Friday, 20 November 2009

Doormats have feelings too

I let a swear word fly from my mouth this evening and then stormed into my room slamming the door behind me.

The tooth brushing episode is what started it (at least tonight).

The parenting magazine that I just freshly finished reading seemed to have all the answers for getting a 2 year old's teeth clean. I tried every. single. method in that darn article. It turns out LQ hasn't read the article, though. So despite singing, exclaiming that her teeth were finally clean and were saying "thank you", letting LQ bush my teeth and various other forms of coercion I was still left with a resounding "NO!" from the wet naked child sitting in my bath tub.

With gritted teeth (nicely brushed) I then explained it was time to get out of the bath.

"You can watch Mickey Mouse while you are getting dressed"
"Ok. Time to get out. Bye-bye bath."
"No, No, No"
"One, Two, Three"

And we are out. Out but not down. LQ struggled against the towel wrapping. She thumbed her nose at me when I warned her not to run on the tiles with wet feet.

The swear finally surfaced after LQ spent a few minutes writhing on the floor as I attempted what seemed like an impossible task - clothing a kangaroo on crack.

In my room I pondered on the complexities of my relationship with my daughter. When did I stop being the assertive but loving disciplinarian and start being LQ's doormat?

Does it get any better? From what I have seen there isn't much hope of ever regaining control. My struggles with LQ, it would seem, have only just begun. (Cue music "It's only just begun").

But as I delved deeper into the whys of my reaction this evening, I knew it wasn't only LQ that I have been fighting. I have been fighting and losing to an ever decreasing sense of self. I have been fighting against that last shred of who I once was completely being drowned by the barrage of "NO's" that I get daily.

Who is this woman who only a month ago thought she had it all figured out? Why is this new version of me letting a 2 year old get to me so easily AND walk all over me? Did I really sign up for THIS?

Will I lose my identity completely if more children come along? I don't want to completely lose my self and come out the other end of this child rearing stage of life with a bewildered look and vacant stare. How do I find the balance that is right for me?

AND when I am at the very end of my tether and wanting to do anything but touch and hold my child lovingly, how do I still find joy in motherhood and divinity in my role as mother?

Dal once said that he liked when my blog posts were resolved by the end. All wrapped up neatly and ready for another day. But this time I don't have a resolution. All I have is a mothers fragile psyche and a wedge shoe ready to throw at the next person who dares to walk through the bedroom door.

Note: Dal WAS there helping out where he could and when I lost it he completely took over. Had I been a single mum, LQ would still be running around naked sipping on an energy drink.


DeNae said...

Before I had kids, if someone had told me that a 2-year old could reduce me to tears, I'd have laughed in their faces. Me? I'm the toughest cookie in the jar.

Or so I thought.

The number one thing to remember is there are certain non-negotiables, and the kid doesn't get a vote, period.

Then there are choices with a clearly better option (dry off versus stay wet and cold) but are fine for letting the kid learn for themselves that they prefer the fluffy towel to shivering and wet.

And then there are the choices that don't require much of a fight unless they get out of hand. Kids like to be naked. So let them be naked, until they piddle on the floor or run outside and flash the neighbors.

My friend gave kids a toothbrush with just a little bit of flavored toothpaste on it, and let them just chew on it for a few minutes while they watched a show or something. Called it 'brushing their teeth.' Remember, all these teeth are disposable anyway. Relax, and when it's time to keep the permanent ones healthy, the kids will also be a little easier to reason with about oral hygiene.

Maree Rose said...

I guess I have all this to look forward too. I don't have any advise to give you but I think that by you recognising the kind of mother that you want to be is a big part. I guess the thing about having a child is that you can be treated so badly but that never-ending love you have for your baby will win out every time and you forget these nights more quickly then you would think. You have always been such a strong woman and I know that your strength of character and your determination not to be THAT mother will get you through this.
Not sure but could an electric toothbrush be a novelty..... My god daughter is a bit older but she runs to brush her teeth after 6 months of having this thing. Just an idea xoxo

Misty said...

I feel your pain my friend. What I've learned is to ignore the tantrums. I make it clear that what she's doing is unacceptable and that I'm leaving her alone until she can behave. If she follows me, I just ignore her. It usually works. Sometimes if I know she's tired, then I cut her some slack and talk gently and give her hugs. Other times I just try to understand her and give her choices. I, like you, am a mother work-in-progress so understand just to take one day at a time. Or sometimes you just have to take one tantrum at a time.

As far as the toothbrushing goes, I used to let Piper brush her teeth first and then she would let me have a turn. If that doesn't work, I let her brush my teeth AT THE SAME TIME as I brush hers. She is usually so absorbed with brushing mine that she doesn't even pay attention to what I'm doing.

Misty said...

Also, with the staying naked after the bath, I agree with DeNae to let her go. If she gets things wet or pees on the floor, make her help clean it up. She'll learn really quickly that she has to fix the mistakes she makes because she didn't listen to Mom.

The Damsel In DisDress said...

1. Hang in there through the No Phase. It's hard, but you're tough.

2. I love the pink chair.

3. I laughed out loud at the "kangaroo on crack".

4. Love the post title *lol

Melanie H said...

Oh sweetie, thank you. That is EXACTLY how I feel eight now. I'm so glad to know I'm not alone. Being a mom is HARD. Why did we not listen when people told us that?

Ev said...

All i can say is that i LOVE you and also this made me CRY! Don't have an answer for you but if YOU find it then please let ME know too!!!