  Screams screams.   
I get him out.
Google told me to hold him and help him process his feelings, so I hold him,  but he head-butts me on purpose.  
I set him down, and he throws his body on the couch.  He kicks his trucks.  Screams screams.
Google told me that I should empathize in these moments.  So I say, "You're so mad Lane.  I can see how mad you are."
He bangs his head on the wall.  twice.
"You want daddy to wake you up and he's not here.  That makes you mad"  (I guess).  He quiets for a second, then bursts again, towards me this time and pinches me on the arm and leg.
Google told me that I should ignore this behavior.  So I stand up and walk to one side of the room.
"When you calm down, you can come get a hug"  I say.
Screams screams.  He stomps over to me, and opens his arms for a hug.  I give.
Once he's in my arms, he sweetly lays his head on my shoulder.  I think - thank god it's over.  
Then he swings his head up again and smacks me in the cheek.  
This time, I pretend it didn't happen.
"Do you want to read a book?"

Ages and phases - I keep telling myself.  Like that time I thought he'd always be a bad sleeper.  Like that time I thought he'd never eat real food.  And look at how far he's come!  How much he's learned!  This is just another layer.  A level up.

But seriously?  When I thought I'd be a good parent , was it because I always pictured myself with an easy child?  I think so.  I think I imagined sitting at a table discussing Harry Potter, doing a crazy art project in the shed, gardening with a tiny baby waddling around.  I never thought: I'm going to have to teach someone how to express emotions in a way that is acceptable and not dangerous and polite and works with our family.  I never thought about that.  I can't handle my emotions.  My man - he can't either - that's for sure.  I never think of myself as an inadequate parent when it comes to feeding my baby, spending time with him, giving him good exercise, but teaching emotional control?!  INADEQUATE.

Anyway.  That's how I'm feeeeeeling.  I hope when Lane learns how to write, or draw, or study, or speak for that matter, he'll be able to find an outlet for his feeeelings that doesn't involve pinching someone.  And until then, we are holding on.  Empathizing, holding, ignoring, redirecting, whatever.

Note:  Colt says this sounds defeatist.  He is convinced we will "beat him tomorrow".  I'll keep you posted.


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