Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Who was that crazy woman?

Has anyone seen my cool? It seems I lost it yesterday.

After a good first three days of first grade, Bud had a three-day holiday weekend. By Tuesday morning, he had decided that he wouldn't be returning to school. It started slow - "I'm not going to school today" - and then, over the course of 90 minutes, it built to a loud and emotional crescendo: "I AM NOT GOING! I AM GOING TO EAT YOU! I DON'T WANT TO GO! NO MORE SCHOOL!" Bud resisted physically, digging in his heels, hiding behind the couch, and pulling away forcefully as we tried to pry him out, as the clock ticked and we got later and later for school.

Enter Monster Mom.

I loaded our bags into the car, then marched back into the house and bellowed loud enough to be heard several states away, "BUD-NOS! GET IN THE CAR!"

He stopped in mid-screech and walked to the car with me, dazed and rattled, then dissolved into tears of abject misery. "You're mad at me! You yelled at me!" he wailed, as my anger was quickly replaced by guilt. His tears flowed, his nose ran, and his anguish grew. "You took my iPod! Give it back, Mama! Give it BACK to me!"

Though we were already late, I slunk back into the house to retrieve his iPod, thinking that it might help him get regulated on the drive to school. I grabbed an orange juice box on my way back out as well, hoping that perhaps a little bribery might assuage my guilt.

We drove to school in silence while Bud sulked, listening to his music and drinking his juice, and I silently beat myself up for reacting so ferociously. We arrived late and I delivered him to an already-settled classroom with a murmured "we had a hard morning..."

I spent the day at work wondering if Bud would be speaking to me by the time I got home, and was relieved when I walked in at dinner time and he said, "Hi, Mom! What's up?"

I held my breath this morning wondering if now Bud would now see tantrum-throwing as a regular part of his morning routine. He tested the waters half-heartedly as he got dressed: "I'm not going to school today."

"You need to try again, Bud. We don't want to do that again."

Bud considered his options for a minute, then decided not to risk a re-reun of yesterday. He finished getting ready for school and climbed into the car right on schedule.

I guess sometimes a little crazy goes a long way.


kristina said...

More monster than mom, I'd say.....we'll see what happens when Charlie starts school tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Too familiar, too familiar. But, thankfully, not as common as my self-recriminations tell me. But that guilt does sting. We are currently in a morning 'rut' of mild to moderate protests and petulance. There is a lot of "I DON'T want to!" along the way. But no 'Monster Dad' for about a week and a half.

Anonymous said...

No on is perfect. I think you did what I would have done in the same situation. The pressure to get your kid to school on time is intense, and you have a job where you are expected to be, too.

Screaming at your kid and losing your temper is not a good idea, but it looks like Bud survived it. :-) My kids survived a bit of it, too. They are adults now and seem to love me and not avoid me. I avoided my dad because he was a bully and could be abusive, that's different.

gretchen said...

I find screaming at the top of my lungs to be a very effective parenting tool.

Seriously, it shocks them into compliance sometimes (if you don't scream all the time, that is). They get the message that you are really serious, and that they are making you frustrated. My kids learned the word "frustrated" very early on in life.

"I am going to EAT you"??? Where does that come from?

The 4 J's said...

Yes, you gotta love those holidays and days off that change their routines. Just wait until Thanksgiving break and winter break. Maybe a social story reminding them that they need to go back to school would help.


Anonymous said...

I think life is full of "teachable moments". Losing your temper sometimes is a fact of life. Getting frustated and/or angry is not a "bad" emotion. I think it important for us to teach our children that. It may be good for them to see that even Mom and Dad get upset, and then we calm down.
I also think that if we feel that we have not done right by our kids, that we teach them how to apologize. I think we need to teach kids not to be afraid or ashamed of their emotions. But maybe we need to start with ourselves.

n. said...

an occasionally fierce mother is not a monster.

i think i learned in my family that screaming (in its useful place and time) is a valid means of communication.

n. said...

PS: I was in the same state as Bud after "break", and had to convince MYSELF to go teach my 8am class this Tuesday.

VTBudFan said...

Oh, I thought I had invented the term Monster Mom! (My kids thought so too.) There must be something funny to say here about the song "Monster Mash," but I can't figure it out.

MOM-NOS said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who loses it from time to time.

