When Jessie was a baby she was my first and a really well balanced "good" baby. She slept all night long ( most of the time ), she was pleasant, easy going, mild mannered....an all round "easy" kid. She still is today. Sure, she has her moments, but she aims to please, she is kind, considerate, helpful, generous and concerned about the happiness and well being of those around her. I'm happy to say that, even as a new parent, I knew it wasn't all my doing!! I would tell people "It's not ME, it's her!! She's a really good baby / child....." but still, it is and was easy to be fooled, lulled perhaps, into thinking that your parenting technique must be rocking since your child is So. Damn. Good.
Then we had Jack.
He is a sweet, nice little boy. Unless he's not. He slept 23 out of 24 hours and we had to feed him constantly. He started out weak and low tone, he is now strong enough to knock myself and my husband off our feet. We know. He's done it. He is strong willed and strong bodied. If he doesn't want to walk any more, then hey, he's going to sit. It could be right in the middle of the road mind you. My husband has pulled a tendon in his arm and muscles in his back trying to lift / manhandle him into crossing the street. Jack loves animals..... we think. He MAY be trying to play with the puppy when he lifts her off the floor by her leash..... he COULD just be trying to play with the cat when he chases her off the bed with a baseball bat..... the fact he has a laugh that sounds like the villain on any cartoon could be deceptive..... We're SURE he loves his big sister..... he does hug her and pats her back gently..... he also throws her to the floor and sits on her, steals her toys, steals her food, screams and yells at her and beats her about the face and body..... but we are sure they can work it out..... right??
I've yet to find anyone who can show me how to parent my son in an AP manner that "respects him as a person" yet also has him remain at the table to eat, keep his feet out his food, not harm the pets, not hurt his family members, not throw and break things, run off in stores and scream in anger...... I've been told I need to "respect" my son. I've been told that I need not have rules, but rather should treat him as I would my husband and my friends...... I've been told to show patience and understanding, sympathy, regard...... believe it or not, I have tried all these things!! These Things Do Not Work. Jack does not respond to those things. Jack is not driven to make others happy or to please those around him. Jack, although honestly a lovely boy, has moments that would try any parent. Some days are made up of only these moments. These are the days where I collapse in tears of frustration and anger, disappointment and fatigue. These are the days that scare my children and my husband to the point of tears of their own. These are the days I wish for Valium / the Bahamas / a coma. These are the days I regret being a parent. I regret being a mother. I regret being alive. Thankfully they don't last long and they don't happen often. One happened yesterday.
Today is a new day. Last night ended on a loving, happy and peaceful note. We all moved forward with a new purpose. The ice was thin and fragile, but will hold. Each hour that passes adds a thicker layer to the first. Today, again, I seek answers. I seek advice and love and understanding from those who are on the front lines with me. Those with "easy" kids need not apply. I'm happy you can take your children to the store / to a restaurant / to a gas station bathroom and people compliment YOU on the behaviour of your children. I know what that is like, it happened to me once too....... if, however, you are struggling like me and you see me trying to cajole/ encourage/ bribe/ drag my son... please meet my eyes. Look at me with a smile and understanding, perhaps even give me a thumbs up! I'm doing what I can and I keep telling myself that each day is getting easier....each loooong loooong day...........