You wanna know how bad last night’s tantrum was? You wanna know what made me so physically keyed up that I was shaking for about an hour after Peanut finally passed out from exhaustion?
We don’t get many tantrums here at the WaN household. (I love that acronym…never noticed writing at naptime is wan. Nice. I also like it when 20-20 calls our blog Nappy. That’s good clean fun, too, and not at all Imus.)
In fact, I have blogged the few tantrums we’ve had. I think we’re up to four in three years. (Four big ones. I am not fazed by the fifteen minute tantrums.) Not bad. They tend to last for two to three hours, but still, as two-year-olds go, we’re batting, like, whatever would be a really, really good batting average. How do they say that? Whatever.
But last night the other shoe dropped.
Started with a tough day. Some days just are and that’s okay. No nap, including a power struggle, the end of which included the statement, “Well it’s quiet time, and if you won’t let your body try to rest by closing your eyes for just ten minutes, then I’m ignoring you for an hour. You get to choose. It’s your body. But I don’t have to play with you.” Nice sign for impending doom.
It was bad enough that two hours later I made us both cocoa. That’s a big deal in our house. His first cup of cocoa was election day. He’d never had it before and I told him it was a special treat that we got because it’s so important to vote. It wasn’t a bribe because he didn’t know about it until after the voting, but it felt lovely to make a little ritual out of his outstanding behavior at the polls. He pushed the buttons on the televoting newfangled computer thing that, by the way, brings out the 80 year old Luddite in me. Where’s the paper? Well, this year there was a paper printout, so I’m all better now. Twitch, twitch.
Anyway, the second cocoa incident was thanks to a lovely gift from NM. She gave him a little tea cup, little saucer, and little tin of cocoa for Hogamany. Yay, NM. Very cute. Except that my kid thought we got to go vote again, and this time he wasn’t voting for no rules or no bosses. He was voting for himself so he could tell me what to do. He said so. I laughed. Big mistake.
Third cocoa was inauguration. Big day, y’all, and I felt it warranted cocoa. Plus, and this is a little wrong, but I figured since the whole world was gettin’ a little cocoa that day, that my kid could, too.
So yesterday things got bad enough to bring out the cocoa. And it helped. But the afternoon got worse by about 4. His body can’t handle being nap-free. He started to melt down in little bursts. Fell a lot. The usual stuff. I was lovely and comforting, for, after all, I was full to the rim with warm, chocolate-y goodness. By 5, when Spouse called, Peanut was on my lap, whimpering that he wanted to go to a playground. It was dark, it was cold, it was almost dinner. No playground. Uh-oh.
I told Spouse on the phone it was a rare, choice, and in all other ways USDA bargain-basement, salmonella-grade day. Which the USDA is not required to tell the public, but I felt required to tell Spouse before he got home. Spouse didn’t hear me, or didn’t listen , for his arrival, later, would spin the situation out of control. What a shock. Take a delicate balance and throw a man in the middle and watch it implode.
Peanut went from whimpering to crying. He wanted to go to Longs. To buy tissues. I had offered that several times during the day to get him out of his jammies and out of the house. Nope. Not until 6pm does he want to go out. Fine. You go put on your clothes and I’ll have Daddy take you to Longs. Twenty minutes of “not Daddy, you.” Then twenty minutes of “I don’t want clothes, I’m too sad.” Then twenty minutes of “I want go Trader Joe’s.” *blink blink* Why? “I want go Trader Joe’s get mushrooms.” Um, we don’t eat mushrooms. He won’t try them and Spouse and I pass whenever offered fungus.
“But I *need* mushrooms. I no have mushrooms long time. I need go Trader Joe’s get mushrooms.” Well, we’re not going. And therein lay the beginning of the end. As soon as he started to ask for things that defied logic, I knew I was done.
Spouse came home in a foul mood and pissed me off. I barked at Spouse. Spouse snapped at me. I asked Spouse to get dinner ready. Spouse emptied the recycling and rearranged the kitchen and complained about the overfull trash and…where’s the mother f—ing kid’s dinner, a–hole? “I’m getting to it.”
Yeah. Like *I’m* getting to a place in society that’s respected and well regarded. Right.
So I hobble into the kitchen without my crutches to make dinner and Spouse yells at me. Tells me not to walk without crutches and tells me he’s taking care of dinner. I yell back. That was fifteen minutes ago, and I could have had it all done by now. Oh yeah, you’re so perfect. Oh yeah, you’re never here. It’s all been said before, by countless others, including John and Kate. And if those mo-fos say it, it must be true.
So Peanut is still sobbing, though mostly to himself now because Spouse and I are passing him back and forth, knowing that if his feet touch the ground we’re done for.
Peanut doesn’t want ravioli, he wants burrito. Make him that, he won’t eat it. Now he wants ravioli. Fine. Here you go. “I’m too tired to eat.” amen. Go to bed. “Not time bed. I want play.” No, buddy. Bed or bath are your choices. “Mmmm, Bryce.” Bryce is not a choice. Bed or bath. “Not any.” Okay, bed. “No! Bath!” Okay. get naked. “I don’t want naked.” Okay, do you want bath in your jammies? “Yes.” That’s fine, but after bath you’ll need to change to different jammies because those will be wet. “I want these jammies.” Okay, take them off and put on different jammies for the bath. “No I don’t want take these off at all.” Okay, go get in bed. “No-o-o-o-o-o-o!” This bed bath cycle repeats for half an hour.
Now, seriously, how awesome am I to offer a bath with jammies? To offer a bath with different jammies just to keep the treasured mismatch of pink polka dots and red spiders dry? Awesome. I know. And you know. But that little dude doesn’t know. Please email him and tell him. ‘Cuz this would all be easier if he knew how good he has it, given the whole powerless and overwhelmed and full of newness and exploration and hope and change and stuff. He’s got it just about as good as it gets. Minus Mommy and Daddy fighting over the trash and a burrito. But still.
And thus began another hour of sobbing and writhing and hitting (he hit us, we didn’t hit him. Who are we, Glenn Beck to announce that we beat our child? We don’t, and we don’t believe in it, but we wouldn’t announce it. Are you kidding? In a blog post with the words Obama and inauguration and cocoa? We’re already getting a Secret Service visit, I guarantee you.)
Anyway, it was three hours of sobbing and crying and sadness and wanting everything but what he can’t have. Including mushrooms and cocoa and a bath in jammies that magically dry. Nope, not good enough. We wanted to hold him down and cram him in bed. We didn’t. I wanted to lock him in his room and leave him. Spouse wouldn’t hear of it because i’ts just too dangerous. I offered to let Peanut roam the house, glassy-eyed and convulsing with sobs, and ignore him until he passed out. Spouse questioned my new ignore parenting, wondering, mostly to himself because he’s smart, if all I do all day is ignore Peanut. Remind me to yell at Spouse again later. We cuddled the lad and maintained nice voices (after we got all of our frustrations out on each other…nice role models) and he finally passed out while I was singing the alphabet in his dark room.
And I shook for an hour and drank heavily but couldn’t get even relaxed. And at 1am, 2am, and 3am he screamed from his room, crying, that he wanted stories.
Are you kidding me? Obama help me, I’m gonna be 300 pounds, all cocoa, by the time this kid goes to school. And my poor readers, all eight of them, will have forty-thousand pages of lovingly creased and earmarked pages of printed out blog pages because my only sanity lies in telling the world that my kid, and my decision to raise him with respect and love and attachment and intelligence is killing me.