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Have you ever found yourself so upset that you do something absolutely crazy… like weeding your garden?
Okay, well, it’s crazy for me at least.
I hate weeding. I don’t even know why I keep planting things anyway. I have no green thumb, but yet every Spring I’m out there planting something. Vegetables, flowers, herbs, you name it.
Today I found myself so emotionally spent at the expense of my 2-year-old son that I needed a mommy time-out. My husband has a new schedule where he’s not around to help out on weekends anymore.
But it’s Sunday. Church day. I love being able to worship God with other believers. And I love that there is a program for kids so my son is with other toddlers, playing, singing, and coloring cute little pictures that I will probably never bring myself to throw out.
Most people love a good after-party. That’s the part I dread. The what-mood-will-my-son-be-in-when-I-pick-him-up-and-he-has-to-leave-church-part. Yes, I said that all in one breath… because sometimes that’s all I feel I have left.
Today’s drama was brought to me by the fact that he didn’t get to play after church with a 7-year-old boy he sees as his best friend. He’s the sweetest kid who will walk my little man to his classroom some Sundays. He always takes time to be extra nice to my son even though there’s such a big age gap.
But today we needed to run errands. Wrangling him to the car is tough. He thinks he’s the big man on campus, but with so many people I need him to hold Mommy’s hand when there’s a crowd. No dice.
After reminding him many times, I ended up just picking him up. Case closed, right? Wrong.
Almost immediately, he decided to bite my arm. I kid you not, a blue and purple welt started to appear almost as soon as his teeth left my flesh. Not to end there, he completed the act with a bite to kick to “Hulk Smash” hit trifecta with a couple screams thrown in for good measure.
I’m told that:
- this is normal toddler behavior
- he’ll get over it
- not to let it get to me
- he’s too young to understand
- this is just a phase
What no one does tell you is that you can be patient, calm, rational, and do everything right according to the experts, and this still happens. What no one tells you is that it’s difficult not to take this repetition personally.
As soon as we arrived home, he got sent to his room to calm down for a time out and I got sent outside for a Mommy time-out. We both got Time-Outs. His was in air-conditioning, surrounded by books and toys. Mine was in 97 degree weather doing a chore I despise. But the physical act of pulling weeds gave me a chance to let out my frustrations on the overgrowth trying to strangle my butterfly bushes. Sweat mixed with tears as I released my frustrations in the heat.
Just a couple of minutes later I was done with the job at hand and my anger. Washing my hands in the bathroom sink, I could hear my son happily “reading” his favorite story down the hall. The moment already done and forgotten, he greets me with a cheerful, Hi Momma, and I know I’ve already forgiven him as I smile at the way his eyes squint tightly as he grins at the Mom he adores.
“Momma, wanna sing our song?” He refers to one we learned from PBS’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and frequently recite in our home. “Take a deep breath (inhale) and let it go (exhale). Just let it go, Momma.”
Let it go indeed.
All in the life of a strong-willed child.