Kindergarten Hell

We are in Kindergarten Hell.  My sweet, charming little Mooch left on the first day of school with a mere wave and what walked off that bus was a fib-telling, tantrum-throwing, rule-hating little demon, packed inside the shell that once was my son.  What the hell.  Where did my sweet, polite child go?  He went to Kindergarten.

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First there was the meanness to little Zook (whom I have no concern that he can hold his own) then there was the tantrum at soccer.  Soccer.  All was kosher until I whip around to seem my child (or what was once my child) stamping across the soccer field in the middle of the game sobbing and screaming.  The screams were barely decipherable (my hope was that they were completely indecipherable), the tears were flowing, arms swinging wildly in the air.  I hate soccer!  I hate my team!  I hate it!  I hate soccer- and my team! Sob.  Sob.  Sob.  After about 10 minutes of rolling, kicking (not at the soccer ball), drooling and snotting on the sideline, he finally was able to tell me what had offended him to this extent: He hadn’t yet scored a goal.  Really?!

There’s been meltdowns over the order of tooth brushing, nightly book choice, “wimpy” [insert item of clothing or footwear here], getting out of bed in the morning and into bed at night.  We have had hitting, pushing, pinching, throwing and fist-pushing (pushing your closed fist into someone’s stomach without the quick force of a punch- but with the same outcome). We have had arguing over meals and drinks and I’ve answered questions like Why can’t I have cookies for breakfast? Everyday.  (Which reminds me, I totally need to do a Things I Wish I Could Say Part 2…)

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My rationale is that he’s balking at his now-structured day, learning not only about numbers and letters but also about bullies and meanness.  Hearing new words and phrases, new jokes and insults- and trying them out at home.  On us.  There have been a couple times in the last two weeks that I have looked into his eyes, pleading with desperation… Please send my sweet innocent boy home to me!  Tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, he seemed sad.  What’s up Mooch?  How’s school?  Good. Is there anything you’d like to change about kindergarten? Silence and then…  Sometimes at Morning Meeting, the kids tell me to scooch over and I don’t have room to scooch.  Emma told me to scooch.  And I scooched.  And then Henry told me to scooch back.  But I had no where to scooch back.  Tears stung my eyes, my throat had that hard lump in the back.  As my Mooch looked down, he picked a chip of paint that had dried under his thumbnail… I didn’t have anywhere to scooch.  And then he leaned into me.

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So much is happening for him right now.  New friends, new rules, new words, new routines, new, new, new.  And he’s having a hard time catching up.  And I know he’ll get there but right now it’s really hard.  Hard to know what to ask and how to respond, when to talk and when to stay quiet, when to play and when to listen.  I can see that his behavior over the last two weeks has been a cry (okay, screaming tantrum) for direction, support and extra attention.  So that’s what this Mama needs to provide.  My dear Mooch, I will help you through this.  And you will learn how to be a kindergartner; I will learn what you need.  And we will conquer Kindergarten Hell.  Together.

Peace, Mamas.

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Mama is Fed the F*ck Up

I don’t know how I got here but I am really struggling.  Patience are none existent.  Rationality has been exhausted.  My last nerve has been on extended leave.  What the hell is going on?  Well, I’ll tell ya.  My two year old has made a liar out of me.  Up until now, I never believed in the Terrible Twos.  Three was the worst in our house.  Three was the age of talking back, and fierce independence.  I thought the Terrible Twos were a load of shit.  Until I met Zook.

His whining has become the soundtrack to my life.  I swear, the crying and wallowing haunts me in my sleep.  He wants to help with everything.  Which is fine.  Takes a few extra minutes but I can deal with that.  If that was it.  But helping doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of my frustration with this child as of late.

Tonight was taco night.  Zook wanted a soft shell with shredded cheese.  Rolled inside.  Wait, on the side.  On the side of the plate.  Actually on the plate.  Yes, on the plate with sour cream to dip it in.  No, sour cream on the tortilla.  Okay, cheese on the side with sour cream in the taco.  Got it.  Nope, change of plans.  Sour cream out of the tortilla.  With cheese on the side.  What?  There’s still sour cream on the tortilla?  I can’t get it all out.  Now the tortilla is on the floor.  Now he wants a new tortilla.  With cheese.  And sour cream.  And tomatoes.  What. The. Fuck.

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I just can’t win with this kid.  I am certainly not a rookie Mama but lately, I am feeling like I am flailing through my interactions with this child.  I have no clue what is going to piss him off.  A dribble of milk spills next to his cereal bowl.  He wants cake.  In bed.  He wants me to fit the baseball through the egg-sized hole.  He doesn’t wait to sit in his carseat.  His shirt has a picky part.  His sock has an itchy part.  He wants to crush every Lego ship in the save-spot.  Please don’t hit Mama with the hammer.  Please, Mama!  Hit Mama, please!  Are you kidding me, kid?!

