When I think of my darling little Jake over the last few weeks, phrases like “donkey’s bottom” and “screech machine” come to mind. My normally well-behaved, good-humored, easy-going boy has become a terror.
I have no idea what has happened, but Jake has started doing this body-arching screaming thing when he’s mad, making high-pitched dolphin noises when he’s irritated, and throwing things when we tell him to stop whatever behavior has become unacceptable. We went to the mall a few days ago to finish up our Christmas shopping and we were THAT family. You know the one I’m talking about. Where the parents are frantically trying to calm their tantrum-throwing child while everyone else averts their eyes or mutters under their breath about how their little angel would never do that in public. The reason Jake was throwing himself on the floor in the mall, you ask? Because we didn’t get a table by the food court fountain. Then, Greg and I had the nerve to insist that he eat something. And after that, because we didn’t ride the escalator for the ninth time in ten minutes. And, ten minutes after that because I wouldn’t let him drink out of a gum-infested water fountain. The shopping trip ended in shame, Greg carrying a screaming child to the car, and the entire mall breathed a sigh of relief as Jake’s screams drifted off into the distance.
Yesterday was our feeding therapy appointment with our new therapist. The appointment unfortunately comes in that gap before Jake is worn out enough to hold still enough to sleep but after his horns and tail have sprouted. I had to get him out of his chair three times in twenty minutes and make him apologize to Jennifer for screaming at her.
And then came The Moment when Jennifer turned to me and asked if I would like a psychologist to come to the house and go over behavior modification ideas with me.
All rise, and fanfare, please, while I go to the podium to receive my Mother of The Year Award.
I know that I’m not a bad mama and that every child, no matter how consistent the discipline, does morph in a gremlin every once in a while and gnaw on cords and dump all the sugar on the floor. That said, I know we have some tweaking to do before Greg and I become completely insane and just give in because it’s “easier”.
So, last night during Jake’s nap, Greg napped on the couch, worn out from dealing with our little lovely while I ran a few tense-lipped miles on my treadmill. I’ve realized that raising a little guy with special problems makes things like tantrums and the Terrible Two’s even harder to figure out.
Is Jake anti-reflux medication wearing off and he’s freaking out because he’s in pain?
Are the warnings of said medication’s ability to turn a normal child into the mean version of Chucky coming true?
Is his skin bothered by the cold weather, the elastic on his pants, his new shoes, etc.
Is he unable to get enough sleep because he has to be in constant motion?
Is he developing lactose intolerance like I did at that age?
Are we dealing with the early stages of OCD? (That concern is a real one which I’ll write about later.)
Is Jake just two and good at it?
Whatever the answer to all the above questions, I’m sure we’ll find an answer. In the meantime, I’m done with Jake’s tantrums, screaming at me, freaking out in the car, collapsing in public, and generally being a donkey’s bottom. I hate being held captive by the screams of a person a third my size and that I give in all too easily because I really, really want that noise to stop. I know that consistency is the answer and even though it’s tiring, frustrating, and easy to give in just this once, I really can’t do it. Especially since I’m pretty sure that Jake is smarter than I am. At not even three, he’s figured out how to manipulate my words to get what he wants. Today, after he threw a toy on the floor, I told him that he could give me the toy and keep playing, or he had to go to his room. He looked at me, grinned, and went to his room with the toy. Oh, that is so not what I meant and he knew it!
I fear for my future sanity on many levels and know that I have to get a handle on some of this stuff right now. So, if you would, pray for Jake and I as I attempt to tame the monster without breaking both of us. I love my little Donkey’s Bottom so much and I know that some rough days are ahead of us. But, so are some wonderfully good days when the tantrums and screeching are all, mostly, behind us.
The good news is that I usually run to blow off steam, so I’ll be super-model-skinny in no time!
Since laughter really is good medicine, I hope you have laughed at some of this. And, if you are a fellow mother, please send your funny stories my way. I could use a laugh and to know that there are others occupying my Mother of the Year podium.