Tuesday, May 29, 2012
A Big Fat Zero in Parenting 101!
Today is a day when I get a big fat ZERO for my parenting skills. Today is the kind of day when I need Nanny 911 or SuperNanny or CrazyLady# 346 to come to my rescue instead of other people asking me for parenting advice. Today is the kind of day I wish didn’t exist.
I’m tired. It has been an eventful week and one of my babies has been sick on and off for months with a staph infection. Last night he woke up at 12:55 a.m. and he spent the rest of the night kicking, screaming, hitting and throwing fits by dropping to the floor while simultaneously reaching out for me. Talk about irony. As he reached up over the side of the bed for me to pick him up – AGAIN - because he voluntarily squirmed down only moments before – a new fit begins and he hits his mouth on the bottom of the bed rail and it starts bleeding – not once - but twice. He screams “owie” when I sit him on the counter to make his milk cup. He screams bloody murder when I try to change his poopy diaper. He falls to the ground if his feet hit the floor.
But even with 6 prior events and lots of practice, I can’t find any early signs of a new infection and the frustration in my voice is evident. I’m part exhausted. Part frustrated at the thought that he might be sick again – when he hasn’t even finished this round of antibiotics. Part unemotional – even when he hurts himself – because I usually ignore fits and tantrums. Part trying to keep him quiet enough so that he won’t wake up every other person in the house.
Finally, at 5:30 a.m., after I tried everything and I know that I am too tired and frustrated to cope any more, I put him back to his bed in the room next to mine and let him scream loud enough to wake the dead from the safety of his bed. He and I finally fell asleep about 6:30. Everyone else in the house began waking up about 7:30.
Waking up after a night like that. After a week like this. After a lifetime of dealing with never ending problems, I sympathize with those who have found themselves in similar positions and don’t have the support system or coping skills or knowledge to push through the pain and get through a problem without hurting their child. It seems odd that I would feel that way about the people who hurt the children I take care of – but I empathize because I can see how it easy it would be for me to go completely over the edge and hurt another person. There, but for the grace of God, go I. Those words play over and over in my head.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not condoning hurting your children or anyone else. And I’m not excusing it. I’m simply stating what other people might recognize but not admit. We all have that innate capacity for evil and we are all selfish to some degree and those qualities, left unchecked and without God, can yield some horrific results.
So, my child listened to a frustrated mom rather than the sweet voice of his caretaker soothing his apparent pain. My child, who I’m pretty sure wasn’t intentionally trying to make me mad or hurt me, had to experience distance from me rather than a reassuring hug even when he was pushing me away. My child, who deserves better, got me. I'm still just a human. I’m sorry. I will try to do better tomorrow.