As I’ve said before, it always irritates me when people post on Facebook about how everyone portrays their lives to be perfect. The truth is that most of us don’t always want to share the crazy, depressing, challenging or embarrassing days.
Except me…I just wait to do it in a blog. I figure this way only approximately 1 to 12 people will read about my parenting blunders.
Anyway, one of my most frustrating days as a parent was a couple weeks ago; it has stuck with me like yesterday’s generic Cheez-Its on my leg from my toddler, and I am ultimately trying to learn from it.
What is odd is that I never realized I could laugh so much from confusion, nervousness and embarrassment. But oh, how I giggled nervously and incessantly and wished I could be transported to a far, far away place with a lot of wine, midgets and a Lifetime movie marathon. (Lame, huh? Getting old sucks.)
Anyway, my toddler had a complete and utter meltdown at my doctor’s office. Not just any doctor…this was THE “nice doctor,” as my son labeled him months ago, who is a miracle worker when it comes to athletes (and non-athletes for that matter) with pain/injuries. He has magic thumbs, and I’m not exaggerating! Life is always better after treating with him.
With tears gushing down his face and his little lips quivering, my boy bellowed out, “I am mad at the nice doctor! I don’t like the nice doctor.”
How could this be? I mean, my son adored this doctor and drew pictures for him; the doctor even had the drawings hanging in his office!
I am pretty sure I said, Noooooooo in slow motion and rushed to put my hand over his dirty little mouth, although I wanted to say, “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to the nice doctor!”
But instead, I was in shock, laughing…and mortified.
This usually sweet child of mine was crying, screaming, flailing his arms, rolling on the ground like Randy in A Christmas Story, and telling me in a shaky, near indecipherable voice, “You hurt my feelings.”
Wait, excuse me?! Weren’t you just mad at the doctor?
And how exactly did *I* hurt YOUR feelings?
By being in labor more than 20 hours with you? By leaving my teaching job to stay at home with you? By giving you every shred of my time, energy and attention each day? By leaving the Dollar Tree with a balloon, ice cream sandwich (that you took one bite of before declaring it was gross), train erasers, a fire truck and army figurines, when all we went in there for was a desk calendar?
Oh, how this was all so awful. And loud.
I was drowning in the depths of whiny toddler despair without any kind of help or life preserver.
I needed to act quick; the doctor was a deer in headlights, and I was a mom about to bust into tears (while still letting out nervous giggles, of course).
I am pretty sure the doctor had to have been terrified that my tears were next, as he was also married with children. Us women are emotional creatures; we just can’t help it, I say!
So, along with scooping up my possessed child, I was able to scrape up my last ounce of hope and energy of salvaging this usually routine pleasant visit, and I quickly exited the office….without tears. Woo hoo!
But the nightmare was not over.
My toddler started purposefully falling on his own in the parking lot, screaming, “She’s pushing me down…SHE’S PUSHING ME DOWWWWWN!”
Oh my gosh, if someone had seen/heard that display and believed his craziness, I would have been arrested. Or CPS would probably be at my door.
We made it to the car, I promptly sent the “nice doctor” an apology message and then hung my head in shame while listening to my toddler sobbing in the back seat.
It turns out my little guy was upset at two things: That I didn’t buy him a gumball at the store (Damn those candy machines by the registers!) and that the “nice doctor” moved the exam table up to work on my hip. (Apparently he didn’t want his mommy up “too high” on the table.)
Since this incident, I have cancelled two appointments because of fear and sheer embarrassment. I’m sucking up the pain because I’m truly mortified.
Not enough time has gone by since the total toddler shit show, so I’m just icing and praying and trying to let time erase the shame of yesterday. Somehow that last part sounds like song lyrics, but I digress.
My boy is almost four, and I realize most of his behavior is typical for his age. Buttttt…it’s still difficult to endure at times.
And I can’t help but question how I can be a better parent to him; how can I do better and in turn help him behave better?
I have read many parenting articles books; most notably the book by Ginger Hubbard called Don’t Make Me Count to Three: A Mom’s Look At Heart-Oriented Discipline stands out to me.
They have all helped in some ways…
I realize I am not alone.
I realize I am not supposed to be perfect, as much as I try.
I realize that toddlers are like little drunk people, happy and prancing one minute, woozy and unpredictable the next.
I realize there is no one way to parent; and there is no perfect flow chart that exists (“If your child says/does this, follow the right arrow to this solution,” but “If your child says/does that, then follow the arrow to the left.”)
I realize that I absolutely love my boy more than life itself, and I put way too much pressure on trying to make him happy and perfect. It’s unrealistic.
I take solace in knowing that 90 to 95 percent of the time I really do have gold; he is polite and says “please” and “thank you,” he tells me I’m beautiful and that he loves me, he plays well with other kids, he has FINALLY been going in the potty every time and he is active and inquisitive.
But then there is the other 5 to 10 percent of the time, where he’s sticking a popcorn kernel up his nose, telling me he wants a new mommy or daddy, terrorizing our dog, running like a wild man around the gym when it’s time to go or screaming at me because he wanted broccoli instead of corn with his dinner.
I really do know that one day I will miss ALL of these moments, but I have accepted that for now, it is ok to feel upset, confused, depressed or embarrassed at times.
Apparently it’s all karma from when I was a kid.
And undeniably, it’s part of being a parent.
Our babies have only been on this planet a very short time and are still figuring things out…and they will continue to grow and try to figure things out, until they are also parents one day questioning life’s ups and downs.
So today, with these reminders and realizations, I found the courage to make another appointment with the “nice doctor.” Only this time it will take place while my little angel is at preschool.