Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Best of Times - The Worst of Times

And no, this has nothing to do with the economy, and everything to do with parenting a TODDLER!
This morning, we had SUCH a Norman Rockwell moment. Kittyboy is not into hugging, apart from stuffed animals and dolls, and not into kissing, apart from flat surfaces and occasionally dolls. Not, "not into" as in he only does it on command, "not into" as in he really just doesn't do it. This morning, Husband brought him in while I was doing my hair, just to say Good Morning. I was trying to get ready for the "mommy and me" picture we were taking at Target this morning. When they were going back out the door, Kittyboy leaned way over towards me, then sat up and signed Please, and then leaned waaaay over towards me with his arms out, reaching. I said, "Oh, you want a hug!" because he does like to get hugs, he just doesn't give them back. I went over and took him, and the first thing he did was put his arms tightly around my neck and his head on my shoulder. I GOT MY FIRST HUG THIS MORNING! FIRST ON-PURPOSE HUG EVER!!! It was soooo sweet, and we cuddled JUST like that for A COUPLE MINUTES even, it wasn't a squeeze-and-push-back, it was a real hug. And it was just the most wonderful thing ever.
But I couldn't have a cliched Dickensian title if the most wonderful thing ever hadn't been followed by the absolute opposite. After Husband went to work, we were still getting ready for the picture. I was dressed, my hair was pretty much done, I was even wearing makeup (which I very rarely do), ALL THAT WAS LEFT was getting Kittyboy into this cream suit that was Husband's years ago, put together a purse, and leave. I started an hour before we had to leave, because I didn't want him staining the suit (did I mention it's CREAM?). And Kittyboy, in a moment of multiple-personality disorder (aka evil toddlerhood) decided he didn't want to get changed. I was interrupting HIS plans for the day, which did not include wardrobe changes.
It took me 45 minutes to put on a shirt, vest, jacket, pants, and shoes. We didn't even do socks, just shoes. He kept throwing himself backwards, this awkward and dangerous-looking maneuver that puts him completely off balance and requires me to catch him so he doesn't go back on his head. He did hit his head once, quite solidly, on the frame of his trampoline, because he threw himself back when I wasn't behind him. It didn't seem to faze him, but it didn't improve his mood either. I think this particular form of resistance is a violent variation on going limp, perhaps, because once he's on the floor, he rolls to his stomach and tries to escape again.
I did win the war, mainly by benefit of persistence. I can't claim superior strength, because in a way, he will always be stronger than I - because he doesn't care if he hurts either of us, while my goal is to keep either of us from getting hurt. It is a bit of a handicap, when you're wrestling a toddler who has great strength and an absolute disregard for his or anyone else's safety. He's slammed his head back against my face before when I was carrying him, because he was mad. (And gee, he's never even taken a self-defense course!)
After this morning, I have a new tactic, inspired by the bonking of his head against the trampoline - what if I just quit catching him? Obviously, direct him so he's not hitting anything that would actually hurt him, no corners or anything, not the metal frame of the trampoline, but what if he started to experience the natural consequence of that action every time he did it? The front and back of the skull are strongest, I read that in a toddler first-aid book, it's the temples you really worry about. Toddler skulls are pretty strong - they have to be, as often as toddlers fall. Were he driving a car, I would NOT be paying his speeding tickets, because he'd be dealing with the consequences of his actions. Maybe if I quit catching him, he'll decide he doesn't like hitting the floor.
So yay, I got a hug! My first ever! And ugh, I had to wrestle baby Samson. It was the best of times!! It was the worst of times!! And he's not even two yet!


donald423 said...

I started reading Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, you might find it helpful.

At the library today--hanging out with K in the youth services, rather than attending the Food Not Lawns planning meeting--I looked up Skippyjon Jones and read the first book. It was cute. And I can see why you named Kittyboy after him!!

Loved the band of chihuahua banditos and all the beans.

Well, Kittyboy isn't even two yet, but looking back it seems like my K's "terrific twos" (as they say) started about Kittyboy's age, lasted through three, and then slowly started tapering off. I'd joke that sometimes the twos come back, but really, that wouldn't be funny. It gets significantly easier as they mature. Just hang in there.

And appreciate the good moments--which, obviously, you do.

What an interesting child. :)

Caeseria said...

We have a stuffed chihuahua named Poquito Tito.
Found that book for eight bucks on Amazon, it's on the list for next paycheck. My mom's getting me a copy of "The Strong Willed Child" too.
Until lately (after 6 months of OT) the only baby book we owned that covered anything to do with raising this particular baby was the Dr. Sears Baby Book, because he had a whole section written about what he called "the high-need baby". Babies who just need more of everything, more movement, more rocking, more carrying, more holding. He said in his opinion (as a pediatrician and father of 8, one of whom was "high need") some babies just plain need more, and those needs should be met no matter how much everyone else tells you that you're spoiling your child. I read that chapter again... and again... and again... It was the only baby book I'd ever read that covered Patrick!

donald423 said...

Sounds about right to me.

> "the high-need baby". Babies who just need more of everything, more movement, more rocking, more carrying, more holding.... some babies just plain need more, and those needs should be met no matter how much everyone else tells you that you're spoiling your child.