Pushing Buttons, with Bryan Caught in the Middle

I’m only now getting to a place where I can talk about our Saturday night. Sure, for the most part the day was really nice – full of roses and monkeybars. But, there were definitely moments of tension all day. Mainly between me and Declan.

See, he and I are a lot alike. So much so, that sometimes we keep pushing and nudging each other to the brink of insanity, and all Bryan can do is watch the two of us like a ping pong game gone mad.

And certainly it’s not all Declan’s fault. Yes, he’s five and exploring his boundaries, but I am 37 and should have more patience. And I am embarrassed to say, when he pushes – too often I take it as a personal attack against ME. That he is doing this to piss ME off. Not that he’s just being five and can’t see beyond the realm of his desires a la moment, that he is literally, actively trying to get me mad so I will let him do what he wants to do.

I am so fucking stupid sometimes.

And there we are Saturday night. I am FED UP with the pushing. And the whining. And the selfishness. And the ignoring.

So, when Declan refused to answer a question at bedtime, I just up and abruptly walked out. In essence telling him, “I QUIT!”

The kid LOST IT.

I haven’t heard wailing of that magnitude since he was a baby and had gas bubbles the size of Texas stuck up his ass.

Then *I* lost it.

I went back in and the two of us degraded to a level I am shamed to even think of, much less type out. I promise there was no hitting because we don’t do that (EVER) – and I really wasn’t even yelling at him (but it was close) – but the tenor of the argument was so beyond RIDICULOUS. “You did this!” “No, I didn’t” “Yes you did!”…

If my husband didn’t have the utmost respect for me, he would have grabbed my arm and told me to stop acting like a two year old and put me in time out.

And I would have totally deserved it.

Finally, I calmed down and Declan and I talked it out. And then Bryan and I talked it out.

And Bryan helped me put it all into perspective.

*I* am the one being self-centered. Declan’s behavior has really very little to do with *me.* He is not out to get *me.* He is out the get what he can for *him.*

Because that’s what little guys do.

And once you realize that, it’s a whole lot easier to smile in the face of the crazed five year old.

This article has 12 comments

  1. joansy

    Awww Aimee. What a sucky day. I think Bryan’s great point. We also have those struggles. For me, I think there’s a couple of things going on – one is that I work really hard, sometimes for extra hours after work or the weekend and sometimes have guilt over the limited hours that I have with the kids — which somehow leads me to wild fantasies about how great it will be when we get to spend some time together, and then when we do get some time together it doesn’t meet the fantasy.

    The other thing is it feels like my 5 year olds are close to being real humans — the kind who don’t whine, who are capable of really cleaning their room, who have some empathy, who can make logical decisions, etc. And I am ready for all of those things as I loved my toddlers but I am really looking forward to moving on, just a little. Or maybe a lot. But my kids are just not quite there yet, no matter how much I want the whining to stop.

    Ok, sorry for the incredibly long comment. It’s my long way of saying that I very much understrand.

  2. Catherine

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could just record every moment, have some instant replay, rewind, record over if necessary?? This is my long-winded way of saying, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are one of the rare parents that’s actually aware and constantly trying to learn, and… that has to count for something. 🙂

    Here for you.

  3. painted maypole

    oh… there have been times when I have reacted in a way that was just so obvious to me, often even when it was happening, that I was being childish. Like when on the airplane I ignored my child for a good 5 minutes, but I also knew that to attempt anything else would be to begin screaming. It was awful, and I knew it, but we do have emotions too, and it can be so hard to have to be the grown up all the time. Thank goodness you (and I!) have such a loving family to see you through it, and out to the other side ok.

  4. Alpha DogMa

    Kids are selfish little bastards. The key is to teach them to not grow up to be selfish adults.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m posting this one anonymously.
    At least your spouse can talk to you about the way you deal with your son. When I see my son and husband going at it (son is almost 5), if I try to talk to him about it later it turns into a huge fight between us. He’s totally unreasonable about taking suggestions that there may be a different and perhaps better way to deal with our son. There’s no hitting but it makes me crazy, and of course there’s no way I can step in becuase Hubby is always right. But the reality is sometimes he’s an immature ass. And it sucks.
    And it breaks my heart.

  6. Tree

    I like what Crabapple had to say – it’s the rare moment when you lose it and forget that Declan is not 35, but 5. I am impressed that you did stop yourself from yelling. And walking away can sometimes be the only solution to keeping yourself in check.

    ((((((HUGS)))))) Parenting is not easy, but is rewarding.

  7. aimee / greeblemonkey

    Thanks all! You are so supportive and it really helps.

    And P.S. Catherine, I am so bummed I am not able to get together with you this evening!!! :(((

  8. sue

    Oh, my… I can so relate.

  9. crabapple

    We are human, even if we are parents, and all humans make mistakes. I think a comment I heard about dieting– that it’s not what you do once in a while, but what you do everyday that really counts–applies here. It takes real self awareness to be a good parent, which is why I applaud people who wait til they are older to have children, like you did Aimee.

  10. crabapple

    And I meant to say by that that everyday, or most days, you are a consistent, loving parent. Everyone has an off day.

  11. Sarah

    Ouch. Sounds like a rough night.

  12. Denver Dad

    It’s hard *not* to get riled up sometimes. Chunk, who is only two (nearly three!), and I clash the exact same way all the time and while you’re right… the adult should be the mature on in those sorts of head-bumping, its hard to be “on” all the time. We all get tired. We all get run down. Sometimes we don’t take things as well as we should.

    Don’t sweat it. At the end of the day, your son knows you love him. That’s the important part, right?

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