Today we went to the park to enjoy the first sunshine we've had here in Atlanta in days, despite the chill in the air that remains. We enjoyed watching L play t-ball, tossing football and chatting with other parents of little ones. Afterwards, we took a drive North of our neighborhood a little to explore and see what homes might be for sale and what neighborhoods meet our needs. We didn't find any home-runs, but the time was worth it, and we saw a few places that intrigued us. L began to grow increasingly restless and began to speak in a tone that was loud, demanding and well, rude. "I need ice, now." "Open this, now, Mama." are examples of the orders he was delivering to us. When I didn't respond to his beck and call, he promptly decided to get my attention another way...by throwing his sippy cup football style directly at me, hitting me square the shoulder. It actually hurt which shocked me almost as much as the flying H2O. We scolded him as best you can in a moving vehicle and moved on. Five minutes later the scenario was repeated. We were both angered now and only 5 minutes from home, which allowed us to warn, "you are in trouble. When we get home you will be punished." The timer had to be reset 4 times while L was in the naughty spot because he kept getting out and teasing us with his continued misbehavior. Needless to say, I was emotionally spent after the ordeal and L seemed more concerned with what he might eat for dinner than a genuine apology at the end doing his "time."
I went into the other room to bang a few things around to try to calm down. M heard me and asked, "are you alright?" I said, "no." I began to cry and went out to get some consolation in the form of a hug from my husband. L finally began to be concerned for me and said repeatedly, "you alright, mama?" When M told him that he had made me cry and I explained further to M that I felt sad and frustrated when L's behavior was so negative and astray from the polite, mannerly and kind boy we are trying to raise, they both wrapped me in a hug and rubbed my back. L looked at me in all seriousness and said, "don't cry, Mama; have a manama." He reached up to the fruit bowl and tried to get one for me.
As mothers we take too much responsibility. We feel too much guilt. We expect too much of our kids and husbands sometimes because we are such perfectionists ourselves.
I know it wasn't my fault that L threw a sippy cup. I think I am a pretty good mother who strives and puts effort into discipline in the form of prevention, redirection, and natural consequences. I am a former preschool teacher. I know two year olds throw things, yell, demand and are generally unruly at times. It's age appropriate. Sometimes I just need a hug (and a banana) to remind me.