Friday, January 16, 2009

Little Mr. My Way

He wouldn't stop crying.

They were painful sobs. Building deep in his stomach, they made his body shake like a shack in Category 5 hurricane winds. Wails exploded from his lips in waves, washing over my ears and rattling my sleep-addled brain.

How could someone so small express so much rage?

I tried to comfort him, but he wasn't having it. "Naaah" he screamed, using two of his fists to push me away from his forehead as I tried to plant a soothing kiss. He squirmed in my arms like an agitated housecat, clawing, kicking and screaming.

It was a full-blown tantrum, the type of thing that used to be unusual, but has become increasingly familiar. I watched in awe as the little boy who two hours ago rushed across a room just to hug my legs, now didn't even want to be in the same room with me. As he screamed, it was clear that I was no comfort to him, and he would prefer if I found somebody else to annoy.

Welcome to the world of raising a toddler, I thought to myself.

Welcome indeed.

They say that there is no joy like the joy of being a parent. They are right. But, what they don't say, I guess because it might mean the end of the human race, is that there is no pain like the pain of child rearing.

What pain can compare to watching a little person you have sacrificed for and who you love to death, blithely hurt your feelings with no remorse and no understanding of what they've done? And, it's only supposed to get worse as children get older. I'm not whining and my world wasn't crushed, but it did make me think.

Once again, I came to grips with the fact that it's my responsibility to mold another human being. This topic has been creeping into my mind lately as my oldest son approaches the terrible twos and I prepare to welcome another baby to the fold. The article I linked to above discusses that topic as well.

I've begun to reassess all the personality failings I and my wife possess and, honest to God, I'm beginning to wonder if there is any way I won't screw these kids up forever. Basically, God is going to have to step in soon, or I expect things to get really ugly.

In addition, I'm not dealing with some wilted flower, I'm dealing with a defiant, opinionated smaller version of myself. When I watch him casually swat my hand away, or stare into my eyes when I correct him, I can almost feel how my parents must have felt when I recklessly told them "you're not the boss of me."

Lord help me...

Nah, the Lord better help him because I'm about to start beating that ass.



blackgirlinmaine said...

I feel your pain, my girl is 3 and thankfully the tantrums are starting to let up but its been a journey. All I can say is take a deep breath.

Salsa said...

At the first tantrum, grab child by the arm firmly and make sure they are looking you in the eyes and with the wildest, most insane look you can muster, tell them that if they even think about falling out, you will smack them so hard their nose will bleed. If it works, you will only have to do this once. After that, a stern look will dispel any future thoughts of throwing a tantrum.

Big Man said...


What if he calls my bluff?

Do I still smack him that hard?

'Cause my little man will call my bluff. He's that bold.

Man, that little sucker is cute though. This morning he's all sweet and cuddly, playing games, laughing, just being a wonderful baby. Children are devious.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

it is no joy like being a parent - like dickens best and worset of times

just wanted 2 say have a wonderful 2009 folk

Deacon Blue said...

Been there, Big Man. Feel you on this.

Little Girl Blue is the kind who will call a bluff too. I'm been able to ease up on the threats, but I have been able to avoid spanking thus far. I discovered what her weakness is (her stuff) and when things get really rough, I threaten to throw away a Dora or Diego or Barney DVD. When she's called my on it, I do indeed relieve her of one, and it never gets replaced with a new one...ever. Still feels crummy, but I think I'd feel crummier if I whooped her.

Discipline and order are tough to maintain, but you can do it without screwing the kid up...and to some extent, they NEED to her that they aren't the boss of us. Because it's true. Whether we like it or not.

And in the end, for me, those joyful moments always feel nicer than the bad moments feel rotten.

jelana said...

I'm with Salsa on this. You survived
spankings and so will your children

Imhotep said...

Big Man, Whop dat ass! Yea! you're the boss of them, there can be no equivocation of that point.

You always referring to the bible on matters, bible is pretty clear on rod v. child. I don't see the confusion.

Deacon Blue said...

When I think of the biblical "spare the rod, spoil the child" sentiment, I focus on the fact that we can't ignore the need to use the rod...but at the same time, I think it is wise to avoid going there if you can.

Also, the rod doesn't always have to be literal...nor even physical in nature. Exerting parental control is necessary, but there are ways in addition to the physical to do it.

Just my two cents. We may survive spankings, but I think that some people rely on them too much, and that can bring its own share of problems. Kids are complex; we need to have more creativity in our punishments than merely tanning their asses, IMHO.

The Ink said...

I believe the FEAR of an ass whoopin is a far more productive deterrent than an ACTUAL ass whoopin.

Producing the fear of an ass whoopin requires you to explain to a child WHY he is getting whooped and what specifically takes place to bring said ass whoopin on.

My sons know EXACTLY what is is that will prompt a swift Smiting and they avoid those things like the plague.

They know exactly what takes me there because i never just hit my kids...i explain to them what is going to happen and then why.

as they get older....they know more and more what i expect from them and why.

Dirty Red said...

I feel ya too man. I don't have a child yet, but I have helped raise my nephew. The stern look works and also a good firm pat on that ass 2 or 3 times does the trick too.

Lolo said...

Well, I've laid on some buttsmacks and really it didn't work. For any of us. Then again, they probably knew that I was conflicted about it and so it just whipsawed around and hurt me most.

I've found that just plain old outwitting them does the job better, in our case. One example ~I used to keep a little bottle of hot sauce handy, at all times, and when the sass got out of hand I would administer a drop or more on the tongue. No access to any relief but just eye to eye contact.

Now my oldest? He decided that he actually enjoyed that heat so I had to get even more creative. My youngest? I don't think I ever had to use it more than ten times and the judicious reminder that I had some right in my purse was enough to put the brakes on a few breakouts.

Good luck.

Raving Black Lunatic