I am so freaking proud of myself.
It’s the end of summer vacation. There’s no more camp, no routine. Sleep and wake schedules are wacky. These kids are kind of dysregulated.
And, Oh, they were terrible. They were at each other’s throats. There was pulled hair and pushing and scratching and someone even farted on someone else’s face.
Some of this was in public. People with quiet and obedient children looked on disapprovingly. People with no children looked frankly disgusted.
Yes, limits were set and yes, consequences were delivered.
But I didn’t lose my sh*t today, and I’m so relieved.
Because I have been losing my sh*t a lot lately. I’ve screamed at them so loudly I gave myself an instant migraine. Then they scream at each other and us, and I wonder where they learned that. Duh!
But months have gone by and I would still lose it, every day practically.
Then this weekend I saw a sort of desperate post on my doctor-mom Facebook group (a wonderful source of support, for any doctor-moms out there who aren’t on there already). The post was something like, Oh my god, I keep yelling and screaming at my kids and it doesn’t help and I hate myself and what can I do to stop? I need help!
I was like, Woman, I am SO there with you!
Just reading that blatant admission, from a physician, with a name on it, made me feel so much better. I scrolled through the hundreds of comments, all supportive, with many equally desperate admissions, validation, reassurance, and suggestions. I pored over it my whole commute home, and then more later in bed. I reached a new level of resolve. I decided: OK, I got this.
So today. Hubby was out the door by six a.m. to catch his flight. School hasn’t started yet, and we had nothing on the agenda for my day off.
First thing, I told both kids that I was going to try very, very hard not to yell, scream, spank, or lose my mind with them. Literally, I told them that. I asked them to please be kind and gentle with each other and with me in return. They nodded solemnly and we had a warm group hug.
We started out at the animal shelter, in the cat room. I gave the kids my phone to take photos of the adoptable cats, which quickly deteriorated into silliness, see below. That last one is, I believe, my son’s hard palate and tonsils.
No biggie. I grabbed my phone back and we went back to our good work. Next stop, back home, so I could log into work and Babygirl could get a better breakfast. There, over some perceived inequality, they wrestled, clawed at each other’s faces, one-upped each other with name-calling (You wear poopy diapers! Oh yeah, well you smell like cat pee in a garbage can!), destroying of prized artwork, flinging yogurt from spoons, et cetera.
I decided to get them outside and so we went for a bike ride around the nearby duck pond. It was hot. Babyboy decided he would only ride if I held the bike steady for him (it has training wheels). Babygirl got dehydrated and melted down. A quarter of a mile took two hours. We all needed cold drinks and sustenance, and I didn’t want to take them home.
So, Farmer’s Market. Water bottles and fresh fruit, refreshing! and they behaved well enough that I agreed to take them to the YMCA pool.
That’s where Babyboy had a rather violent meltdown, kicking me, splashing me in the face, shoving Babygirl’s head under the water. That was after he threw a fit in the locker room, refusing to change, screeching and howling and crawling out from under the stall.
But, somehow I kept remembering that desperate post, and I kept my cool. There was alot of forced separation, time-ins (firm hugging of your violent child while murmuring I love you, but I can’t let you gouge your brother’s eyes out), time-outs, and removal of favorite toys (ALL the Legos. ALL of them).
And… the night ended well enough. They didn’t buck bedtime. We honored bedtime story requests for both kids. They were asleep by 8:30 pm.
Me, I’ve been working on the computer for almost three hours, and I feel pretty good. No migraine. Damn proud.