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.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Posted by Debbi at 8:39 PM