Jake is wonderful. Jake is perfect. Jake is also entering a whole new territory of behavior that blows my mind and makes me want to scream sometimes.
He hits, pushes, points his finger at people and yells at them (particularly smaller children who get scared and start crying at his display of authority), and officially knows the word “No!”
He also pets my head like a cat and mumbles sweet nothings while he strokes my hair. So like, I can’t be mad at him.
But there are times. And one of those times caught me off-guard the other night.
Usually after Mark gives Jake a bath, I claim my spot in the rocking chair, and toss pajamas that I picked out to Mark to get him dressed. But the other night, Mark claimed the rocking chair seat, and told me it was “my turn” to get him dressed. I used my usual “It’s my night off” excuse (that I always try and it never works). Nonetheless, I needed to get the kid in pj’s.
I called him to come to me.
“Get your naked butt over here, silly boy!”
“No!” He then proceeds to run to the furthest corner of his room.
Finally, I get him, lay him down in front of me, and the kicking starts. And the flailing starts. And I only have seven arms, I can’t hold everything down. Every time I get a limb successfully clothed, it escapes in a burst of frenzy.
And then I snapped.
I don’t even understand what happened. I just got up, slammed his door, went to my room, slammed my door, and sat on my bed while i had an anxiety attack.
I felt like the worst mom. Who freaks out like that in front of their kid? What kind of mom can’t get their kid in pj’s?
A couple minutes later, I heard crying, and Mark left his room. He had put him in his crib to go to sleep.
We were both worn out and tired of his behavior. But I knew we couldn’t send him to bed like that.
I felt a surge of patience, and went into his room, picked him up, and held him.
I grabbed a book, and we pointed at pictures and turned pages together.
Then he slipped out of the room and started going downstairs.
Mark started laughing as he realized I had given in to Jake’s persistence.
And we all snuggled on the couch and watched Inside Out till like, 10pm.
I’m realizing parenting isn’t all about perfect boundaries and schedules and routines. It isn’t about being perfectly patient and composed. Our kids are going to see us face our weaknesses. Our kids are going to see us make mistakes. And sometimes they will deal with things that aren’t fair.
But I think if we can accept that, then parenthood is so much more fulfilling.
Sometimes, it’s okay to let your kid stay up late with you.
Sometimes, it’s okay to have snacks in bed.
Sometimes, it’s okay to lose our minds. As long as we recover and apologize and make up for it.
We really shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Parenting is hard! Adulting is hard!
So here’s to mistakes, I guess!