And just when I think it can't get worse...
Here we go with a major whinge.
Today I was called, at 10:30 am, to pick up Baby B from school. He had thrown a wooden block at a little girl, and had cut her eye. Today is exactly one week to the day after he hit another little girl in the face and cut her nose. She needed two stitches. It's simply baffling.
The teachers called me into the office and gave me a big lecture on how we need to work together. They asked me, "What are you doing at home to reinforce the lessons at school? What is your DH doing?" and so on. Needless to say, I was in tears by the time they had finished wiping the floor with me, and I left totally determined not to let Baby B get away with this.
As usual, most of his behavior is totally my fault. I get furious and impatient and I have thrown things at home. I too have screamed and have had my share of tantrums. However, I have never chucked a wooden block at someone, catching them in the face, gashing open an eye. Maybe that's because I'm not a very good shot. Whatever. I know Baby B has seen this and I also know he has inherited my moodiness and basic sense of discomfort of self. Perhaps he has also inherited my depression.
Right now he is in an extended time out until he will answer my question, "Do you know why you are bring punished?" Last time I asked he just shrugged his shoulders and whispered, "I don't know." I am supplying the answer for him, "You are being punished because you hit two of your friends in the face. You cut one girl's nose and cut another girl's eye." Until he says it, he's staying where he is.
When I first collected him he was somewhat contrite, but also very happy to see Mama. I asked him why he was so angry and violent at school. He said something interesting, "Everyone is talking and talking and making so much noise that I can't breathe and I can't make them stop."
Hmm. I called the Child Development Center where he had a few tests last fall and asked about panic attacks in four year olds. I had to leave a message, and hope they get back to me. Panic attacks are a logical explanation. It makes sense, at least to me. If he gets stressed, he can't breathe, and then acts out to call attention to himself. Or perhaps to shock others into silence. He is always telling me that Baby A and his endless chatter is hurting his ears. And he did just have tubes put in his ears when he had his Tonsillectomy/Adenoidectomy two weeks ago. It's likely he is still sensitive.
I wonder if he truly doesn't understand that he has hurt these girls. If he doesn't understand I have a lot of work to do over the next week or so to make him understand. If he actually does understand, then I have to wonder why he is not willing to talk about it? Is he ashamed of his actions, or worried about further punishment?
I wrote out a card for him that reads: "There is too much talking and too much noise. I can't breathe. Please help me find a quiet place!" I told him to show this to the people at school. Let's see if it works.
Just last night a girl I know said, "You know, you are exactly like your mother."
There is nothing anyone could say that could hurt my feeling more! I spent all last night, and all this morning (until the phone call from school) worrying about this. If I am like my mother, and I don't like my mother, then I don't like myself. This is very unpromising to my future happiness.
I fretted about the ways I know my mother and I are alike: We both force gifts upon people in a vain attempt to get them to appreciate us. We both act partially out of guilt, partially out of love and partially out of a bizarre feeling of obligation - I must take care of everyone before me!
Both of us are simultaneously intelligent and idiotic. We both like to think we are worthy of respect for the decency we display, but then we make the most caustic and withering remarks, which pulverize any respect in an instant. We both hide and cry when we are in a blue funk (she hides in the bedroom, I hide in the bathroom) and we were both pretty at one point. Well, to be precise, we were both pretty until we had children.
I know our children are another common point: We both can't help but regret having children at all. We both resent the demands those children place and continue to place upon us, and we both feel a strong sense of protection towards those children. In my mother's case, that desire to protect doesn't extend itself to actually
spending time with the children, but I think it's there.
These are our similarities.
We differ in that I admit my mistakes. I actually I wallow in them and I can never forgive myself for the wrongs I have committed. I also do not spank or slap my children, like she used to spank and slap us. Nor do I insult and belittle my children: You are so clumsy/stupid/what's wrong with you/how could you be so idiotic, and so on. I remember those insults and still chafe beneath the labels fat and clumsy, so I will not do this to my two. I can tell already they will have enough emotional trouble. Having a depressed and neurotic mother is a burden in and of itself.
Case in point, if I had, when I was four, injured my classmates as Baby B has done, I would not have been put in a time out. No, I would have been scolded, spanked with a wooden spoon, and been sent up to my room with no supper. Baby B is sitting in a comfy chair, staring at the wall, being bored. I hope it's severe enough, but I can't bring myself to hurt him to make a point.
Yes, there are ways in which my mother and I are very alike, which is not very surprising. After all, I spent eighteen years in her company, every single day. She is a strong willed and demanding person, and, until I was about 25, she always got her way. Yes, that deeply affected the person I am today.
There are many great and wonderful things my parents did for their children: our education, all the traveling, the instillation of a love of good food and wine and music and books and culture. All that is to be lauded and I am grateful for it too. I am hoping my children will reap the same benefits, from a similar childhood. I just don't want the emotional price to be as high as the one I paid.
The emotional price was very, very high. A lot of my parent's behavior to us was unhealthy and crippling emotionally. This is why the comparison of my mother to me is so wounding and hurtful. I hate to think I will torture and cripple and intentionally wound my own progeny in a like fashion.
I don't think I can cry much more today, and still look quasi-decent for this girl party tonight. I weep in self-pity (I'm like my mother! I hate myself!). I weep in frustration (Why is my child so violent and why doesn't he care?) I weep with exhaustion (The same little monster who wallops his friends also kept me awake from 4:00 am until I crawled out of bed at 6:30 with his kicks and snores) and I weep because I don't know what else to do.
I am also crying because I can't stop thinking about the cream cake in the fridge. The effort of NOT eating it is actually causing me pain, and the fact that I am back to obesessing over food again hurts even more.