Monday, December 27, 2010

The Look of Shame

(Warning: Not a funny post, for those of you looking for that. This one is for me.)

I should have known better. Really, I should have. We'd been at The Grams' since Thursday, immersed ourselves in a weekend full of bacchanalia and then put him off his routine with the aide out on vacation this week. To think I could introduce this particular version of The Prince to new friends was asinine, really.

I was so glad to see an college friend and so eager to meet her three kids, that the thought of heading over to her house after all of the above sounded like a grand idea, rather than the pipe dream it was.

We encountered an accident, resulting in 25 minutes stationery time on I-70, and J fell asleep, snoring soundly. When I attempted to wake him, he was dazed. Better I should have let him sleep in the car while I visited.

I kid.


The melee that ensued was nothing short of one of the most fantastic meltdowns ever witnessed. There was slamming of doors, spitting, yelling, crying - and that was just me. When my friend's four-year-old daughter gasped when J slammed the front door, I knew ignoring him was no longer going to work. he followed that up by spitting at this little blue-eyed angel.

The piece de resisantce, however, is what gets me every time. He wound up and smacked me hard in the face. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught my friend's reaction and it was - maybe- worse than the blow.

Not being a naturally patient person, I know God gave me this particular boy because I have prayed many times for Him to help me be more patient. Keeping calm and not throttling my child when he sinks his teeth into my leg means I have come a long way in the patience department. But it makes me seriously wonder how far I have come in the parent department.

He continued to rage all the way home. I pulled over twice - both to re-buckle him back into the car seat. It bordered on ridiculous when he wouldn't stop kicking me so I took his shoes. After a while, there is something just funny about a boy sobbing "I want my shooooooeeeesssss." But calm I kept.

I vent here so that I can work through things and, more importantly, not kill him. I know I am not a great mom. I know I let him get away with things that other moms would have nipped in the bud. The worst part is knowing this and then having it confirmed just by a glance. I wonder, sometimes - on bad days in particular, how this child is ever going to become part of a class in a structured classroom.

Today was bad. Tomorrow will be better. I have to believe it.


Shannon Baskind said...


I just saw this for the first time today. I am so sorry for what you went through. I hope that, in hindsight, it doesn't seem as bad as it did when you were in the thick of things. I don't know how anyone could have handled such a tantrum any better than what you did.

I always feel funny about offering compliments when it comes to parenting. I mean, I am certainly no authority on proper parenting technique, so what qualified me to say such things? But, what I can tell you is that all good parents have one thing in common: they put the child's needs ahead of their own, at least most of the time. You do this without fail, even when it's not easy, and even when it hurts you. This is just one of the things that makes you a wonderful mom, who just happens to be dealing with a difficult child in a difficult set of circumstances. Jack is not a "bad kid," the product of poor parenting or lack of attention; he is a sweet boy, learning how to deal with a big, scary world, without the same set of emotional tools that most of us have. He will get there BECAUSE of you.

Jack is lucky to have you for his mom. And, one day, he'll tell you so himself. Until then....believe it, anyway.

Lots of love,
Shannon B.

Jenny Penny said...

Chris, I haven't read any blogs in my feed for months, and then I decided to pop over tonight and check out a few of my beloved ones. I find it hard to follow comments from your friend Shannon. He says things as they should be said, and I find myself just thinking ditto. But also, don't worry about the look you saw on your friend's face. I truly believe there's no such thing as a "right look" when someone else's child is blowing a head gasket. The sympathetic look? Please. The judgemental look? Suck it. The helpful look? As if you can! Your friend probably just didn't know what to do or say. Personally, I'm an admirer of your skilz. And I love what you said about the lessons of patience through the blessing of Jack. He's blessed you, and you are a blessing to him, too. B'lieve, hon!