I need a higher power to help me please – I think Lulu will break me!
Even after teaching for over two decades now, I see life through the lens of a mother. No matter how many hours of college lectures and professional workshops over the years transplanted in me an embracing patience and automatic calm to handle any student’s tantrum, I still dreadfully fail to apply the logic to my own child…
I am baffled as to why I can brilliantly handle someone else’s child, but crash when it comes to mine?
Could it be because I am her mother first? Could it be because I am naturally vested in her? Because I am bound to her success – and failures – for life?
I feel lost.
You see, I knew it all when I had my first – life was easy! I laughed in the face of murmuring strangers and friends alike: that parenting was intense and possibly the most difficult thing in the world… How could that be? My baby came into the world smiling, never cried a tear unless communicating she was slightly hungry, always a twinkle in her eye. She listened to my soft whispers as if they were commands. Potty was a fun weekend project, mommy and daddy were bosses of the house and time out corner at the bottom of the staircase away from the family was torture for her.
Then came her little sister.
And overnight, those bits of daunting advice lingering from years ago came back to haunt me. I understood every bit of their universal parenting frustration and woe.
Lulu barely slept a full night for her first three years of life. The mornings after her nightly colic episodes felt as if I was waking from horrid nightmares. The consistent “no”, intense grumblings – being peevish turned from cheeky early words to complete crabbiness. If Lulu does not get what she wants, she cries. If Lulu isn’t first in line, she pushes. If Lulu doesn’t like what you say, she will just say no and stick to it until you are blue in the face –yes – I have turned blue plenty of times!
What am I to do? I have an irritable child, and there is not much I could control.
Is my child’s defiance and oppositional behavior something that is truly bad? Of course it is – at least that’s what we learn about in Teachers’ College. Saying “no” to a teacher or your mother and father is frowned upon. Not listening and adhering to the rules whether in class or at home is unacceptable and should be reprimanded.
I fear kindergarten.
Well, now she’s five. And all those textbooks promised me – RESEARCH promised – that logic at pre-kindergarten kicks into full gear and that irrational tantrums will become a thing of the past.
She’s 5 and 3.1 weeks old now… I’m still waiting for logic.
I absolutely love this Times Magazine article by Donna Gorman. It lowered my anxiety for a couple of minutes :0)