Toddler vs. mid life crisis

I’m participating in a play reading this Sunday at a very nice Caribbean restaurant that also doubles as a performance place.  I’m really happy to be a part of it, since all that I have to do is commit to it and show up with no responsibility for running the company.  It’s about all I can do these days. We’re doing Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson.  Fantastic play and it’s great to be a part of it.  I haven’t much time to work on it because these days my son won’t leave me alone.  And I mean that literally.

I’ve  been struggling with my son’s behaviour – or rather my reaction to his oppositional behaviour lately.  I feel really responsible for it because of my depression and all the tension.  He’s been dropping his afternoon naps lately, which results in hyper/whiny behaviour in the late afternoon which totally gets on my last nerve. And now he’s starting to pee on the carpet whenever I leave him alone (like go in the other room).  Same spot every time, and usually after I’ve just told him “NO”  or barked at him for some reason or another.  He only does this with me and it’s usually when he hasn’t had a nap but since that is becoming the norm, then what do I do? Sometimes if we’re out, he will fall asleep in the car, and then I just park outside my house with a cup of tea or coffee and have something to read for a while.  I used to take him into his room but these days that only wakes him up screaming and crying to be out of his room.  And then it’s downhill from there.

I crave separateness at the precise moment where he literally starts crawling on me.  I’ve literally been chased all around the house.   The more people want of me, the more I withdraw.  My whole life has been about connection and yet now all I crave is to be left alone.  And then it hits me, how when I used to hit a wall, I could dig deeper and find compassion and patience.  I’ve been neglecting my Buddhist practise.  Just a symptom of all the things I’ve let slide lately.  I have withdrawn emotionally from those who are close to me, shutting down and only reacting.   The therapy is really helping me talk things out and I’m beginning to find my fighting spirit again.  Unfortunately, my money tree is bare so I told the therapist I’d have to call her when I get some more money again.  Friggin’ hell.  Just when i find someone really good but she doesn’t have the right initials after her name for the insurance company to cover it.

I now realize that my withdrawing, short fuse and general crabbiness  (hey, most working people get some sort of lunch break) has caused my child  to act up and run eagerly to push all of my buttons in that intuitive 2 3/4 yr old way.  Instead of really providing my undivided attention, I practically run the other way because I’m exhausted by the afternoon.   Even when I try to sneak to the other room to catch a bit of my soap, he runs in and turns the TV off because he wants me to watch HIS shows on HIS TV with him. It’s no wonder I was starting to feel like a hostage.  (And then DH walks in and wants to know what’s for dinner.)  Picture me turning on the TV with my remote and him hitting the power button with his tiny finger – again and again and again.  Even my beloved naughty chair technique which was working like a charm before, was not working so well as I was using it far too much.

We would both benefit with a schedule on the days we don’t have anything scheduled.  I need to find him active things to do, arrange play dates or something else that we can both enjoy.  I’ve find it so far challenging to arrange play dates when you are dealing with other people’s schedules/nannies/ neighbourhoods.  So instead of enduring his demands for this or that video, or clinginess, I am watching for signs of fatigue or hunger more diligently( cues for incessant whining and crying)  and finding ways to run off his ample energy,  utilizing interactive play or even enlisting him in helping mummy with chores.  True, is it not a particularly  effective means to cleaning, cooking or whatnot, but as someone very wise pointed out to me, it’s those simple moments that can bring joy and make good memories.  We even made chocolate chip cookies.  And Boo doesn’t particularly like chocolate chip cookies, but he had fun cracking eggs and spooning out the batter.  I think I even managed to like it.

I had to point out to DH that the reason I didn’t register him for any fall classes was because of all the talk of moving.  I had no idea where we were going or when.  So it looks like that is going to be put off a while.  Cause of my delicate condition so to speak.

And we’re also planning on going away for our anniversary next month.  But that’s a whole other post.

3 thoughts on “Toddler vs. mid life crisis

  1. Yes: I totally relate to feeling like I want to run away (and when my husband gets home at 8 at the earliest, my daughter is a night owl and I haven’t had any alone time in 12 hours) I want to hole up somewhere and eat room service. Esperanza had a good post about feeling “spent”: I really related to it.

  2. Oh man, I have zero experience with this but it sounds all encompassing. Hoping things get easier and hopefully once holiday season is over you are able to register him in some things in January.

  3. those late afternoon hours, especially with no nap, oh I can relate.
    sometimes I have to remind myself just to just breathe, deep.

    J quit her afternoon naps about a month or so ago, just decided she was done. some days she reeaally needs it yet refuses, and it makes for a verrrry long day. now with Z it’s even more complicated because J can wake her with one wail. SO, the rule around here is, “quiet time” during Z’s nap. she won’t necessarily stay in her room, but I limit what she can do out in the main room to quiet activities. when it works — which is not always — it also allows me time to breathe, check email, start dinner, etc. I can’t focus long enough to get much work done, but she understands I can’t play for a little while. sometimes we’ll read or paint first.

    if that doesn’t work for you, some outings when the weather allows are a good idea — playground, park, whatever. but you’re headed into cold/wet. are there indoor play areas there? even just get out for a coffee or something, and have him bring a toy.

    ok, enough assvice. it sucks, it’s hard work, and sometimes patience wears thin. (as an aside, we did a reading for J when she was born and asked how our charts intertwined with hers — and whether there was something we could do to help support her, given our personalities, etc. — and I was told I’d need to really be patient with J. uh, yup.)

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