Friday, July 21, 2006

No more wire hangers!

If mothers were given report cards, right now mine would show a grade of D+.* My son is irritating the piss out of me and I have days where I cannot stand to be around him. I am wracked with guilt about these feelings too. I don’t know if it’s the heat (it was 107 yesterday and forecast to be 110 today) that is making me cranky and impatient or what, but I have got to get some serious distance from him this weekend. In my defense, here are just a few of the things he has done lately:

  • He fiddled with the controls in the refrigerator and turned the temp on the freezer all the way down to 0 (with 0 being the warmest) and it started defrosting. This is after being told 100 times not to play in the refrigerator. It took me almost a day to realize exactly WHY the freezer was defrosting. Luckily we didn’t lose any frozen breast milk. We may have lost some veggies and possibly some waffles and ice cream that we didn’t need anyway, but I am okay with losing those.
  • We went to the grocery store and he picked up a penny off the floor. Then I watched in horror as he stuck it IN HIS MOUTH. We’ve had the conversation about what’s appropriate to put in our mouths and what isn’t about a hundred times now, but I honestly thought we were past that stage. I don’t see him putting coins in his mouth at home so why he decided that a filthy grocery store floor was ok, I’ll never know. Perhaps he’s regressing because he’s jealous of the baby (even though he hasn’t been acting as if he’s jealous lately). Who knows?
  • He ATE part of my mouse pad. He turned the mouse pad over, picked at the foam rubber until pieces came off, and then ATE THEM. I noticed the gouges in the mouse pad and I asked him if he tore it up. “Yes.” What did you do with the pieces that came loose? “I ate them.” Why? “Because I just put them in my mouth.” Right, I got that part. Why did you put them in your mouth? “Because I just ate them.” We’ve already established that. Tell me why you ate them. “Because I just put them in my mouth.” Do you see where I’m going with this? His 4 year-old mind doesn’t even understand what I’m asking which brings me to the next item.
  • His attention span is about 2 seconds long. When I want to explain something important, I will kneel down and tell him to look at me. When I have his attention I will say, “Now, son, the reason that I…” which is about the time he looks away and I can tell that he has completely shut off the part of the brain that process my voice. He’s hearing “wha wha wha wha wha” (think Charlie Brown’s teacher) and thinking about firetrucks or his Hot Wheels Batmobile or something else. He’s GONE. And to get his attention back, I have to raise my voice. Most of the time simply raising my voice doesn’t work, so I yell. And when yelling doesn’t get his attention, I turn into scary Joan Crawford mommy screaming at him. That’s not helpful at all and makes both of us feel bad. I usually wind up crying and telling him I’m sorry, and he comforts me and tells me “It’s ok. Don’t cry. There’s no monsters.” He doesn’t comprehend why I was even yelling in the first place, and then he has no idea why I’m crying after yelling. It’s all very frustrating and I have zero patience for it right now.

It could be that I am expecting too much out of him. He is, after all, only 4. However, when I compare him to his peers I see a huge difference in speech and language and maturity. He is way behind. I know in my heart that he probably isn’t ready for pre-K next month, but perhaps I’m hoping that his teacher will take notice of the fact that he’s behind and start the ball rolling for us to get him some help. But then realizing that he’s way behind only brings up more guilt because I wonder if perhaps it’s my fault. What if I had read to him more? What if I had encouraged him to color more? What if I was a better parent and didn’t scream at him because he won’t pay attention? I could “what if” the situation to death, but I know that’s counterproductive and we just need to move forward now and deal with it. And the first step will be me getting some space away from him this weekend. I will let his daddy handle things with him while I concentrate on taking care of the sweet baby girl who smiles at everything I say.

*I started with an F and then figured that I at least deserved credit for keeping him clean, fed, and clothed. Hence the D+.


Blogger KatyaR said...

Umm--we'll talk about this later, but take into consideration that everyone I know has been close to homicidal this week because of the heat. Maybe it's getting to him, too.

Just think, though--we have something fun to look forward to next week!

9:34 PM  
Blogger Fumble Fingers said...

You know you may want to raise your grade to at least a C+ because the heat index alone will make even His Holiness The Dali Lama wanna bitch slap the Pope. Not that he would...but he'd THINK it!

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Meira said...

Hmm . . . sounds pretty much exactly like my experiences with a baby and an older kid in the house. My wise friend promised it would pass around 3-4 mos. I think it took a little longer, lol. But it will pass. Hang in there, it will pass . . .

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Krista said...

Okay. We belong in the same club. I just wonder what Niki will be like at 4! He turns things on and off too and it makes me crazy! He will probably figure out to drag a chair and get to the fridge controls before long too. My kids put everything in their mouths. It is so disgusting (the worst being at the petting zoo with the goat pellets) but they must be pretty hardy since nothing bad seems to come of it. So don't be too hard on yourself! We are all doing the best we can and will have days that we need to have a break and that is perfectly okay. I call it my sanity break!

2:09 PM  
Blogger Fumble Fingers said...

I was on the phone with my mom tonight and she was telling me that I ate half a house plant when I was three!

11:48 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Oh my God - I'm cracking up about the Dali Lama bitch slapping the Pope! Thank you, Fumble Fingers - I had a good laugh at that one.

And thanks to everyone else for the encouraging words. I really appreciate it. :-)

11:16 AM  
Blogger CateK said...

My middle child is currently in Basic Training with the U.S. Army. I do understand. It is amazing how peaceful the house is now that he is gone. Some teachers will help. Some will not. Make sure you have a good support group and understand that he is a separate little human being and every child is unique.

6:49 PM  
Blogger The Thinking Man's Babe said...

Hey Missy,

I linked to your blog off your post off Fumble Fingers' blog...anyway, I think society pushes kids too hard these days...I was hopelessly behind until I was age 6, and then a little light went off ( was weird)...and jumped to a third-grade reading level in three months. Every child is unique, and I think that's the problem with society is we're expecting everyone to be the same!

Very fun blog, you make me wanna learn to knit!

4:16 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Thinking Man's Babe,

I believe you are absolutely correct and I am guilty of trying to push him too much. I am trying to learn to be more patient and to just chill the hell out already, and just enjoy him. And it's not the end of the world if he's behind his peers. Like you and catek commented, every child is unique. I do really appreciate all the comments - it has helped tremendously.

I'm also glad I make you want to knit! My plan for world domination has begun!

3:12 PM  

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