Yesterday morning, I yelled at Cookie Monster and Gamera so much Cookie Monster asked me why I was screaming at him. I told him if he didn’t want to listen he could live with someone else. Then Gamera told me, “Stop talking. Stop saying that. It’s not nice.”
Schooled and shamed by a two year old.
I sat down and cried.
I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed.
In the past month, I have been to the regular doctor at least 4-5 times. I’m heading their again today after just going yesterday. For the same kid. Poor Glow Worm. I’ve driven 3 hours round trip for the Chinese doctor at least twice a week for the last four weeks.
Glow Worm’s eczema is better but now that that’s taken care of, he has yeast infections in all his moist fatty folds (armpit, neck, genitals, knees, ankles) that because I thought was eczema, I put the steroid ointment on it which apparently suppresses his immune response so it got worse and now, there is a bacterial infection on top of that. Baby Boy didn’t cry when he was itchy and scratching his head into a bloody mess, but now he is weeping when I even gently touch his under parts. This morning, there was blood all over his scrotum because the open wounds stuck to his diaper and when I opened it to change him, it ripped off his skin.
We both cried.
After coming home, I noticed both his eyes were rimmed red and starting to have production. I think he has pink eye. On top of that, an angry rash has developed over his torso and scalp. It doesn’t look like the eczema he had before and his skin was just getting better. Hence the return trip.
(ETA: He has impetigo. The rash is a bacterial infection. So are his eyes. He’s starting oral antibiotics and eye drops and eye ointments. The doctor also wants me to go to Stanford pediatric dermatology to see what’s going on.)
Although Glow Worm used to sleep twelve hours in a row at night, he now wakes up every 3-5 hours (for awhile, it was every two). Throw in my other two kids who occasionally wake up crying for me – even if they fall back asleep almost immediately, I AM STILL UP.
Hapa Papa has been in NYC for
work vacation and though my mom has come a few times to help and my friends have been awesome, they still can’t parent for me. (Too bad!)
These are not excuses. Just context. Every parent goes through this crap (and many of you have gone through more on a regular basis). I know I am not special. I know I shouldn’t yell or scream or nag or be petty and mean, but sometimes, (OK, a LOT of times), I am.
I tell myself after each bout of being a jerk that I won’t yell anymore and be like that person who wrote an article about how she stopped yelling for a year. I hate her.
That resolve lasts about five seconds or until one of my kids spills some milk. Whichever comes first.
I tell myself that I shouldn’t nag and the main reason I yell is because they don’t listen to me (possibly because of my nonstop nagging and yelling).
I feed my children and cajole and bribe and beg and threaten and scream because WHY AM I DOING THIS WHEN THEY HAVE PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING HANDS? But they are slow or picky or whatever so I feed them even though I know I am just perpetuating this cycle of bad habits and if I would just let them be hungry already then they (especially Cookie Monster who FFS is Four Fucking Years Old) would eat everything and all of it quickly and independently.
Even though I know better, I threaten my kids with, “I’m getting mad!” They now freak out and worry (especially Gamera, poor darling) and when they notice I am starting to lose it or my tone changes, they immediately ask, “You mad, Mama? You mad? You happy?”
It’s gotten so bad, sometimes I say, “Do you want Mommy to get mad? Do you want to be in trouble?” Then Gamera will cry and say, “I don’t wanna be in trouble! I don’t want you get mad!”
I don’t want my kids to constantly fear me getting angry or want to please me so badly they will suppress themselves to do what I want. (Although it sounds awesome when I am so pissed they are throwing a tantrum because I won’t let them play with a purple loofah because it’s pretty.) I don’t want them to worry constantly about making me or anyone other than themselves happy. I don’t want them to be “good” because they don’t want to be in trouble. Apparently that means I am grooming them for sexual abuse. I DON’T WANT TO GROOM MY KIDS FOR SEXUAL ABUSE!
I want to tell myself to cut myself some slack, that tomorrow is another day (or when I am really ambitious, right “now” because at any moment, we can start a new day). But the problem is, day after day, I HAVEN’T CHANGED.
I feel as if I am an alcoholic.
I pray and beg God to change my character faults or to protect my kids from myself and have them grow up mostly ok and less fucked up than I did (but really, sometimes it seems to be a huge crapshoot). Then I feel like I’m copping out by not doing the work myself and only hoping that some god or mythical creature is going to wave their magic wand and poof! I am all better and no longer a complete asshat.
Nope. Still a giant asshat.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those situations where fighting against my natural tendencies seems to be the only way to change. Seems like a pretty stupid way to go about it if you ask me.
Seriously. Before I got married and had kids, I thought I was awesome. Oh, sure, I knew I had “character flaws” but I wasn’t really confronted with them day in and day out. (Mostly because my friends and coworkers were perhaps too kind to me and nice to my face.) Now, I’m not exactly off my “I am Awesome” train, but it certainly is tempered with the Reality of my temper and selfishness.
The worst part is, I can see how my worst traits are getting passed onto my children. When they are frustrated, my kids scream and yell and want to throw or hit things. You could say that it is because they are young and small and don’t quite yet know how to cope with frustration and anger. Fine. But then, what’s MY excuse?
I used to pray all the time for God to change my circumstances or bail me out of a situation. Now, I am constantly praying for God to change my character (or at least, to help me change and choose better for myself). I suppose that is also a sign of growth and change. I just wish I weren’t constantly being humbled and having my ego handed to me on a platter.
Perhaps this is also one interpretation of daily “dying to my self.” Well, I tell myself that I would gladly die for my children. Here is now a constant opportunity to do so.