I have been working so hard, attempting to improve my health and my moods, attempting to be the best mom and wife I can be, all the while following my passion that is writing. Today I failed. Miserably. Most especially with Choo-choo.
Yes, he is a toddler. Yes, this is a very trying time. But today it was more than that. It is abundantly clear that he does not respect me.
Allow me to preface this by saying Choo-choo has always been a little ornery. He deliberately called me Dada instead of Mama for a year and a half. He would even start with “Mom-” then stop himself and switch to “Dada” before continuing, all the while talking to me and not Diesel. Then there is the fact that he stalls every day at both nap and bedtime. I have even asked him several times if he is trying to make me mad, to which he replied “Yes” with a big grin.
The worst, though, is a tie between laughing when I cry and ignoring every request or limit I have for him.
For many weeks now, I have listened to “I don’t wanna” in answer to me telling him to eat his food, wash his hands, get dressed, put his shoes on, drink his water, get his pull-up changed, put his toys away, and so on. I am already on edge (in other words, pissed off) because of this.
Then today came around. Every single thing I said to him was brushed aside like water off a duck’s back. None of it meant a thing to him. I hit what I thought was my breaking point by naptime. While Choo-choo sat in his bed refusing to sleep, I sat in the living room devouring marshmallows, chocolate graham crackers, and Nutella.
Things could only get better from there, right?
After struggling through dinner, with me desperate for a break and not getting one, it was time for bath and bed. Still, my son would not listen to me. He was brushing his teeth and wiggling his feet at the same time. It wouldn’t have been a big deal except for the fact that he was moving his feet on my legs, which I didn’t like.
I asked him to stop, but he refused. I moved his feet off me, but he put them back. I scooted away from him, but he followed me. he wiggled his feet on me every time, despite me saying again and again that I did not like it and for him to stop.
My body began to shake, and I knew what was happening. Not only was my anger boiling over, but my PTSD was kicking in. I was telling someone that I didn’t like what they were doing to me and to stop but they wouldn’t. It doesn’t matter that it happened to be my kid. My affliction doesn’t know the difference. It was only a matter of time before I wound up in tears. I wanted Choo-choo in bed and asleep before I cried.
We read his bedtime story then began cuddling on the chair to rock. He asked me for a hug, which I of course reciprocated. While not meaning to, part of Choo-choo’s arm began choking me during the hug. I moved both his arm and myself away a bit, telling him that hurt and not to do it. Without replying, he grabbed me closer for another hug, his arm choking me again.
I remember Vader making me feel the same way. I remember not being able to breathe and not having any control over my body whatsoever and him not caring. I began feeling this with Choo-choo. Suddenly, I burst into tears.
Confused, Choo-choo kept asking, “What you doing?”
I had no breath to answer him. The crying quickly progressed into sobs. Ugly, uncontrollable sobs. And Choo-choo started laughing.
Granted, it is possible he believed that’s what I was doing, as it was dark in his room. But it was just the proverbial straw on the camel’s back.
“I’m not laughing, I’m crying!” I yelled at my son. I also removed him from my lap. It took me several minutes before I felt capable of speaking again. I wiped my face, scooped him into my arms, sang him his lullabies, and tucked him in. We hugged and kissed goodnight.
Then he started it again. “I want another kiss and hug.” Over and over and over. I was still crying. I was so desperate to leave his room. I wanting him to just go to sleep. Yet my feelings and my sadness meant nothing to him. It was all about what he wanted.
Now, I don’t know at what age children start showing empathy for others. I do know that if there was ever a good time for my kid to practice it, that would have been the moment. Instead, I had to leave him sobbing in his room so I could go sob on the bathroom floor. I hadn’t had to do that in quite a while.
It felt like hell doing it again. Those familiar feelings popped up. That familiar pain. “Oh God, I want to die!” I found myself pleading.
I don’t, of course. Please don’t worry about me. I’m not suicidal in any way, shape, or form. I’m just so tired of falling down the same hole over and over again. It seems like the better I start to feel, the farther my fall.
Tonight will be long gone by the time you all read this. But right now, it’s been nearly an hour of us both crying. I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to get through tonight, and yet I have to. I’m going to comfort my son even though my own heart is broken. I am going to apologize for yelling and tell him how much I love him, because I do. And once he is finally asleep, I am going to pray that tomorrow is a better day.