Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 1309 of parenting, in which I once again did not kill Sarah Rochel

...but it was a much closer thing this time than ever before.

Sroch stalls at bedtime, not always, but often. This is a known fact. We give a little leeway, so she wheedled me into a second book plus one in bed, and then we had to get out of bed to pee. Fine.

Immediately returning to bed, she said now she had to poop (pardon my language, gentle reader). Insert me waxing eloquent about always speaking the emmes (truth), and if she really doesn't have to poop I'll be upset that she didn't tell me the emmes, etc, etc. No avail. Off to the toilet, therein to sit for several minutes until she said "nope!" and hopped off.

And it started to deteriorate.

Much kvetching about getting our pajamas back on, who will put her hand in the sleeve, etc, etc. "Fine, just sleep with no pajamas," wail, wail, wail. "Sarah Rochel, you did NOT just hit Mommy, right? RIGHT?" (Yes, I know, I tell her to tell me the truth, then I invite her to lie - this was not my finest moment.) Finally into pajamas, I tell her for the first time (of many) that "I am very, VERY upset," and off to bed.

And then she just turns into Uber Terror Toddler. We get the loud "NO!"'s, we get the kicking and screaming (waking up Llama, natch), we get the defiant glares, we get the running out of bed into the other room. I threaten to turn off the light, she continues, I turn off the light. I try leaving, she follows. I try sitting on the bed, she attacks. Now we have kicking, screaming, hitting and biting. And snatching my glasses off my face! The biting and glasses snatching are SO beyond how she behaves even when she's upset that I gasp, and I push her away from me and into the bed.

I push her away from me quite strongly. And I haven't been scooping her off the floor and dumping her in the bed too gently either.

Finally, I say to her, "Sarah Rochel, I'm very angry, and I'm leaving. I'm leaving because I want to hit you. But I won't hit you, so I'm leaving." And I go. She follows, I go back in to quiet the baby, she tries to come back in, I tell her to stay away from me because I'm too angry, she stays in the hallway wailing until I hear her throw up a little (sigh), baby goes back to sleep (thank you God!). Back out there, I take her to my room, put her on the bed, and sit next to her for fifteen minutes. She quiets. I tuck her in, adjust the light, give her hugs and kisses and leave.

Now, notwithstanding the fact that she STILL came back out a few minutes later (when I had already started typing the above) and asked for her blankie (I told her do whatever she wants, I have no strength left)... I think she's okay now.

So what happened???

On her side, she was overtired... and she was testing. She hasn't had a bout of testing that strong in more than a year, I think.

On my side... I have said before that NO ONE can make you as angry as your child. I, thank you God, really almost never get angry. Maybe once a year - seriously. It's a gift I am grateful to God for. But Sarah Rochel has the ability to make me furious in about twenty seconds. It's truly amazing, and - I have said this before too - it is truly amazing how few children are abused, since when you have a hysterical person smacking and biting you, the part of you that saw this scene from 'Airplane' too many times as a child can only think of hitting the kid just to make it stop. Which of course it wouldn't.

Whenever I have wanted to hit Sroch, it was almost always to do just that - stop the flow. Tonight was the first time I wanted to hit her punitively. I don't like that.

Now, why am I blogging this, as opposed to hiding this deep in my heart?

I will answer with a quotation:
"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Thank you Dumbledore.

Nothing makes me more ashamed than that anger made me want to use physical force to discipline my child.

Nothing makes me prouder than the fact that I defied the anger and chose not to do so.

So this was a cathartic blog post for me, but I also want to let the rest of you out there know, it is capital-N Normal to want to do the wrong thing. But you are also capital-A Able to do the right thing too. And while I was sitting on the edge of my eldest's bed, hearing the baby stirring and getting kicked and my clothes bitten, I asked Hashem to help me.

And that's the best parenting tool we have.


babybean said...

Amen! You would've laughed at my Dad the other day. Brendan's new thing over at their house is to stand on a step stool and play with the pool balls. They roll them back and forth for him. He absolutely loves it and never wants to stop! So on Saturday I took him over there to play and they played pool for a while. Then Dad wanted to watch the football game. We distracted Brendan for a little bit but then he wanted to play again. He pitched a fit. Instead of saying no or whatever, my Dad just laughs at him and says "is that the best you can do?". It was hilarious. I couldn't help but laugh. And eventually, Brendan stopped. Toddler-hood is going to be challenging! What made me think of that though is Brendan hits when he's mad or if he doesn't want you to do what you're doing. Like yesterday, I asked him for a kiss and he hit me! Silly boy.

brenda said...

I too have challenges nightly to get my little ones to bed (forget staying there) On one particularly bad night, when I really needed the time to myself to unwind, and I had dutifully read to them and sang to them and they were STILL climbing the walls, I was so exasperated that I roared at them and smacked the door to their bedroom - HARD! It made a really loud noise (and stung my arm for a bit) and got their attention and they were so shocked that they didn't bug me any more that night.

brenda said...

and I tell them frequently that "I am NOT a happy mommy"
Eventually they'll get the picture.

Carlye said...

I absolutely applaud your self-awareness and ability to remove yourself from the situation. It's the ones closest to us that can infuriate us the easiest! Thank you for sharing such a personal experience!