Yes you heard that right.
Holy man did we have a doozy the other day. It was a total brat attack and I didn’t have any armour. I still can’t believe it happened.
We were having a rough morning. Sam had his grump on. After breaking up several fights between the two boys my mood and patience had worn pretty thin. Sam in a bad mood + me in a bad mood = impending disaster.
I finally got the two of them settled in the toy room playing and started going about my morning business. For those of you that are curious what my “business” is? Cleaning up, doing dishes, changing loads of laundry, etc…. Yawn!
Suddenly I realized it was a bit too quiet in the house. Bad, bad, bad sign!!! The last time it was crayon on the walls. I ran to check on the boys to find that they had absolutely trashed the toy room. Every single toy they own – and that’s a lot thanks to generous extended family – was scattered across the floor. In a matter of twenty minutes they’d dumped out every box they could find – lego, farm animals, puzzles, blocks, train tracks, ETC!! It was wall-to-wall mayhem. This has happened before. And it makes me crazy. My son knows it. We’ve had several talks about the difference between “playing” and “destroying.” Oh don’t think they’re so innocent. Maybe the younger one still is at 19 months but… Not for long. My older one knew exactly what he was doing and exactly what he was encouraging his brother to do!
I took a deep breath.
Me: “Alright, well… Time to clean up.”
Me: “Excuse me? Um, yes. We’re going to be cleaning this up right now.”
Sam: “No.” Arms crossed, defiant look in his eyes.
Me: “Alright then. I’m off to get a box. I’m packing up all the toys I find on the floor and they’re going in the garbage.”
Of course I didn’t mean it. But a little fear can go a long way, right? Sometimes.
I returned to the toy room with a laundry hamper. He hadn’t moved an inch to start cleaning. I decided to rephrase my threat. “If I’m cleaning up these toys, they’re going away for awhile. If you’re helping me clean up the toys then you’ll be able to keep them.”
So I got down on my hands and knees (actually quite a feat at 36 weeks pregnant) and started gathering up lego pieces, puzzles pieces, blocks, animals, cars, you name it, and dumping them into the laundry hamper. Suddenly I’m struck with something on the back of the head. I turned around and there’s my four-year-old, my “angel’,” standing there winding up to throw another block at me.
“Don’t you dare…”
He has quite an arm I’ll give him that.
I decided to ignore it. I decided that, with the way I felt, the only alternative was doing something I would really, really, really regret. I was so angry, so fed up, so fucking pregnant… I was just barely hanging on. I tried to imagine what would happen if my husband were in my place. That’s when I had my morning epiphany. It wouldn’t happen. There’s no way my son would pull this shit with his Dad. In that moment I thought “because he respects his Dad. He doesn’t respect me.” Waaaaaaaah!
Sam continued to pelt me with toys. It hurt. I’m serious, he has an arm on him. I was desperately clinging to sanity. I kept repeating over and over “Sam, stop it. I told you this would happen if you didn’t help…”
Suddenly he was standing right beside me with an empty puzzle box. He started hitting me with it over and over.
Yes I’m freaking serious.
This is when I snapped. I grabbed the puzzle box out of his hand. He must have sensed I was two seconds from total bat shit crazy because he turned and started running. I threw the puzzle box at him. It hit him in the back. I got a small sense of satisfaction from that.
Yes, I did that. I’m owning it. Call the cops why don’t you?
He turned around, eyes wide. Shocked. I stared back, unapologetic. It was a show down. I could see the realization crossing his face that what I had just done had been on purpose. He burst into tears and ran from the room.
I was already in tears. I was bawling by the time the third block hit me in the back of the head. I ran from the room too, to my room, to cry into my pillow like a four year old. My nineteen month old, who was completely oblivious to the whole scene going down tottered in after me. I pulled him up on the bed for a cuddle. At least this one is still a little innocent, I thought.
It took about ten minutes to calm down. I was feeling terrible for throwing the puzzle box at him. Worst. Mom. Ever.
I heard a noise at the door. I sat up and could see Sam was trying to stuff something under the crack of the closed door. It was a crumpled piece of paper.
“Sam what are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m trying to give you something.” He replied.
“What is it?”
“I’m trying to tell you I’m sorry.”
Isn’t the roller coaster of emotions your children take you on crazy? Ten minutes prior I was literally ready to throttle him. He was the WORST behaved child in the universe. But that very moment when I realized what he was doing, my heart melted. You see, he can’t really write anything except his name. But he’s found himself a scrap of paper, doodled a little on it, then tried to pass a “sorry note” under the door to me. It’s the sweetest, most original gesture, he’s ever made. He was too ashamed to open the door and face me and that showed me he was feeling REALLY bad.
I went and got him and brought him into bed for a cuddle with me and Will. We talked. We talked about all the things that went wrong that morning – the things he was doing I didn’t like AND the things I was doing he didn’t like. We BOTH apologized. We decided what we could do next time to make things go better. It was so great and I was so proud that each of us owned our part. It’s not easy as a parent to admit your mistakes to your children. But it’s important.
Major break-through? Maybe. But he was back to bugging his brother twenty minutes later. The whole day was pretty brutal to be honest. But the moment we shared that morning… Well, it made it all bearable. And I have a feeling I’ll look back on it fondly forever.