My Every Limit.

No one tells you it will be like this.

You are testing my every limit, child.  Every single one I have.

The hitting.  You smack me with that look on your face.  I say don’t hit.  Dad says don’t hit.  We tell you hitting is not nice, and if you hit we wont play with you.  And you look at me… and hit.

The biting.  Who taught you to bite?  Where did you learn to use your teeth in such a manner?  Every hug is suspect, every cuddle is questionable.  I never let your face near mine without double checking for the smirk that means you are about to bite me.

The whining.  Momma doesn’t whine.  Dad doesn’t whine.  We never taught you to whine.  I’m convinced that it’s genetic, and I’m getting what’s due because of how I was as a child.  But it drives me crazy every moment of every day.  I tell you, “I don’t understand you when you whine,” and “Tell me what you want without whining,” or even, “Just ask ‘please!'”  The whining really makes my nerves grate, brings me to the end of my rope.

The misbehaving.  I know that is what you are supposed to do.  You misbehave.  You are learning limits.  You are testing what you can and cannot do.  But when you scream because I take the chip bag away, and then I tell you to say please if you want one… and you say please, so I give you a chip… and then you proceed to shatter it into a thousand pieces into the carpet?  It makes my brain go to crazy mush.

What happened to my happy, easy going, contented baby?  Who is this control freak that flips out every time I urge or encourage him in a direction that he doesn’t want to go?

The ALL OUT screaming fits that happen when I draw the line?  They have gotten old so quickly.

Ronan, you make me terrified that you are ‘that kid.’  The one that other people stare at and whisper about.  The kid at the baby gym that all the other moms hope stays away from their kids.  The one that everyone hopes their kid is never like. That kid in the grocery store, that kid in the mall.  The kid I’d hoped you’d never be.

I HATE looking around and wondering if I’m ‘that mom’.  The one that can’t keep her kid under control.  The one that can’t stop him from throwing a fit.  The one that thinks her kid is capable and ready to handle something, and is quite clearly shown that he isn’t.  I’m that mom that thinks she’s done a great job raising her sweet, loving, well behaved boy… but I really haven’t.

We don’t leave the house because I can’t handle you in public.  We stay home, and feel stuck and isolated, but I’m too afraid to leave.  But the longer we stay here, the more you test my limits, my sanity, my ability to cope.  Sometimes I’m not sure what else I can do.

And everyone tells me it doesn’t get any easier.

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  • Leslie

    Don’t worry Mandy, Ronan isn’t ‘That Kid’. All of those things (the hitting, the biting etc) Ethan does them all. Drives me crazy, I could say NO in my biggest meanest voice, he just smiles and does it again. Now he is getting a kick out of climing, makes me mental. I’m just waiting for the day that they will understand (well i’m sure they understand) but when they will actaully listen to us! I’m right there with you!

  • oh love… you’re not alone. you are soooo not alone. this is a HARD HARD stage and buttons that i didn’t even know existed are found by jackson and pressed repeatedly.

    i have zilch for advice. i don’t even know if you want advice.

    but i hear you and you’re not alone.

    somedays, this just blows.

  • Ah… I think we all have ‘that kid’. At least on every day that ends in a ‘y’. We’re trying so hard to be consistent, patient, not lose it, and train as best as we can. But it’s so hard for us, too, to not be scared that ours are often worse than others’ kids.

  • Mandy,

    you are not alone in this. Ronan is not ‘that kid’, believe me. He is displaying typical behavior. I know how you feel, because I have been there. I did not know what to do back then and found advice in our wonderful child psychologist at our amazing nursery school.

    She said: ‘Limit him. Don’t let him get you to a place, where you start to simmer with anger. When he does, it is a sign for you that you have not pulled the plug early enough. Do not fear the tantrum. It will increase even for a while and then it will get much better. This behavior is developmentally adequate and he is just asking for limits.’

    Here is another thing she said:’Don’t worry about your ability as a mom. Don’t dread the looks or judgment of other people. Every parent has been there. Whoever pretends not to have been there, is lying or one extraordinary lucky bastard.’

    I cannot tell you how much she helped me with her understanding and hands on advice.
    I totally understand where you are at right now. Just try to set the limit earlier, meaning give him the consequence earlier.
    For example, you normally say it several times, he pushes your buttons, you get frustrated & angry, you give him the consequence (time out or whatever it is you are doing) and he throws a tantrum of epic proportions – you are ready to cry, kill someone, tear out your hair and you wonder ‘what have I done to deserve this?’.
    That’s roughly how it was for me…
    I changed my approach. I let him make his choice. I help him to make a good choice. By shortening the leash. I say it 2 times. Instead of saying it a third time, I enforce (time out, room quiet time, loss of privileges, whatever I told him would be the consequence). I’m not going to lie to you – it’s not gone, but the tantrums are less severe and way shorter and actually no longer a harrowing experience for me.

    I should have done this even earlier, but I did not know what to do. I tried not to bury myself at home, but it was hard and every day on the way from the playground home, he would scream the entire way. Needless to say, I was mortified. I did not take him anywhere by public transportation, because I just couldn’t take the stress.

    L grew out of it. It is so much better today. The challenges shift. It is not getting easier, but you are growing into this whole parent thing and you relax and that’s when it seems easier. Did that make sense to you?

    I know you are a great mother and Ronan is a great kid. Stay strong and don’t let anybody tell you anything differently. Sending you love and hugs from New York City,

    Inger (with L and baby Y)

  • I have some advice, mandy, but keep in mind this is from the single guy who has never been asked to babysit his niece and/or nephew.

    Two words: Duct Tape.

  • Sarah

    You can do it Mandy!

    From a behaviour person –
    A – what happens before the behaviour
    B – whats the behaviour (screaming, biting)
    C – consequnce

    Look at these and once you can figure out the function (the WHY he did what he did) then the consequence is easier.

    Biting for attention – No attention – timeout
    Screaming to get what he wants – not getting what he wants – no attention

    Thats how we do it in my field. It makes it more analytical and less emotional to figure out a “consequnce”
    Sometimes it helps to sit down with your “other” Brock 🙂 and figure out what are timeout worthy actions or what are ignoring worthy. Then everyone respond the same.

    You are an amazing Mom and don’t worry, I hear it doesn’t get better but it does change 🙂

  • I had to giggle at this post, I know that my not be nice, but as Momma’s we’ve ALL been there and yes! yes it will get better, he will stop hitting, he will learn not to bite, and eventually he might even listen every once in a while! Enjoy the ride its going to be over all too soon!
    hugs xo