I'd be lying if I said that was the first time. True, that's the worst I've ever seen it. But, definitely not the first time. I've climbed to the top of too many Chick Fil A jungle gyms to drag him kicking and screaming down to go home. We had a few months right before and after he turned three that really, really, tested me. My patience. My frustration tolerance. My ability to refrain from shaking my child. I know that those fits are usually a combination of many things. Kendan being tired and hungry and my being impatient with him are usually the top three contributors to the issue. The majority of the tantrums have cleared up. Thank goodness. True, they are now a rarity but when they do happen .... it makes for the worst day ever!
Just as Kendan's introduction to the age of three was calming down, Damien hit a severe separation anxiety phase. Right at about 17 months I could not put Damien down at all. I could not walk away from him. Not even an inch. He would climb up my leg. Scream (he can rival his older brother.... I promise you). Hit. Freak out. He would lose his mind. It was nearly impossible to accomplish anything. Everything had to be done one-handed while I held a baby in the other arm. Dinner. Dishes. Putting costumes on Kendan. Everything. I couldn't even sit on the floor with him in my arms because he feared I would set him down. If I did not have him in my arms he was letting out a blood-curdling cry at my feet. While I used the bathroom. While I cut his fruit for lunch. While I got us ready for the pool. Always with my begging him to stop. Thankfully, I believe this phase is on its way out. But, just as with Kendan's occasional loss of sanity, I know Damien will sometimes remind of us of this trying time in our lives.
I've been struggling. It has been a very long few months. I've been desperate. Crying in the kitchen while I let my child scream. All he wants is for me to hold him! But, I cannot hold him all the time. It is physically impossible. Believe me, I've tried to put a shirt on while holding him. It cannot be done! Crying in the car after Kendan made the biggest spectacle of himself in public ever. Obsessing over what happened and all the things I did wrong. And the look. The look of disbelief the woman gave me when Kendan went racing back into the store. All the confirmation I needed that I was failing. I worry all the time that the way I handle my children in these critical moments is ruining them. When they need me to remain calm and simultaneously teach them a lesson, make them feel safe, and contain the situation, I cannot always deliver. Sometimes, yes, I handle it as well as anyone! I love those days. Even if it was a hard moment with the boys I take comfort in knowing that I dealt with it properly. But, a lot of the times, I do not handle it well. I become impatient. I begin to raise my voice. I cut Kendan off when he's talking. I yell. I repeatedly ask Damien to stop crying, which makes him cry harder. If we're in public, I panic that we're making a scene and completely lose focus and nerve for what I have to do to rectify the situation. It's miserable. But, it's the truth. We've been struggling.
I really do hope these days will be behind us soon. I hope my children will have less days full of crying. I hope I can have enough good days in a row to rebuild my confidence in my parenting ability. I hope my children know how much I love them even when we are all crying. Out of tiredness. Hunger. Anxiety. Fear. Stress. Being overwhelmed. Or just because we have to have a blue salt water taffy, right now. Mostly, I hope that this post finds somebody else who needed this. A mom. A dad. A friend. Doesn't matter. Just so they know that we all struggle from time to time.