Hey all, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted…Why, you ask? Well, you might want to sit down for this because I’ve got a lot to get off my chest. You see, we are knee deep in terrible 2s/3s over here, and my sweet and sensitive little Maverick is living up to his name and making me feel like a complete failure as a parent. Some days it’s all loves and cuddles, and other days we are fire fighting fire trying to out-blaze each other, but really we just end up burning each other out. Every act of care is a battle. Changing his diaper. Changing his clothes. Feeding him. Getting him in the car. Getting him out of the car. God forbid I try to brush his hair. And after I wrestle him to the ground to sit on him so I can brush his teeth, (which the dentist firmly encouraged if that’s what it takes, which it does,) I say to him, “Don’t you know I am just trying to take care of you because I love you and I am your person?!?!” In response he gives me a mischievous and evil kind of laugh, which I interpret as, “Yes, Mama, but don’t you know that this is all just a game for me?”
So let me back up a little and explain that Maverick has always been on the difficult side. I’m gonna paint a picture. He would wake up every morning at 6am sharp screaming bloody murder, and I would fly out of bed thinking he fell out of his crib or something. This didn’t change until he was about a year and a half old. EVERY morning. Then as the day progressed, he would become more and more fussy and upset until the climax, (which I sarcastically called fussy time,) from 6-9pm where he would scream and cry inconsolably until he finally wore himself out and fell asleep. I felt so bad for him, (and me,) because nothing I tried to soothe him worked. By the time Nate would come home from work, I would be completely defeated and worn out. A few times I just silently handed Maverick to him, and closed myself into the bedroom to cry alone. Often times my ears wouldn’t stop ringing until an hour or so after Mav fell asleep. He was a hard baby.
I explained this to every other parent and doctor who would listen, in hopes that they would enlighten me as to what my poor lil guy needed from me. Other parents were mostly just surprised by what I was describing. My family and friends were in shock when they witnessed this behavior first hand, and they were at a loss as to how to advise me. The doctors I’m sure just thought that as a new parent, I was just exaggerating. My concern that he only slept at night for about 9 broken hours, when infants should sleep an average of 14-17 hours a day, was eclipsed by the fact that he was perfectly gaining weight, and kudos to me for successfully breastfeeding.
My mom believed that he was afraid to come to this earth, and that he must have gone through hell in his past life. At first I laughed at her because I wanted a more concrete explanation. But now I firmly agree with her because this little boy cried and screamed as if he was terrified all the time. And over the years as I have gained his trust that I will always take care of him, (or kill myself trying,) he has calmed down quite a bit. He still never took a nap during the day until he was 8 months old, and he hardly ever smiled until about 9-10 months old. In fact, the first time I heard his laugh, it scared me because I didn’t identify the sound right away. Here’s the video I took once I got over the shock. He was laughing at the dogs chasing each other around the living room.
Now that I have had a second baby, (my easy-going, sweet sunshine Summerly,) I know for sure that I wasn’t just being dramatic. Every baby is different, and Maverick will always be my sensitive child who needs more from me. So how do I explain that I need things from him too? And how do I discipline and teach such a stubborn and sensitive little soul? I mean, aren’t we all afraid of sending little assholes out into the world? Don’t we all sometimes feel like we have no idea what we’re doing, and we’re definitely going to screw up our kids?
So about two weeks ago, I found myself hiding in my bedroom bawling, literally praying to God for patience and guidance as to how to get through to my three-year-old. And as if the heavens opened up right then, I was reminded of my mommy mission statement. Here it is; I want to raise honest, compassionate and hard working children who know right from wrong and lead with their hearts. This reminded me of the overall goal, and inspired me with ideas of how to get through to him. So my idea was a daily schedule written down with colorful markers and little drawings that list tasks to be completed each hour. The tasks include things like trying to pee pee on the potty. Brushing teeth and hair. After eating breakfast, throw the bowl in the sink. After changing clothes, throw dirty clothes in the hamper. Once we’ve finished the tasks for that hour, he gets to put a sticker on the chart and move on to the next thing.
Getting him involved and having this daily schedule and routine is completely changing his behavior for the better. He knows what’s expected of him and is rewarded for being a helper. I am so relieved. It is also reminding me to choose my battles and approach things one at a time so as to prevent from getting completely overwhelmed, and feeling like a failure. So if anyone has a story to tell about feeling like you suck at being a parent, please share it and maybe we can all reassure each other that as long as we are trying with intentions of love, then we are doing just fine. This sh*t is hard, and kids are crazy little humans.
Here’s more pics of my honey badger