Let me start with an apology to anybody who might have read my post written some time ago about becoming a better mother because of this mobile odyssey. In that gem, I muse about the importance of patience with our children, of not raising our voices or spanking them except as a last-result. I wave my self-congratulatory flag to celebrate my super-parental ability to rationalize with my daughter's young, irrational mind. Puffed up with my own achievements, I might have come off a bit preachy.
Well, if I made you feel that way, I apologize. And here is your moment to feel OK as a parent again.
I have screamed not just yelled at my daughter in the months following our lovely accident.
I have sent her to time out.
I have spanked her.
I have nearly pulled out all my hair in total frustration over these TEMPER TANTRUMS.
I have fantasized about ear plugs and cocktails to drown out the noise.
And today...I had to carry my kicking-punching-screaming darling daughter away from a neighbor's house, the entire family staring at me in horror. The neighbors had come over to invite us to come tomorrow for a playdate and their little girl led Sage inside to see some of her toys. A preview of the goods, if you will. The parents and I followed the girls inside. They were just about to start dinner so I asked her to come with me now and we would see them tomorrow. NO, she screamed. I pleaded with her, I asked politely. NO NO NO, I told you, I will come IN A MINUTE. Embarrassed glances at the other Mommy, then the Daddy. A nervous smile. Sage, come on, honey. Let's go home now so WE can have dinner and then go to that surprise fun place we were talking about earlier. NOOOOOOOO. OK, then. I will count to 3 and THEN we need to go. One, two, three...NOOOOOOO. A lot of screaming ensued. A lot of kicking-punching-screaming...and humiliation. The other little girl even looked at me like, "Awesome job, lady!"
The truth is, she's 3. Three-year-olds throw temper-tantrums. Heavy on the TEMPER, apparently. She needs to be allowed to express her feelings...in a healthy and appropriate way. She can't know HOW to do that, at 3. But she's going to learn. Today.
At the moment, she is sitting in the guest room in Time Out and I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with this. I want to go up and hug her and tell her I love her. Or scream and yell that THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN, IS THAT CLEAR!!!! Maybe I leave her up there for the rest of the night. I don't know! I do NOT want to be too hard on her but I absolutely do NOT want her to grow up to be a mess of a person. I want her to behave properly, be respectful of others (including me!) Feel good about herself but not at the expense of others. To be sweet, smart, silly and strong, like I've always taught her. I'm not perfect, I'm a parent (just like the Parents Connect commercials on Nick Jr.!) I guess I'm a real mother: simultaneously loving and screwing up my child every day. One second, so sure I know what I'm doing, the next feeling like a gigantic failure. Laughing through tears...and beers, perhaps?