Today, with best intentions, I took my son to a local drop-in program and told myself I would try to meet some nearby moms. We've been having such a rough time of things, a bunch of it is in my head, some of it is toddler behaviour, some of it is from having no one to talk to and no where to go to let off steam, and some of it is being 33 weeks pregnant.
I am overwhelmed and so very frightened that this new baby, a baby we swore we would never have and never expected, will send me over the edge. That my secret fear - that I am a really crap mother - will come true and all I will have done is to have thrown two more maladjusted humans (at best) or two sociopaths (at worst?) into the world.
My son is a hitter - today at the drop in he repeatedly whacked a child half his age with a plastic toy, to the horror of everyone around. He was mad because she was trying to take it away. That was it - we packed up, me feeling embarrassed and impotent as my son hit his head against mine.
Yesterday it was a child at the mall play area. Later today it was a child in the sandbox. I know he gets it from me - lately, instead of calmly talking to him on his level when I am frustrated, I have physically removed him and placed him in time-outs, or just lifted him to eye level (to then talk) - I have physically asserted my power over him. He is now doing the same where and when he can. He knows that hitting earns him a time-out and will even say, after punching me - "time out chair? set dinger?"
Today I was putting him down for a nap and it was not going well at all. He was tired, but wired (we'd slept like shit the night before) and also frustrated. I was uncomfortable and frustrated, I suspect he also needed to poop (since he just did). Most days if I just sit and calmly ignore his shenanigans he tires himself out and passes out - to wake two hours later calm and happy. Today ignoring him just made him escalate. Meanwhile my swollen ankles are starting to ache and my ass, which didn't fit in the chair in his room before I got pregnant, is killing me. Thoughts of how the hell I am going to put a demanding toddler to sleep while caring for a newborn swimming in my head. I snapped, I yelled, I whipped the pillow he was trying to stick his head into away from him and threw it on the floor, I grabbed him and sat him on my lap, I made empty threats, my teeth were clenched, it took every ounce of self-control I had not to hit him - in my head I saw myself doing it repeatedly, I imagined myself physically abusing my son and so much of me wanted to do it. I have only felt like this once, maybe twice before - the only time I have spanked him came out of this feeling and my guilt over that will stay with me forever.
I got out. I swore I would wait him out and "make him sleep" but then I looked at him and could see that he was just as determined not to sleep and that this would all end badly if I didn't escape. Not ready to give up my "upper hand" I tried to make it clear that we were not leaving to play, but to sit, together, in a more comfortable chair. It was in that chair that I started writing a text message to my husband that I hoped would get him to leave work early and save the both of us before I did something I might regret. Sebastian thought we were playing a game - after switching hands three times I hit the phone against the arm of the chair as I tried to slip his grip again and the screen went blank. It was gone (the message, my phone is still alright) and I promptly burst into tears.
I tried to hide my crying from Sebastian (difficult, considering he was on my knee) and when he asked what happened, in that cute toddler voice he has, it broke my heart into a million pieces. I gushed that I wasn't doing a very good job and that I was sorry and that I loved him very much - to which he smiled and started pointing out my body parts. My armpit, my elbow, my neck, my chin - he touched a tear and asked me what it was. I told him it was a tear and that I was crying. He said "oh" and pointed to one that had dropped to my chest "cry on boob?"
That made me smile. I told him again that I loved him and that I was sorry that I didn't know how to be a better mother, I looked him in the eyes and he did the craziest thing... he smiled. His whole body smiled at me and then he gave me a kiss.
We made faces at each other and we laughed... I wiped away my tears and decided he wasn't going to nap today, after all. I put Boo on the floor and sent a message to Andrew asking him to come home early if possible and to please send me some positive parenting vibes.
Sebastian asked me politely if he could play with this and that, "May I please play with my truck?" "May I please play with my stethoscope?" And then, "May I have a snack?" He pulled his cheerios out of his backpack an ate a few - this seemed to be the thing he'd needed to set his digestive system to work and he pooped. He asked for a new diaper and I, having had a chance to think, asked him if he would like a cup of milk and a nap after I changed his diaper.
And so it went - I changed his bum, gave him milk, read him a book, consoled him when he bumped his head rolling around on the bed and, finally, watched him fall asleep.
I've got a lot to deal with, inside and out. I am still overwhelmed and I am still scared as shit about what my near-future holds, but things seem just a wee bit more manageable from where I'm standing now.