Today I took a trip to Chapter's to decompress as it were and I found myself in the toddler/preschool parent help aisle with other bleary eyed parents looking for anything that would magically give me a solution to help me deal with the monumental tantrum bender that my three and a half year has been on for the last five days.
When he goes into these complete meltdowns he is barely the child I know and love. He yells, screams, throws things, hits, says 'i hate you', 'i don't love you','get out', 'go away' and I am left with the feeling that I have utterly failed as a parent. I know all the experts say don't take it personally but I'm not a robot and words do hurt even when being hurled at you in the throws of a preschool aged tantrum.
The only quote I can away with today that I totally related to was 'I feel like I was a more successful parent before I had children.' [forgive me I can't remember where the quote came from...I went through a lot of books today]. It's true I do. I thought the 'terrible two' were hard but the 3's and 4's are going to kill me I think [OK not literally but you get my overly dramatic point].
I know most parents go though this and for those who don't have kids with any behaviour/temperament issues then I raise a glass of Baby Duck to you. I envy you, even if I think you're lying about your perfectly behaved child [see I have become so damn jaded].
So I'm at a loss. Is it just a spirited child who just doesn't like the word 'no' or is it something more?
I have read everything from give your child Omega 3/fish oil capsules to homeopathic syrups that calm even the most agitated child. Is a change in diet needed? Is it an allergy? Should I ban all sugar from his diet? No ice cream, no chocolate?
I guess I am finding it hard to balance the reality that he is just acting like a normal kid his age to my mind reeling with information overload that there is something not all kosher with the situation. And that scares me...like anxiety/panic attacks scares me.
I've cried more in these last three months than I have since he was born...I guess this is part of my personality that thrives on order and the well mastered plan. And I just can't wrap my head around the fact that parenting is far from a well mastered plan. Every kid is different as is every 'solution'. What works for kid A does not necessarily work for kid B. So no blanket solution, no magic pill.
As I write this my three and a half year old is serving out the end of his day long punishment by going to bed without having his bedtime books read to him by me...and it's killing me. I freely admit that...the follow through is the worst of it for me. And today I followed through on everything...I took toys away, the TV shows and computer time. And I feel like a total ass for doing it. But I also no that empty threats are the worst.
So will he hate me tomorrow? Will he resent me? Probably.
But it's a clean slate.
At least that is something to look forward to in the never ending drama that is the preschool years. Right?