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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pitching a Fit

Dear Eddie Pie,

I'm putting this picture of you on the blog so that someday, when you're a parent yourself, you will have visual evidence of how you acted and how I dealt with it.  I can't necessarily say that I dealt with it properly, but it is what it is.  I feel like I'm parenting by the seat of my pants, which is to say that I don't really know what I'm doing.  And without your dadda here all the time, I don't have anyone with whom to commiserate.  

On this particular Wednesday, you and I sat down to a plate of banana bread with cream cheese, fried eggs, and a cup of OJ for breakfast at 7:55 am.  I ate my meal and sat patiently with you while you bounced around in your chair, licking the cream cheese off bits of the bread and eating all of the egg (minus the yolk, which you've decided you don't like).  After about 20 minutes of sitting with you, near-constantly urging you to eat your breakfast, I decided to clear my dishes and get ready for school.  Another 20 minutes passed, with you getting off your chair many, many times and me telling you to eat your breakfast many, many, MANY times--with the threat of me throwing it away in the compost can.  You even had the added incentive of watching a show on Netflix (probably Blue's Clues or Bob the Builder) and eating a Jolly Rancher hard candy...but only if you ate your breakfast in a timely manner.

Well.

You didn't.  So I threw out your food and washed the dishes.  You escaped the warm house through the doggie door in your PJs and socks to play in the cold, wet sandbox in the side yard.  You took your two favorite toy swords with you.  When you came inside you were dirty and you washed your hands in the bathroom sink while I removed your dirty jammie pants and socks and your very wet PullUp you'd worn over night.  Then I got you dressed while you "brushed" your teeth (really, you just chewed on it and sucked the tasty paste off of it).

You asked for a show and a piece of candy.  I declined and told you why.  You proceeded to freak out--crying and yelling demands that I give you what you wanted.  I told you I was sorry you were feeling frustrated and asked if you thought yelling was going to change my mind.  You said it wasn't.  (You're a smart kid!)  I gave you about 5 minutes to calm down before telling you it was time to go to school.  Part of me wishes I could have let you calm down before heading out the door, but I felt I had no choice.  Maybe I'll look back on choices like this and wish I could have a do-over.

I carried you, kicking and screaming, out into the garage--all while carrying my lunch and my heavy school bag.  I put you into the bike trailer.  Through tears and a runny nose, you demanded that I get your swords from the sandbox.  I declined, telling you that you should have remembered to bring them inside with you if you wanted them.  You freaked out even more, this time trying to climb your way out of the straps of the bike trailer.  (Remember a few months ago when I had to hand-sew brand new straps onto the trailer seat since the old ones had disintegrated over the last two years?  It appears that your mama sews quite well because nothing tore during your rage.)

I asked you a few times to calm down and speak to me with your big boy voice.  You didn't want to.  Instead, you yelled and screamed REALLY loud--always when there were a few passersby on the path by our house--and threw your blanket onto the ground in protest.  When I got my helmet on and started biking down the driveway, you calmly asked me to put your blanket on your lap, so I did.  And then you began screaming and crying again as I biked away from our house.

In fact, you screamed and cried the whole 12 minute bike ride to Cassie's house.  I got some weird and scornful looks from other adults as we made our way downtown.  I smiled and kept on pedaling. I tried to strike up distracting conversations with you, but it didn't really work on this particular morning.  "Eddie, look at all that water flowing down the street.  It's flooding the bike lane!  Where do you think it's coming from?"  You respond with a bought of silence and then more wailing.    "Oooh, look.  The workers are using a pump to drain the swimming pool.  That's where the water is coming from."  You respond with a firm, "NO MAMA!"

At Cassie's you finally calmed down and went inside without my having to carry you inside.  Telling you to go inside, or at the count of three I'll carry you inside yourself, you generally do it yourself because you don't like threats like counting.  (God forbid!)  Once inside, you were once again your sweet self.

Your kiddo brain probably doesn't realize it, but Mama won.  No tantrum will keep us from getting to school, eating healthy meals, or going to bed at a reasonable hour.  You can try, but it won't work.  My job is to love you and show you that tantrums don't work.  Discussions and good actions do.

I love you, pumpkin!  Tantrums and all.  After all, you're awfully cute when you're sad/mad.

XOXO to the moon and back,

Mama

4 comments:

Leah Roy said...

I love this post to the moon and back, Julie. You are an OUTSTANDING mama and I'm honored to call you my friend. Also, I hope you had a mid-day beer or glass of wine after that start to your day. If not then, maybe a FEW beers or a LARGE glass of wine tonight :-) Its called, "keeping mom hydrated". Hugs!

Mariah said...

Oh Julie! I love that you shared this! This week has been weird and I've been wishing to have a bf to commiserate close by with about the downs of being a mommy when it comes to withstanding screaming and yelling. And this post reminds me of your awesome mommaness and how I like reading about it.

steph.kelley said...

Exemplary handling of an unfortunate situation, seems to me (albeit in my inexpert opinion!). I'm sure that Eddie will agree, one day. In the meantime, you are making him into a wonderful, rational, emotionally and socially aware little person—kudos to you. xoxoxo

Kristen said...

This is fantastic! You are a woman to be admired for sure. I love you wrote the post to Eddie, it will make for one great story to share in the years to come!