When What You’re Doing As A Parent Just Isn’t Working
Yesterday was a pretty awful day. For both Bella and I.
6:30am I got woken up. Then came the meltdowns. She is teething something fierce. So hours of the day are spent whining for nothing. “Plee? Plee? Pleedada?” (all one word as Sam taught her to say please and that’s how she understands it) This was in between sobs and tantrums and I could get nothing done. She didn’t want to be held, left alone, changed, anything. Just lots o’ whining.
I honestly thought my head might explode for reals.
Right before lunch, she entered disaster mode. Full on screaming, horrific snotting, and gasping for air while banging on her chest signing “Please” as I tried to understand what on earth she wanted. Turns out?
Nothing. She didn’t even know. Tylenol, teething rings, games, stories – nothing.
Finally, about to really lose it and knowing I was not going to let myself get there, I had the thought, “If I were the nanny, what would I do?”
Because it was a lot easier for me to deal with a child that wasn’t mine. Let me tell you. I would have slapped myself right then and there if I were my own nanny watching this mess take place. I knew what I would have done with any other child.
So without any more talk, I turned around, went into the living room, picked up Cooking Light and sat down to read it without even glancing at Bella.
I swear the neighbors probably were thinking, “There’s that horrible mom, beating her child again.” But I just sat there, letting the guilt and thoughts of, “What if something is really wrong?” roll off me as I reminded myself she was fine, nothing was wrong, and I wasn’t going to give in.
It was so hard. No lie, every fiber of my body wanted to get up again, go in her room again, try to coax her into playing/dancing/reading/anything. Which she didn’t want.
After just a few minutes of her standing next to me with ear piercing shrieks, Bella did something unexpected. She stopped screaming and crying, watched me, climbed up on my lap, cuddled (which like, never happens) and read the magazine with me. We pointed out the dogs, the different foods, the people. She got to turn the pages and we giggled at things that looked funny.
For those of you reading who are heavily into gentle/attachment parenting, you may think this is way off base. But really – it’s not. To me, this was the most loving thing I could have done in the situation I kept finding myself in. I knew I was going to lose it, and I felt that urge to snap. There was no way to keep up hours, days really, of letting her do this over and over. Not healthy for her, not healthy for me. Were there other things I could have done? Maybe. But at that moment, by taking myself out of the situation and doing something totally opposite of what I usually did, there was peace. The rest of the day had it’s ups and downs, but I felt a little more confident and at ease knowing I could handle a situation in a different way – and no one would die or be neglected from it.
My choice ended up with her and I having what we wanted – the love and time of each other. We just needed to take a different path to get there.