When it was time to pick Henry up from daycare I hid in the car and made Nick go in. After my embarrassing public display of emotion earlier in the day, I needed some more time before I could face Henry's teachers. When the boys got to the car, Henry had a sheepish look on his face and as soon as he saw me launched into his prepared apology, "I'm really sorry I made you cry mommy".
I had volunteered to be a parent chaperone on the field trip to see Seseme Street Live that morning. This was my first mistake. My second mistake was wearing heels.
Henry is an angel at school. He always obeys the rules and he never fusses or misbehaves. This is not true, however, when I'm added to the mix. He refused to listen to his teachers and clung to my leg the entire morning. He yelled that he wanted to go home and whined to be held. He was not impressed with Elmo's singing and on the walk back to the daycare center he laid his body on the floor and screamed to be carried. It was an epic battle that ended with me carrying Henry four blocks in my three-inch heels.
I was so beat down from the ordeal that upon our return I broke down in front of Henry's teachers and the entire administrative staff. I sobbed that I couldn't take it anymore and that I didn't know how to deal with my son. I sobbed that I wanted to have more children, but I didn't think I could do it, because the one I have is so out of control. Then I cried because I was so embarrassed for crying.
They whisked Henry away, gave me a box of tissue and some reassurance that I wasn't the only mom they've seen have a meltdown.
I really try to do everything right. I give acceptable choices, I get down to his level, I follow through on my threats, I use timers, reward charts, praise good behavior and everything else the books tell me to do. And yet... my kid can be such a monster, at times, that I completely lose it. Then it's me acting like a three-year old, slamming doors and yelling, "you're ruining Christmas, god dammit!!"
As I buckled Henry into his car seat, I kissed him on the cheek and thanked him for being sorry. Nick handed me a book called, The Challenging Child attached with a note from Henry's teacher telling me that she hoped I found it helpful. I kind of want to sell all of my parenting books and buy a one-way ticket out of here, but instead I'll read it and count the days until he is four. He'll be more reasonable then, right?