Gretchen, "Now I'm going to EAT you!" is what Bud says these days when he is very angry. It comes from the story "Pooh's Bad Dream" in which the menacing Heffalump in Pooh's dream levels that threat. Bud typically doesn't like anything even remotely scary, but for some reason he loves that book. I think it might be because the Heffalump looks a lot like an elephant.

Bud's tirade yesterday also included the improvisations "Now I'm going to SCRUNCH you!" and "Now I'm going to HIT you!" Luckily, he's all talk.

Daisy said...

It raises the awareness level, too, doesn't it? Rest easy knowing that despite the rough morning, you are not a monster. You are human, like the rest of us.

The Jedi Family of Blogs said...

Ohh, that brought some memories back... I had some tantrums myself the first year we were dealing with B's OCD. One morning we got all the way to school & he wouldn't go in the door, after seeing some kids go in (the OCD often made it difficult to go through doorways). We got back in the car & all I could imagine was B never going back into the building & the OCD ruling our lives forever... & I just lost it. I screamed until I was crying. B was so shocked he started crying, too. Afterward I apologised & explained that moms don't always know the right thing to do. B said he'd go into school then, but I felt guilty all day. When I "confessed" my behaviour to his psychologist, he said that losing it can be a tool- not one you want to resort to every day- but a useful one in many ways. B survived, I survived, our close relationship survived. I found myself losing it on a semi-regular basis that year, but learning to live with the OCD, finding strategies & supports for coping with it, have brought me to a different place. In fact, when B asks me if I'm angry these days, all I have to say is "I'm not yelling, am I?" & he knows he hasn't crossed the line :) Bless the resilience of kids & wise psychologists (& all the support we get from the members of the village).

Anonymous said...

Yeah. The day a 6 year old tells me they're going to eat me, is the day I crack up and make the situation worse.

MommyTof3 said...

Im dealing with alot of these days it seams-my son has some serious SID issues as well and I cant get him to wear ANYTHING but two pairs of pants and 4 shirts!!!Wont wear ANY of hsi new school clothes-that HE HELPED PICK OUT!!!GRRR-even if we have agreed to something the night before-its STILL a big ordeal-and dont even get me started abt the socks-LOLOL. Dont be too hard on yourself-mornings I think are our hardest here too:)

Anonymous said...

I think all of us lose it with our kids. I used to tell my kids that I am only human, and I get to make mistakes too.
The latest dolly I had in my class used a pictoral countdown so she knew she had 'x' number of days of school, and then 2 at home. We talked for days ahead of a long weekend so she was okay with it. Maybe ask Mrs. Parker if she could give you the timetable so that Bud knows that Wednesday is gym day, or Thursday is music and then he has something he likes to look forward to. It seemed to alleviate a lot of Dolly's stress when she knew what was coming. ( You can tell me to be quiet any time...) Just a thought....for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

No one likes the hard fall as we tumble from our parent pedestals, but it happens once in awhile. Owen has seen me in my less than stellar moments, and we have both recovered nicely.
Bud's a hot ticket!! I love the funky things he comes up with!

Kaethe said...

I like the idea that my kids are learning both how to be angry and how to get over it. The Possum got blasted this morning for playing with her sister after she put on her clothes, but before she brushed her teeth and hair, handed me the clip and asked me to fix her hair, washed her face, put on socks, found her shoes, put on her shoes, put her homework in her school bag, put her lunch in her school bag and put on her jacket.

Sheesh. I get a little testy. I blow my top. Then, when she has acknowledged her wrongdoing, I make it a point to let it go, to move over to a new topic.

Often in times of great frustration I respond with fierce but silly threats. "If you do not settle down right now I am go to eat your ears off like a chocolate bunny." We all laugh and they usually do what I ask.

JenF said...

Ahhh Silly is my friend. Just yesterday I told my NT 4 year old to get out of the fridge (he was standing IN it) "before somebody eats you!". I've used a similar line on Ky - stop jumping on the food counter, Ky, or someone may eat you! (at Taco Bell) - The cashier thought this was the funniest thing ever... Ky just looked at me and said "why would they eat me mommy?" but the jumping stopped :o)

Anonymous said...

aw, honey, as monster mommy moments go, that was pretty mild! good for bud for getting right back on track. fluffy has been saying a lot of wild sometimes funny things when he's mad, even saying what i think is, 'harumph' in this snorty voice. i have to smile behind my hand.