Parenting. <deep sigh>
Jesus take the wheel.
Somebody find Rhonda, and tell her to help me.
Push the Life Alert button.
Sound the alarm.
Is anybody in the universe killin’ the parenting game? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller…Bueller…
Y’all…<deep sigh> I keep breathin’ hard because inserting “blank stare” isn’t as effective. But I employ both. Regularly. My oldest just said to me tonight, “what’s that stare for?” So I sighed, and he said, “what’d I do, mom, just tell me.” So I stared. I use this tactic when I’m struggling to control my emotions and my mouth and my hands all at the same time…it’s overwhelming, so something has to shut down in order for my brain to turn involuntary reactions into voluntary non-reactions. Even for a minute. It’s tough. I have no words. My brain is working too hard controlling myself to produce words and send them to my mouth. So I continue this tennis-like reaction to his behavior–sigh, stare, sigh, stare, sigh…the cycle is only broken when the weakest caves and walks away. I’m not too proud to admit that it’s me. Sometimes. Ok, rarely. Fine, hardly ever. <hard sigh> ok, fine, like 1 in 8 times I walk away. I already told y’all I was stubborn.
The universe loves to scream “SIKE!” at me regarding parenting these two lovely little human beings I call my offspring. Loves to scream it in my face like a dude who’s just jammed an opponent’s dunk attempt down his throat in a tied playoff game with 10 seconds left on the clock. And I’m left standing there like Kobe, hands up like “you gonna call that, ref?!”
My parenting game is like a rollercoaster. 30-minute intervals. If one half-hour is good, I’m preparing myself for a horrible half-hour to follow. Ok, sometimes it’s not 30-minutes. I shouldn’t be so extreme. Sometimes it’s 10 minutes. No lie. Sometimes it’s 4 hours. Sometimes it’s 2 days. And when it’s longer periods of unicorns and rainbows, I’m in my head like, “uuuggghhhhh come on man” because I know my kids. They’re just trying to trick me into lowering my guard so their “comeback” can be epic. It’s serious mountains and valleys, y’all.
I have no idea what I’m doing. None. Totally wingin’ it over here. And I have 13 years experience with teaching young children. I’ve read books and articles and blogs and quotes and the Bible. I’ve prayed and discussed and asked. I’ve gotten professional help and “professional help.” After all that, y’all should be coming to me in droves begging for my help. But I’m over here telling y’all that I have no clue what I’m doing. Every day is a guessing game. Every day is something new. Every day is a new coin to flip.
People love to say, “oh, it gets better! Just wait til they’re…” or “at least they’re not ___ anymore” or whatever other half attempt at encouragement. The truth is, the Terrible Twos ain’t got nothin’ on the Terribler Threes. The Threes ain’t got nothin’ on the F*#<in’ Fours and Fives OR the Stupid Sixes and Sevens. I mean, seriously. Every single year is something new to tackle. More words and more attitude and more questions.
Your 2-year-old throws a fit about his shoes not being tied; my 9-year-old throws a fit about not getting the toothbrush he picked. Your toddler throws his toys; my first-grader throws his iPad. Your 4-year-old cries in Target because he wants a toy; my 9-year-old loudly backtalks me just to evoke a reaction from innocent bystanders. I mean, seriously…the age doesn’t matter. Fits are fits, and all kids throw them. I mean, some adults throw them! But don’t come at me with the “it’s just a phase” mess because you and I both know that this phase is a set-up for the next phase. And the next phase is just an amped-up version of the one you’re currently enjoying.
Let me break it down…from my own experience, of course. Again, I’m not an expert. I’ve only been employed as a mom of two boys for a mere 7 years.
Crying in the store is replaced by racing the younger brother through the aisles in Target on a Saturday at peak shopping time.
Telling you “no” (or screaming it, whichever) is the appetizer to the main course of “no” topped with “you never” or “you always” with a side of “but you said” and “if you, then I’ll.”
Pouting is replaced by sassy remarks mumbled as they walk off.
Throwing toys is not replaced, it’s continued with the more expensive toys they acquire as they grow.
Whining is also continued, but the volume is increased. The intensity is also increased because they add legit arguments based on your actual actions or statements.
Hitting intensifies to fighting. Like WWE-make-em-tap-out style.
Insults gain real stinging power. Comebacks pack a punch. Arguments become legit. And soon you’re standing there sighing and blankly staring–just like me–because you are at a loss. Like me, you may see and hear yourself in this little human…and you kinda check yourself. Because they’ve learned this from somewhere. <silence> <blinking> No takers? Mm hmm…liars.
These little people are what we make them. Like, it’s so fantastic and frightening that I’ve molded two small humans into mini-me’s. They say things I say, react to things like I do, hold similar interests, love my same people…they yell the same, react to hurt feelings, get hype, and call you on your mess. The same. These little fools are me. I did that. I think that’s amazing. It IS amazing. The mountaintops and valleys are amazing. The fits and whining and yelling and attitude are amazing. Because they’re mine. Because. They. Are. Mine.
Universe, I’ll take your “SIKE” and raise you a “SIIIIIIIEEKKKE” in return.