Tuesday, May 26, 2009

sound and fury signifying pancakes

Because he was eating bananas for the first time, and they're related to platanos, which are plantains, and Gwen Stefani sings that song,
and am I just talking to myself here?

Let me give you a little object lesson in anger management.

I have a toddler. Therefore, I have anger issues.

It's simply a part of parenthood.

When you're young or pregnant or naive or all three, you think, "Wow, I get to help a little person explore their world and learn and grow. I'm going to teach them, and they're going to gaze with wonder at the beauty of life. Kumbaya!"

And then you realize that "exploring their world" involves a tube of blue toothpaste, an overflowing sink stopped up with paper towels, and 7 different pairs of pants a day. They don't listen. They don't have impulse control. They can't focus. They don't respond immediately to words like "no" or "stop" or "the power of Christ compels you".

They are constantly moving, gnawing, asking, singing, drooling, booger-picking, egocentric little monsters with the emotional understanding of a pissed off porcupine on meth.

And that's okay, because that's how they're wired. That is, in fact, how they learn.

But for the parent, it's intensely aggravating.

So the Biscuit's latest interest is the bathroom sink. She can finally hoist her little body up far enough to turn the knobs and wash her hands. And while I know that water exploration is very normal for toddlers, I don't really like it when she puts the stopper down and floods the bathroom while i'm nursing a sleeping baby.

So today, I thought i'd try something different. I planned to get LOUD. When I heard the sink running, I yelled from 20 feet away under the (instantly awakened) baby, "GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM, NOW!!"

So she closed the door and kept playing.

I had to get LOUDER if I was going to get her attention.

So I picked up the howling baby, stomped to the bathroom, turned off the sink, hollered, "GET! OUT! NOW!", and slammed the door.

And then all the artwork fell off the bathroom wall, the ceramic bird shattered, and the fan cover fell off the ceiling.

Yeah, that got her attention.

Her face was immediately a snot-covered, tear-spurting mess, and she howled, "That yelling hurts me!" like I had put a foghorn to a bullhorn to her hearing aid.

Did she actually connect this painfully loud display with playing in the sink and how she should totally not do that? I have no idea. But I have a broken objet d'art, and this lovely consequence of my own clever parenting.

A little chunk of ceramic bird stuck in my hand, making me bleed all over her strawberry shirt.


I'm not going to go into my feelings about discipline. I've never been an angry person, and i've never had a reason or a need to express this sort of anger before. I honestly don't think i've ever done anything as difficult and as frustrating as raising a toddler.

So why did I share this story with you? Because it's funny and sad and totally normal. Because I want to offer up my anger to the ether, to find catharsis in writing it and remembering it. And to let you know that even after a scene like that one, we were hugging and playing hide and seek 5 minutes later, and eating pancakes 20 minutes later.

If nature made toddlers the most frustrating creatures on earth, it also made them the most forgiving.

A pancake covered with syrup helps.


Virginia Valerie said...

Woowee! I admire you!

Kudos to your sanity for staying with you!

MindfulMama said...

I wrote on my blog one time that if you didn't understand how one could feel complete rage toward a child, you obviously don't have a child past the age of 2. They do it to you, eh?

Caroline D. said...

seriously? ROTFL. I'm familiar with that particular brand of anger...

fun hanging out with you guys today!

Leslie said...

AND IT'S ALL COMPLETELY NORMAL... This from a mother of 4 who was on first name basis with the plumber, the carpenter and the ER staff...

Jennifer said...

Totally agree with MM. Today was not a good day at our house either. I'm so ready to get past 2 and 3 and into some slightly easier to deal with stages.


Maggi said...

This is why I've decided that Toot should stay 7 months old forever. Hey, I can dream right?

charissimo said...

Preach it, sister.

kristin said...

ah, I love posts like this...reminds me that I'm not alone in the great toddler challenge...

katiri said...

but, Jen, there are only so many years of not-toddler until . . . puberty.

Dawn in Austin said...

Just stopped in for a visit (from Bossy's). You crack me up and I feel for you, I really do. I had toddlers once. A long time ago. I thought I missed them. Now I don't. I hear that being a grandma of a toddler is way different. I'm not a grandma,yet- (you hear me, kids??) but I'll let you know if its all worth it. Until then, hang in there, they really do grow up. And much too fast, I might add.

Beth said...

Lovin' your blog... I don't know how I found it, but I did. This made me feel a little more normal... my rage generally hits once a month. Seriously. Head spinning, green puke spewing rage.

I also slammed a door once (angry at disobedient kids), which resulted in a broken stained glass window that my hubby had made me. Grrrrr.