Even when he is constantly (read: CONSTANTLY) testing me and pushing me and battling me all. day. long., I always look forward to Kindermusik Thursdays. It's our, guaranteed, once-a-week date for me and the boy. It's where he and I go and dance our asses off for 45 minutes and then grab some lunch together. It always leaves me feeling so, so proud of him and empties my cup a little so that I don't implode.
Today was a shit sandwich.
A couple weeks ago he started doing this thing where, if told No or didn't get what he wanted, he'd swat the air to let us know he's mad and, beginning about a week ago, he started actually trying to slap us. Of course, this is squashed every single time. There's no way on God's green Earth I will ever raise a child that thinks that kind of behavior's acceptable. This is not my child. This is not who I've been raising.
I'm not really sure where he got that action from either. Obviously, it's not like Gary and I are rough with him. We verbalize what's wrong and what's right and never, ever reward bad behavior. I'm chocking it up to this year of two....which is seriously fucking up my day.
Anyway, so we're at Kindermusik and any passing breeze that doesn't suit his fancy, he's pissed. I take him out of the group for a few minutes, in our own little corner, and talk with him. He tries to slap me. Again and again and again. I, of course, am letting him know this is not acceptable. I'm giving him the stern mama voice and the look that ......that really means shit at this age. And, because why wouldn't this happen, some mom in the group is, like, watching as we go through this. I don't care where we are on planet Earth. If this kid of mine needs a talking to, he's going to get it. Disciplining will always take priority over the thoughts of those who may be watching.
We left there, I burst into tears, and cried all the way home. I just can't deal. Even thinking about all this now, my tears are coming. Needless to say, we didn't grab lunch.
Which brings me to next point, if you're going to judge someone's parenting, don't. Anyone who may judge the fact that I'm not letting my two year old become a tyrant---by talking to him and stopping inappropriate actions in their tracks---hasn't lived in this house the past couple weeks. They haven't plastered a smile on so they don't go batshitcrazy; They aren't at the end of their rope---which makes it so much easier to judge someone else when you feel fine; They haven't battled a toddler, with whom rationalization isn't a possibility, day in and day out. But, know what gets me the most? Although some get it, most people are not in my situation. They aren't a few months into living in a new area, with no solid friend base, with zero family around, and with a husband who can't just take a day off if need be. And, I don't really give a shit if it sounds like I'm saying 'woe is me'. I am wildly jealous of my friends who get to live near familiar surroundings. Is it their fault Gary and I are where we are? Absolutely not. Should they utilize the good aspects of their surroundings? Of course. It's just so completely difficult to feel like I'm on an island sometimes. I would, without hesitation, give my left arm to have my mom live ANYWHERE in the state of Colorado. I need a break.
A short time ago, I commented on a blog about sleep training and said that I showed Jake his crib at a month old. Again, I was without any family around, Gary was away training, and I had a one-month old I could not make happy. I was losing it because I, as a first time mom, thought I was doing wrong by him somehow, instead of just knowing that that's how it goes with a newborn sometimes. Someone commented after me and implied how horrible I was for doing so. I didn't want to look like an idiot for engaging someone behind a computer screen, so I bowed out. But, I wanted so badly to ask, "Who the fuck are you to judge me?" I was, literally, alone, could not be on the phone with my mom constantly, and didn't know what I was doing "wrong".
Of course, I never let him go without the essentials; Of course, I'd never, ever let him cry for any extended periods. But, I needed to lay him down for a bit so I could leave the room and regroup. Because, ya know, my situation isn't a terribly common one (although, I'm not in any way insinuating I stand alone in this "club") we all do what we have to to get by. There's not one ounce of shame in that. And, wouldn't you know it? One of the times I laid him down to take a breather he fell asleep. For two hours. And, I was a completely different woman after that. A nice shower, some clean laundry and a kid who was nowhere near ruined because I recognized that I needed to regroup.
My point is that this shit is hard. It's like adding insult to injury being here alone. I love Colorado. I love seeing different part of the country because of where the Army sends us. But, in times like these, where the lady at the Starbucks drive thru (because I still wanted my lunch) holds my hand for a sec and says, "I hope you're ok" and the gate guard letting me on post says, after seeing my wet eyes and tear-stained cheeks, with genuine care, "I hope you have a great day" I just wish I could drive over to my mom's house, drop off Jake, and take a second to get out of this seventh circle of Hell.
I know it'll pass and I know it'll be ok. But, it's really hard to just feel like I'm down and Jake just won't stop kicking. I'm dying to enjoy him again. It feels like it's been eternity since our usual good days. These days don't come often, but when they do...holy shit. It just makes me feel nervous and anxious, as opposed to the usually confident, about Gary leaving for training in a little bit and then a deployment a little bit after that.
So, if you ever consider judging another mom who isn't calm, cool, and collected, don't even dare. You never know what their day's been like.