Friday, December 02, 2005

Confessions of a mom

I have lost count on how many times I have wanted to throttle my child. I don't mean that euphemistically.

Dinks is going to be three on 12/11 and I want to buy a shirt that says "I survived the terrible twos".

No lie, at least once a week, she and I would get into shouting matches.

I'd tell her to do something and she would say "no". I'd tell her again and she would be defiant. My voice would raise. She would start to cry AND NOT STOP! And still not do what she is told!

That's when a little switch in my skull would click and I would find myself wanting to do something, anything, to make the child stop crying and have her do what she was told. It is not a pretty sight and it's really quite frightening. Here is an adult about to go completely insane because someone will not listen to reason. But not just any someone, a little girl not even three who is the mother's own flesh and blood. I'd be a liar if I said I never spanked her. But she is still in diapers so hitting the butt causes little to no effect. So you go for the unprotected areas (I.E., the hands, arms, feet, legs, back of head, etc). The crying doesn't stop but increases because now the poor child is terrified. You are about to lose your mind and think of quick and easy remedies to bring control back to your world regardless of consequences.

Thank God, each time, I was able to walk away, take a ten to twenty second breather, and go back. By then, Dinks is usually doing the heavy sob breathing thing and puts her arms up for a hug. She gets scooped and cuddled for however long time will allow. Now you have a parent who feels like hell after what just happened and a child who feels both scared and comforted by their parent. The match is over - neither side won.

Why am I telling you this?

I just read (and finally stopped crying over) the story of little
Kelsey Briggs. And little Sarah Chavez. And little Hannah Williams. Lord knows this is just a smattering of the death related child abuse stories out there. But one thing that caught my eye was the ages of these children. They were all two years old.

The terrible two age. The age when a child is testing his/her boundaries of what control "they" have over their little world. And we as adult survivors of this age just don't get why the kid is being such a pain in the butt. And sometimes, we lose control.

Am I siding with the abusers? Hell no! You are still bigger than the defenseless child and we adults should have more common sense.

What I am trying to draw attention to is the "terrible twos" and how terrible they really can be on the parent. We hear so much about postpartum depression being a factor in abuse cases with infants. The upside of this is the tons of literature, medication, and support groups there are for this syndrome. But what of parents with toddlers? Where is OUR specified needs support group? Is it that we are pushing our kids to grow-up so fast that we think they should be mentally capable of handling their emotions at two? As you can sense, this is a rather touchy open nerve subject with me.

Kelsey Briggs photo is on my sidebar and shall remain there indefinitely. It serves as a link to her memorial site.

If she was born for any purpose, let it be a way to generate support groups for parents and step-parents of toddlers who need help. I am talking specific help on how to deal with everyday life and raising a toddler. All two to three year olds are defiant to a degree, and parents need to learn to let that happen regardless of how big a crimp it puts in their day. Just trying to handle the situation as if you are dealing with another adult could have devastating or deadly effects. No child should die at the hands of those who are there to protect them.

Though she suffered greatly, she was born with a purpose. Don't let that purpose slip to the side with yesterday's headlines.

Note: I will be putting links on my site at a later date that go to various child abuse prevention sites. This is one issue I feel strongly about.

Looking at that last sentence, is that proper English?


Rowan said...

couldn't agree with you more and I personally appreciated your completely honest approach.

Belinda said...

Oh, my gosh, my cosmic mate. Read my entry today on how my (just-turned-three) daughter is trying to do me in via gradual matricide!

I think we all have those microsecond "flashes" where we get a glimpse of how it could happen...but oh, the horror. I don't even like to say "no." Argh.

And I think, "...about which I feel strongly." But it's the message that counts, not the syntax, right?

PissedOffPencil said...

LittleAngel is approaching her second year and I'm actually quite happy about it. Yes, it can be a complete hell but it's also, from my point of view, the first occassion where the child is testing the bond. It's important that they do that and get confirmed that it won't break even though he/she is behaving bad.

Dinks is your first and she will be the toughest to cope with since you have no previous experience. (Siblings and baby sitting doesn't count as experience) She's the one that's going to make you cry the most about, shout the most at and give you the experience you need, should you decide to have more children.

For us it was the same. To cope with the "wonderful two's" got easier for every child but poor LazyWorm took a lot of shouting.

About that last sentence... how would I know? :)

Sangroncito said...

Thoughtful post about a painful subject. I used to be director of a child development center for low-income and homeless kids so I saw lots of abuse....very disturbing and not easily forgotten.

Virginia Gal said...

I was wondering who that cute kid was on the side. That is so sad...yes kids are frustrating (I use to work in daycare) I have a feeling there is never a time when they are NOT annoying their parents.
I appreciate your honesty in this post - makes your sentiments all the more heartfelt. Thanks.

suburban wonder said...

Yup. Miss Peanut is 4 now, and just as temperamental now as she was then. I think the biggest help I have is the counting to 3 thing. I have only spanked her butt a handful of times, but those times have been when I got to 3 and she still hadn't complied. Now, all I have to do is ask "Do I have to count?" and she falls into line. It's because she knows I'm not going to cave and she will get her tushie warmed if she doesn't do what I've asked.

It's effective and socially acceptable ;)