This afternoon was not one of my finest moments in parenting. Gigi had gone down for a nap and Connor, who had decided an hour earlier to refuse every option I presented him with for lunch, had finally decided that he wanted to eat. So, he sat down and I, of course, gave him lunch. He said he wanted turkey. I got him a few slices of turkey and started to cut some grapes for him. He ate a bite and asked for cheese. I asked him to eat a little more of his turkey as I finished cutting his fruit and I would get him some cheese as soon as I was finished. That initiated the desire to play with his turkey.
…I asked him to stop…He thought this was funny…I asked him to stop again… He threw a piece in the air…I told him that was enough and sternly told him that we don’t play with our food…His response was to push all of his food directly onto the floor. This also included the glass bowl I had on the table with my lunch in, which of course shattered into about five million and two pieces.
I lost it. I yelled a very frustrated and loud “uggggghhhhh”. This scared Connor and he started to cry. I swear, when he cries it’s like he has a megaphone attached to his mouth, he has an obnoxiously loud cry. This crying of his, of course, woke up his sister.
Anyways, while trying to clean up before picking up Gigi, he tried to come over to me for a hug. I was still fuming and trying to clean up glass, turkey, grapes and yogurt off my kitchen floor and I looked at him and said,in my scary mom voice, that he needed to go in the other room. He decided it was best not to listen. I told him not to take another step and as he proceeded to move towards me I yelled again, “Go in the other room!!”. It was loud, again. I scared him, again. So, he ran in the other room sobbing hysterically.
After everything was cleaned up, which was no easy feat, I went to get Gigi. By the time I got her, changed her diaper and came back into the living room, Connor was settled on the couch looking at one his books. He had obviously calmed down and I had obviously calmed down. I knew I responded poorly to the situation and my heart hurt for the way I had exploded at him. It made me more upset to think of the look on his face before he ran out of the kitchen. So, I asked him if I could have a hug. He got up off the couch and ran towards me giggling…like nothing ever happened.
Now, let’s stop here for a minute. I yelled, I know it’s not like I did anything terribly wrong with my child. However, it bothered me because this is what I have worked so hard at not doing with my kids. Yes, I will reprimand them. Yes, I will be the parent. Yes, he needed to know that I was serious and walking near glass was not an option. And yes, he also needed to know that despite getting angry and not having my finest moment that I would not hurt him and I would continue to love him.
And…he asked me to read him a book. So, all three of sat down and we read.
These toddler years man, the struggle is real. We can go from a moment of pure joy where everyone is behaving to a meltdown or blatant disregard for what I have asked or said. I know, I know. He is two years old. Most of the time I remind myself of this in the situation and correct it calmly and get him to understand without flipping my lid, but this time I didn’t. This time I yelled, I screamed, actually. The situation was probably blow a little out of proportion and for his sake and for mine, I asked him to give me a hug and I told him I loved him as I squeezed him tight.
Here’s the thing – we make mistakes. My mistakes are different from yours, that I am sure of. But these children of ours, they are such a beautiful gift, programmed to love unconditionally. They don’t need us to be perfect. They just need us to be us and they need to trust us. Connor ran out of the room crying and scared because he doesn’t hear yelling like that very often. Less than 15 minutes later he was able to come and give me a hug and continue on because he knows my love for him is real and goes beyond any anger over broken bowls and food on the floor.
So, we continue on in the wild world of parenting knowing that we will make mistakes but that we try again tomorrow.