I did not hit my son. I did not. But part of me wanted to.
Instead, I yelled. That deep down from the belly guttral emission that is meant to get everyone's attention. And it did. Even Daddy came running.
I don't make a habit of yelling or even grunting at my child. But he is currently making a habit of hitting me. And often. Out of frustration, out of anger, out of confusion, out of the terrible twos. That night I was tired. So tired and I just wanted him to go to bed. To lay down and go to sleep so that I could have a little bit of time to unwind and then go to bed myself. He had other ideas.
Poor baby jumped in my arms as I emitted this strange and primitive sound and then he cried harder. I realize I did myself no favors. I know better. Usually I can remain calm, take a deep breath, walk away even. That night I didn't hit just the wall, I barreled into it full steam, throttle wide open.
I have no excuse.
Would it have really hurt me to go back out to the couch and read with him for 10 minutes? No. Would it have hurt him to go to bed 10 or 15 minutes later? Nope. Worse was that his cry changed. It wasn't the I-don't-want-to-go-to-sleep cry, it became different. I knew it and yet I still hesitated to go into the room because I was angry at him. Daddy went in and found out his foot was stuck between the mattress and the railing. And didn't that make me feel like the bestest bitchy mom of the year?
So many things are a battle right now: getting dressed, having a bath, brushing teeth, getting in the car seat, getting out of the carseat, changing his diaper, sitting in the high chair at a restaurant, not having the exact food he wants, going to bed. I know he is growing and exploring and I try to let him make his own decisions and have a say in what he is doing (as much as an almost 2 year old can) and some days it just wears me out.
Sometimes I don't want to wait for him to be ready to get dressed; I need to get to work.
I want to eat a meal in a resaurant without him on my lap.
I don't want to read the Elmo book 12 times in a row.
I want to cook dinner without worrying I will spill something hot on him because he is under my feet.
Parenting is hard. I know that. I thought that yell would have deflated the balloon that was my frustrating rage. It didn't. My boiling well of ire continued into the next morning and flared when he would not get dressed. This time I walked away. But I'm still sitting here dreading the upcoming battle(s).
One of the best parts of my day is picking him up from daycare and having him come running at me full-tilt, arms open for a hug. I love that part of my day.
Today I am tired. Today I feel like I don't have anything else to give. My river of patience and understanding and committment to alternative parenting is dry. I feel like a dry creekbed, rocks gray and bare to the beating sun. And I have no idea what to do to get the water flowing again.