cafe mama

entering the mind of the married mom

reflections of a lost mama - October 27, 2005

I feel, today, like a mama who's lost it. Something's happened with Everett - some shift in chemistry, maybe - and suddenly he can't deal with life's structure. He chafes against any and all rules. He needs, needs, needs me every instant. He'll hug me, kiss me, tell me he loves me. He'll be cute and sweet. And then, in a moment, his "together" cord will snap and he'll lash out - somersaulting, hurling himself around in giddy silly aggression. Or he'll take the "no" as "no, you can never be happy again ever" and spin into a screaming, sobbing ball of stubborn-ness that takes 20 or 30 minute to work itself out.

And I, I too, will lose it. This morning, after three "T" days where he stayed home from preschool (two from sickness and the third from not wanting to go), we had all agreed that yes, today would be a good day to go to preschool. He told me that he was ready to read books and sing songs and eat a snack. Then morning came, and he wanted to rest a little more, and not take off his night-time pull up, and finish his show. Finally we got to the bus stop, he was being nice and helpful and doing what I asked.

We were taking the bus to his friend Bunny's house, where Jonathan was working - and where our car was located (very near the preschool). We arrived, and Bunny & fam were getting in their car. And Everett wanted to go with.

Cue screaming, kicking, holding onto a random white picket fence, and mama completely lost it. I felt like a caricature of a mad mommy. I growled. I swore. It was all I could do not to slap him upside the head. It took 10 minutes to get in the car - 10 minutes more that we were late, 10 minutes more that I just wanted to give him away to the nearest fertility-challenged couple and say to them, here, you're going to be so much more patient with this, than I.

Once I used my trump card ("do you want me to go inside and have daddy make you sit in this seat?"), everything was fine. As we approached the bright-blue house where preschool is located, he asked, "When I am big like you can I say Damn it mama?" And I said, "yes, you can, but don't say it at preschool, ok?" and he solemnly, yet brightly, answered, "OK!"

He was good, then not so good, at preschool, and a screaming terror when I tried to get his shoes on to go. We got to the store, he did everything I asked, politely, sweetly. I wondered if I hadn't birthed a changeling. And I thought about the implications - some allergies, maybe, or a chemical imbalance - and I flashed to years in the future of dealing with this and thought, I can't, even as I saw myself checking labels for casein or refined sugar or tomatoes or whatever is causing his craziness.

I've finally decided, this behavior isn't normal. But I don't know how not normal, is he biologically impaired in some way or is it just a function of too much TV or not enough sleep or too little attention from me? Maybe our fairly structure-free life is wreaking its havoc. Probably I'm just not a good enough mom. Probably I am not giving him the tools he needs to behave like a normal happy child. And definitely, I don't know what to do. And certainly, it makes me tired and worried and guilty and lost.