My mum used to say to me “I’m going to sell you and buy a mangle”. So you can imagine, I knew what a mangle was from a very young age!
I have had similar feelings about my two and a half year old this week but I have resisted from mentioning Victorian drying implements as a threat and have, instead, opted to spend a lot of time muttering, looking cross and telling his father to deal with him. Pathetic I know.
I blogged about The Monster and my troubles with him before and we appear to have hit another pot hole in the whole Mother-Son bonding malarkey. In fact a pothole is understating it a bit, it’s a meteor crevice. I love him to bits, but right now, I don’t like him very much.
It all started on Friday when he just kept being naughty. He seemed to take great joy in being naughty. Naughty to me, to his sister, throwing things, getting annoyed. Several trips to the step and he’d be alright again for about 10 minutes and then something else would happen. It got to the stage where I was just talking in a steady stream of discipline to him and I felt awful. So just before bed I took him aside to talk to him about why I was upset and he just misbehaved a bit more. He has no problem making eye contact with me and is very good at understanding emotion, but he decided to look at the ceiling, making silly noises rather than look at me. Then he wouldn’t listen to me and every so often just laughed in a hysterical way. Talk about winding me up!
I closed the day on Friday, looked forward to Saturday and the hope we would move on. He was still troublesome, ending with him screaming by the end of the evening, refusing to brush his teeth, generally ignoring his bedtime routine and flouting all the rules. Exasperated!
On Sunday we went ice skating (it was Pickle’s Joy Jar entry) and The Monster was doing ok. He got ice skates on, and initially went on the ice. Unfortunately the ice rink was being halved with barriers and as 3 of the 4 of us were beginners/novices we couldn’t skate quick enough to nip across, so we had to get off the ice and walk around to get back onto the ice rink again. The Monster didn’t like this. He screamed getting off the ice, wouldn’t get back on it again. Every time we had convinced him to go on, he’d kick his feet out and you were left holding him up, his bottom inches from the ice. He wouldn’t use the ice penguin to hold on to, wouldn’t hold your hand and hubby got too far around to be able to turn back and had to carry him (which he got into trouble for doing by the staff). So The Monster had to be supervised in the stands, occasionally walking on his skates, mostly crying, screaming and tantruming – for nearly 90 minutes!!
Thankfully, the day, on the whole was brilliant because my daughter loved every second of it. Had never ice skated before, but loved it. Her daddy and her are already making plans to come again in half term, whilst The Monster is in nursery.
Meanwhile I took The Monster to have his nappy changed and he was…….well…….horrendous! Refused to get undressed, then when I’d managed to do that, he wouldn’t let me put another nappy on. Kicking, hitting, screaming, I needed to wrestle him to get it on. Bearing in mind we were on a changing table, so half my job was ensuring he didn’t fall head first off it. I was so angry at one stage, I grabbed his face to look at it and talk to him to try to get him to calm down. I practically (I didn’t) threw him off the changing table when I had finally managed to get him dressed through the kicks, plopped him on the floor and walked out of the baby change room to take some deep breaths. He stopped crying and stood there unsure of what his next move was. Eventually wandering out to check I was nearby and then wandering back in the room again.
I really wanted to put him on Ebay. I wouldn’t have even sold him to the highest bidder!
The rest of the day I left hubby in charge. He’d upset me so much I had gone for a quiet cry in the loos and he had his nap on the car journey back, which gave me some respite. We then went to an art fair and he was ok throughout until we got the cafe where he started throwing things again and pulling angry faces at us. Awful.
I know it’s still a language issue for him, but he has a very good understanding of what we say and how we feel. I’m very conscious that at the moment he’s the “naughty one” whilst Pickle is “The good one” and I don’t want it to be like that. I praise him when he’s good and try desperately to ignore bad behaviour, but it’s often so bad it would be wrong to ignore.
I have thought about buying books on raising boys, but have been dipping in and out of the book by Cordelia Fine called “Delusions of Gender” and so many studies are shown that we really aren’t that different and by treating genders differently we are setting up stereotypes from the get go, I really don’t want to do that. However, he IS different to my daughter. Maybe it is personality though. Maybe I need to find a book that sits somewhere between my book and the book about raising boys. I really don’t know.
All I really know is that raising The Monster is hard work at the moment and I’m really sad about it. I don’t want to sell him, really. I don’t even want to joke about him being faulty or needing new programming. He’s not faulty, he’s challenging. The problem is that I need a game plan to cope with it and I’m not sure where to look for it.