Being a Mama is so hard right now.  Tonight I literally felt like I could have shaken him.  Can they still get shaken baby syndrome at age two?!  I didn’t… But I could have.  I feel like I am on edge.  Like I have some kind of sick mental illness where I try to anticipate things that will piss him off and prevent them so I can alter the future.  You really don’t want to flush the toilet this time?  Really?  But you really like to do it.  Are you sure because if I flush we can’t have a do over.  Okay…  Maybe we’ll leave it for a minute if you change your mind…  What is my problem?  Am I enabling this?

I feel like I am failing him and myself.  And it’s really not fair to my other two.  I get that.  I feel like I used to be so much better at negotiating this kind of stuff but I am really sucking.  Exhausted, depleted, defeated.  Mama is tired of trying.  Tired of the whining, begging, screaming.  Tired of the meltdowns (his and mine).  Beyond tired of the struggle.  When is this going to get better?  I know this is a phase.  But honestly, the next person who says that to me should guard their throat because I’m not sure I can control the urge to punch.  It is a phase but we’ve been in this fucking phase for months now and it’s not really getting better.  I need an intervention.  (Self-medicating with alcohol has proved to be only marginally effective…)

We will overcome.  We will get through this.  The silence tonight is my therapy.  I need peace so that I can convince myself tomorrow will be better; that I will have more patience; that we can make it through this.  I need to hear  all of these things to convince myself I really don’t need to pack that bag and sneak out in the night.  I need to look in on his sleeping sweet face.  I adore this child…  Why does he have to be so fricken adorable?!  They really are cuter when they’re sleeping, huh?

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Peace Mamas.

Mama’s Still on the Wagon. Barely.

Well it’s been five days and I am still on the No Yell Wagon.  There have been a couple close calls but somehow I have managed to hold on by my fingernails.  Pressing my buttons the most these days is my youngest.  The tantrums are pushing me over the edge.  Most frequently, melt downs happen when someone does something irreversible like flushes a toilet, throws something away, someone goes through the door first- you get the idea. When something can’t be undone, we have a situation.  The situation usually includes screaming, repetitive sobs of “No, mama.  No, mama.  No, mama.”  Or, “Me do first.  Me do first.  Me do first.”  This can last anywhere from 10 minutes (never less) to 40 minutes (sometimes longer).  The situation also may or may not include rolling, kicking, throwing, hitting or pushing.  Or pulling clothes.  Which for some reason enrages me.  Why?  I have no idea.  When a child pulls on my clothing as I try to walk away or move, I just about lose my shit.  These situations occur 4-5 times per day lately.

I was in Old Navy a few days ago when a situation came about (He wanted to pull clothes off the shelves and I wasn’t really cool with this so he was strapped into the stroller.)  The screaming lasted the entire time I was in the store.  I needed to finish the errand and couldn’t take time to cool down in the car, outside etc.  As I walked through the store, looking for the last fucking pair of size 7 slims they had in inventory, the screaming became so loud that a salesman approached us an produced a golf ball.  He asked if it would make him happy if he held it.  Yeah, sure dude.  I hope you have dental insurance because I am guessing you’ll need it after he hucks that ball at your chops.  Seriously?  My child doesn’t need a fucking ball.  He needs an exorcism.  And a tranquilizer.  Um, I mean, no thank you.  The sobbing continues.  “Mama, out.  Mama, out.  Mama, out.”  In the check out, we waited for the cashier-in-training to reload the register paper.  Would you like to sign up for an Old Navy card, ma’am?  Really?  You read my mind!  That’s exactly what I want to do right now!  Just like I want to chew through my own arm and beat you with it.  Um, I mean no thank you.  We left the store and I swear I heard applause as the door shut behind us.

Getting into the car, I was forced to use the hold-child-secure-with-elbow-technique while buckling the five-point harness that should have come with a muzzle.  “Mama, peas.  Mama, peas.  Mama, peas.”  I kissed his sweaty, snotty cheek and shut the door.  And stood in the parking lot next to the car.  Wanting to cry because that was really hard.  Because I didn’t think I could make it.  Because that was embarrassing and terrible and stressful and awful.  But also proud that I didn’t freak out.  That I made it.  That I didn’t lose my cool.  Breathe.

I put the stroller in the trunk and got in the car.  The crazed animal looked at me from the back seat, quiet now.  He had stopped crying but looked like he could relapse at any minute.  I sat there, looking at him in the mirror.  Hi, he said.  Hi.  And we smiled.  That moment.  The smile.  The relief.  I can do this.  Breathe.  Want to grab a bagel?  Yes.  Hungry.  Let’s go, little buddy.

So I think we are getting there.  Slowly.  Slowly.  It’s not easy.  And it’s not even getting easier.  But I feel a little better each time I don’t yell.  Maybe one of these days it will be easier.  Or maybe we will get sued because someone eats a golf ball.  Ya never know what tomorrow brings.  Peace, Mamas.