Sunday, September 17, 2006

I wish I were Catholic

I would totally dig the confession thing. It would make parenting a lot easier, I think. By far my most common confession these days would be hating my five year old. I know, hate is a horrible, strong word, and I promise I really do love him all the time, even when I can't stand him, but that's how I feel during these all-too-frequent moments (minutes, hours, days) when he acts like an insane, alien-possessed, deranged lunatic asshole.

Usually this happens at bedtime. To try to curtail the Linda Blair behavior, we have written a pictorial chart of the bedtime routine, and we follow it religiously. We have moved his bedtime up to make sure he's getting enough sleep. We try to wind him down before bed with calm activities. Nothing seems to help when he's hell-bent on freaking out.

Tonight, he calmly said goodnight to everyone. Calmly went upstairs and calmly brushed his teeth. Calmly put on his pjs and read a book with me. Started to balk at picking a song, as that's the last pre-bed step. I finally gave an ultimatum - pick a song or go to bed without. He wouldn't, so I said goodnight, and he put in a last minute bid for me to pick the song. I did so, and he began to wind himself up about the (insufficient) duration of the song. I tucked him in, gave him a hug and kiss, said goodnight, approached the door.

That's when he kicked it into high gear. His behavior at these times really defies explanation. There is screaming, there is inarticulate whiny gibbering, there is leg kicking and flailing, and there is a particular high pitched grating noise specifically designed to boil my blood and make my palms just itch to beat him senseless. As if he is senseful. If I lived 50 years ago, he would be one hurting child, but as I am of a more enlightened era of parenting (damn it), I refrain from indulging my corporal punishment urges and try desperately to find the word or tone or bribe or threat that will keep. him. in. his. goddamned. bed. Preferably silent.

So, forgive me, not-Father, for I have sinned. It has been 30 years, 6 months, and 3 days since my last confession. I want desperately to act the way I should because I feel the way I should, and not because I am holding onto my temper by the skin of my teeth, folding my hands together to keep from lashing out. I want to remember the 95% of the time that he is a really wonderful kid, loving and sensitive and smart and funny, during that 5% of the time that he is a mindless savage.

I hate to even post this, because deep in my heart I fear that I am alone with this frustration, that every other mother loves her children more perfectly than I do. I want to pour out assurances that I do love my children, I do I do I do, that I take care of them as well as I know how (and do not beat them, honest) and feed them well and play with them and advocate for them and take them to fun activities and try to teach them to be independent and kind. But....sometimes I feel like the only word for how I feel is hate. And I'm embarassed to admit that. I could really use a priest.


cole edwards said...

Duct tape. Liquor. Ear plugs.

Or alternatively, I keep hassaling you about converting the garage into a liveable space. OR make him sleep outside until he behaves more personly and less animalish.

Sweetie, I hate mine mostly too. I think most moms just don't say it. I say it. That is why we are going to go drink, this wednesday and have fun and eat.

What if he spends the night at my house tomorow night? jasper would LOVE it. We can try?

nina said...

Dude, I have plenty of hate moments too. I hate hating them for acting like children. I hate hating them for suffocating me when I chose to have them and stay home with them. I hate wanting to tell them to shut up. Sigh. You aren't alone. Truly.

robodad said...

I thought long and hard about this, then thought some more, then I fell asleep, then I woke up and ate some toast, then I posted the reponse on my blog cause it was too long to put here.

Actually, the response was typed by monkeys. Those are some amazing monkeys!

jackie said...

You are not the only one.

And I was raised Catholic, and I can tell you, that by guilting yourself out about how you feel about your kids, you're halfway there already! Guilt is a big part of being Catholic! congratulations :).

Karen Homann said...

Girl, honey-friend, I have been there. I cannot tell you how many times I have said "Fuck you!" to Sammy in my head. I am glad to hear that my kid is not the only screaming lunatic, and I am glad that I have a friend who is brave enough to 'fess up to the hate. New one in my house is Sammy telling me that he hates me. I didn't think that was going to happen for 9 more years!