Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The Brink
I can count on one hand the number of times that my mother let me down. The number of times she over-reacted, spoke too harshly, cursed, scared me into obedience. One. Hand.

Today, I had to apologize to my four year-old son, because I'm exhausted. Because my patience only wears so thin. Because, even if he doesn't understand why I said I was sorry, I know that I let myself down. Because...he deliberately pooped in his pants and then looked at me with moon-eyes and told me it was an accident.

And, even though I know that it has to be a reaction to suddenly being a big brother to two siblings, a reaction to suddenly not being the only son, to being my errand boy, to the pressure of being big and reliable - all the time. Knowing all this - with an infant crying and his sister squirting glitter glue all over the kitchen table, her fingers, her arms, her cheeks - I simply could not deal with being lied to, or, worst of all, the warm, stinky, poop in his underwear on my bathroom floor.

I. Snapped.

Into the shower he went - because I know the shower terrifies him. And as he cried and begged to be let out, I went on a verbal rampage. No cursing, but if those were the sort of words that were somewhere in the default of my arsenal, they would've come out, I'm sure. I was blinded by exhaustion and rage and that awful smell - and I just lost it.

It was the sort of anger that happens rarely, and when it does, I know better than to do any disciplining. It's "go to your room for a few minutes while Mommy calms down" sort of anger. Unfortunately, when your child is standing before you with smears of feces on his skin, there's no option but to deal with the situation in hand - anger and all.

And I failed.

My mom assures me that she had these exact moments when I was four. That she sat me on the couch and screamed that if I wanted to leave, I could just leave. That she too had been to the brink and wondered if she'd crossed it. And, you turned out ok, didn't you? She asks.

Did I?

Of course, I did. Of course.

This too shall pass.

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Blogger Skye said...

I hear you, Mella. Been there. The most exhausted I've ever been is when I had a five-year-old, a two-year old, and a baby. We all lose it on occasion; the important thing is the apology. You are doing just fine.

Blogger Novice said...

Oh, I know that day. I hate feeling that way, too, but I console myself with the knowledge that he probably won't remember it as an adult. And if he does, someday he will probably be a parent and he'll forgive you then.

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