Wednesday, October 5, 2011
A Rage Like No Other
I guess I’m still in need of refinement. My youngest tested my ability to keep my cool this morning by throwing a ginormous fit that lasted a full 35 minutes. I felt a bit helpless because he threw this fit while I was driving away from the bank. It was obvious that something had not gone his way, but we were all amiss as to what.
I am continually impressed with this third child and find myself saying, “Well, you’d better go far in life mister,” due to his perseverance and determination, also known as being stubborn and strong-willed.
A's two older brothers were in the van with me watching the rage and trying their best to distract A, cajole A, and threaten A into obedience. I heard B speak calmly, “Use your words A. Tell us what you want.” I smiled at B’s attempt to parent. Wonder where he’s heard that line before? But instead of being rewarded by a calm explanation there was more screaming, more kicking.
C tried another approach, “Stop it A. You are being naughty. Mom, he’s trying to get out of his seat. He’s trying to get out of the van. A, stop, this is not safe!” The yell and scare tactic, another one I often pull out of my parenting tool belt.
I tried also, really, I did. I was becoming a very distracted driver and so my oldest suggested that I pull over immediately before we all ended up in a car accident.
By this point A had freed his upper body from the 5-point-harness and was screaming, “I want out! I want out!” I guess he was taking B’s advice and using his words.
A was trying to unlock the moving van’s door with his left foot, as he successfully lowered the window with his left pinky finger. I did win this small battle by pushing the child-lock-window-button and by keeping the van in motion which has a child-safety-feature: while the van is moving, no side doors can be opened. Go Honda Odyssey engineers.
I pulled over. I’ve been working with this very interesting final installment of Schneiter’s procreation now for exactly 2 and ½ years, and I’ve discovered that the soft approach works best. I got out of the van and opened his door. I stroked his sweet face, only a mother would find this angry face sweet. I said things like, “Honey, you need to stay in your car seat. You need to stay in the van. You need to stop. You need to be safe. What do you want? Use your words. Do you want mommy to buckle you back in or do you want to do it?”
“A do it!” This was followed by even more intense and loud raging, the kind I’ve never seen or heard before. I was afraid the other people in the parking lot were going to report me because surely a child screaming that loudly was being mistreated by their mother, no one would stop to think that it was I that was being mistreated by my son. At this point I wanted to wither up and cry. But then there was a slight pause.
“OK, now, we are leaving and going home, thank you.”
It was merely the eye of the storm. The brief break was just a reprieve before the hurricane’s onslaught. I found myself trying to tune it out, focus on the road. My oldest offered to help me drive by pointing out all the stop signs and merging traffic. We promised and reassured each other that A would give up, eventually. Surely he wouldn’t last the entire trip home. The town we were in was a good 35 minute drive from our house.
C and B plugged their ears with their fingers and took their little minds to another, peaceful place. I was jealous of their Zen skills as little feet and legs wildly kicked the back of my seat. I kept waiting for a police officer to pull me over and ask me if I was a fit parent and a fit driver…if I needed to sign up for some parenting classes, maybe I did. Maybe I should. I have been parenting now for almost seven years, and I was at a loss. None of my usual tactics were working.
A did not stop screaming until we pulled into our driveway and he knew the ride was over. I let him out of his car seat. He crawled onto my lap, a puddle of tears and exhaustion, “Sorry mommy, sorry.” It was nice for him to say sorry, but by this point in time I was the one who wanted to create a scene. My scene would be a pity party. I wanted to melt into the driver’s seat and cry, “Oh A, why? Why were you so angry? Why were you so unreasonable?”
And then I turned a bad mommy moment into a constructive one because two out of the three children had been brilliant, “Boys,” I turned to my older sons, “I am really proud of you for putting up with all that craziness. You were very patient.”
B smiled, “I just tried to relax my body.”
I’ve decided to give myself a golden star in the good mommy column. Wouldn’t you?