Friday, September 19, 2014

Cruel Mommy Myths

I can still remember when Niall turned 13 months old-- it was like this slow morphing of a perfect angel into some kind of monster over the course of 30 days or so.  I could see that sweet little baby slipping out of my hands and didn't understand what was happening.  Well, I'll tell you what was happening-- Christmas "the terrible twos" came early at my house, and I had no forewarning whatsoever.

It lasted until he was almost 2, but by his second birthday, everything was pretty much back to normal.  Those 9 months were not fun.  But I can tell you what's even more not fun: when you amplify those tantrums by about 75% and stretch out the time frame another year or so.  That would be my Brendan.

For me, babies are easy.  They eat, sleep, poop, smile and snuggle-- I relish every minute of those months 3-12 (as soon as they can mostly sleep through the night).  Ahh, these were the days...

And this was probably my last vivid memory before it all started to take a turn for the worse:

It's once they start walking and getting that first taste of independence that I think the whole parenting thing gets REALLY HARD.  Nobody tells you that the terrible twos might not actually start around age 2 when you are expecting it; at least in my house, they start the month after the baby turns 1 and don't end until... well, it's been a year and a half so far with Brendan and the attitude now is pretty much the same as it was then...

Let's see... in this one, he was mad that I was trying to take a picture
In this one, I think he was upset that I gave him the wrong water cup
Pretty sure he was angry at the wind
That cow was very offensive

It's a cruel joke, the whole phases thing.  Everyone has an end date to throw at you for all things baby/kid related.  Oh, breastfeeding will only hurt for [1 week...2 weeks... 1 month] until you realize after 2 months of agony that you might just be one of those people that it never gets better for.  Same thing with terrible twos, kids pooping their pants for a year, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

The terrible twos are not just some thing that every kid does the same way.  It has taken me 4 years to figure out that it's 100% the kid's personality.  Brendan is a diva and there is no changing that.  For Niall, it was just a phase of growing into his independence and dealing with those limitations and frustrations; it had a concrete start and finish.  For Brendan, there isn't an interaction in the world that isn't worth crying, whining, exploding, or causing some kind of scene over... except when we are around the people who I like to do my venting to; he loves to act like a perfect angel in front of them to make me look crazy :)

Some of my favorite reasons that Brendan has completely freaked out on me lately:

-we are going the wrong way (driving in the car)
-he doesn't like the song I've selected on the radio
-he had to put shoes on to go outside
-he doesn't want his water (putting a sippy cup in the cup holder is unacceptable unless he asks for it)
-he tells me the same story 8 times in a row and each time, my reaction of "Oh really?  Cool!" isn't enthusiastic enough
-I tried to help him with getting his clothes on... 10 minutes later, he still can't get his clothes on and is now mad that I'm not helping
-He asked for waffles for breakfast... I made them... but he actually wanted cereal (I still have a lot of work to do on my telepathy skills)

So what really scares me is how many people have told me that the 3rd kid is just SO EASY.  So go-with-the-flow, so happy to just be included and tag along, so everything-you-dream-about-a-kid-being-before-you-actually-have-kids.  Why does this scare me?  Because I BELIEVE THEM!  It just occurred to me the other day that I could be banking on something that is just another terrible myth.  I have been envisioning this barely noticeable kid just boppin around with us, smiling and cooing... and I suddenly realized that this might not be the way it is.  I think it's time to start mentally and emotionally preparing myself for a different version of reality.


Every time I write something like this, something where I have less than pleasant things to say about parenthood, I come across a heart-wrenching article that makes me want to slap myself and pretend I never had any of those feelings.  But the truth is, no matter how great someone else's loss or how lucky I realize that I am, I did/do still have these feelings sometimes, and pretending or hiding that doesn't make any of it go away...

What I will say is that for every 1 negative experience I have with my kids, I have at least 10 great ones that make it all worth it.  For every time I want to scream at the top of my lungs or lock a kid in their room for wayyy longer than the recommended 2-4 minutes-- all it takes is one "I love you mom!", 1 hug, 1 smile, 1 giggle, 1 funny anecdote; it all makes me realize how incredibly blessed I am every single day.  Life is so much more rich and fulfilling and *interesting*, to say the least, with these guys in it.

And the next time my head is about to explode, I will try... really hard... to remember that ;)

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Really great effort. Everyone should read this article. Thanks for sharing.


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