Some days are good Momma days and some are not.
That’s the bargain in becoming a parent; no one is ever guaranteed that your life with small children is going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time. In fact, most days are poo-filled and spent keeping toddlers occupied and safe. Small kidlets, especially those of the boy variety, tend to have this dare-devil complex. They like to test their boundaries, push their limits, and fight what anyone with authority tries to tell that what’s right.
My children are no exception to this. For all I know, they might be the only ones who do this.
Today is a not so fabulous Momma day. Today I sat in my car in a dirty gas station in a super bad part of town (in non-politically correct terms, the ghetto) trying not to cry my eyes out.
Luke has this habit of squeezing Reagan really hard. Like, really hard. He does it when he’s mad, when he’s happy, when he’s excited, when he’s frustrated. He uses her poor arms as a way to release any kind of emotion that he has bottled up in his skinny little body. She has scratches and bruises up and down her arms to show as battle wounds.
Today was the last straw. I had buckled Reagan in her car seat, Luke had partially buckled himself in his car seat, and I was loading groceries into the back of the car. During the time that I was occupied, he had unbuckled himself and proceeded to squeeze Reagan so hard that she was screaming. Typically when this happens, she’ll cry for a minute or two, but not this time. This time she screamed and pleaded because her arm hurt so bad. She didn’t want to move her arm and wouldn’t hold it up for me (I was driving already now). At this point, I was concerned that her poor arm had been broken.
Her arm isn’t broken, but she does have a fairly serious war wound on her forearm and I have a serious case of Mommy Guilt happening right now.
I am worried for the safety of my daughter. I am so angry at my son. And I hurt for both of them.
Someone recently asked me: How were Luke’s Terrible Twos? In all honesty, I don’t remember. Reagan was new and a super-tough baby. She screamed and was unhappy more often than not. If that same person would ask me today how four is, I could resoundingly say a challenge. It’s hard when you love this little person you helped to create so much, but you feel like you are failing at teaching them how to be a respectable human being.
Between the Husband and I, we’ve tried time outs, taking away things he loves, squeezing him back, long talks about making good choices and being nice to his sister, rewarding him for good behavior, and even spanked him a time or two.
What am I missing? Is there some chapter of the Motherhood Manual that I missed along the way? Do you have any other helpful suggestions that might help him to understand he can’t hurt his sister? I don’t want to end up looking like this every time we go out in public:
This is not how I Luke or myself to remember his childhood. How do I make this better?