Yesterday T and me, we went shopping. I had not been in awhile and although the freezer selection of meat was fine, I had run low on lunch supplies. Side dishes. And I needed some more fish. And the Top Sirloin Roasts and Steaks, they were on for a great price. So I had to. But this is not about my shopping trip or the fact I overspent once more but got a ton of Air Miles, not this, this is about T.
On the way to the store, T found the old wipers I had taken off of the car and replaced last weekend. He was pretending that one was a gun. Our drive is approximately 5 minutes. During that time he killed I do not know how many bad guys, all the while with a running commentary so that I was kept safe.
No problemo. Get to the store and there is a small rule I have. This is where I work. Please do not run amok and act like a moron. In other words, for the 20 minutes it will take us to shop, please pretend that you are an alien who is inhabiting my child’s body; who watched Miss Manners while trying to learn our culture. Alas, it was not meant to be. There were bad guys everywhere.
I stopped to grab vitamins. Requested that T stay with the cart. Turn around and who is behind be? Sans cart? T! I roll my eyes and ask where the heck the cart is. Here mom, I moved it two rows over, it is safe here. The logic of a 9 year old boy.
My eyes got a great workout while we were shopping. I was rolling them. Hissing his name every 30 seconds it felt like as he whipped around corners. I get gargling my threats, as I silently shrieked watch out at him. He was immune to my silent glares. I apologized to so many customers that he almost sideswiped.
In T’s defense, he was using the cart as a shield and attacking the bad guys. He was keeping the shopping world safe.
Realized that I forgotten butter. Made him promise not to move from the bakery section. Came back to find him in the meat department visiting with the lobsters.
I explained to him that despite his apparent dislike for grocery shopping that the more he misbehaved the more times he was going to have to come with me. He stared at me like I had grown three heads and I could suddenly see the hamsters achurnin’. How much worse would he have to be before I would stop making him come? I quickly shut those hamsters up by explaining that until such time as he can act like a human being, he will be continuing to shop with me.
This goes against everything T has been taught. Behave badly and get what you want. Yell and scream, mom or dad will let me go out. Not now. Mom and dad are on the same page. No more bad behaviour. And it is my responsibility not to beat a dead issue, to ensure that when I release him into the world, that he knows how to behave as a member of society.
We got to the till and T takes off with the bags while I am unloading. I stand up and wth? Where did he go? My supervisor found him and I am again hissing at him. I must have sounded like a snake half the time. Get over here with the bags please. Sent him off to get me a flyer. Turn around and he is sitting down with two bags and the flyer.
My supervisor bagging is chortling to herself. She is newly married. I looked at her with a raised eyebrow and gave her my best advice ‘avoid children at all costs.’
We finally got out of there and home. T helped by carrying in the two lightest bags on his windshield wiper bow. Than he was off. I was texting with a friend and grumbling to him about the behaviour in the store when he stopped me dead in my tracks:
‘Jay he is a 9 year old boy being a 9 year old boy. Hopped up on sugar and grocery shopping with his mom. Of course he was obnoxious.’
And there you have it. Sudden shift of perception. He is not even a human being at the moment. He is a 9 year old boy who sees bad guys and guns everywhere. Trucks and cars and loud noises are his forte. Fart jokes and things like ‘why did the girl fall off the swing? ‘Cause she was dead!’ sends him into spasms of laughter.
No matter how often I cringe, the words balls, nuts, etc are now a part of the lexicon in my household. And not by choice.
Yes it is my job to make him that alien who can go shopping, but it is also my job to let him be this alien who is a rambunctious child filled with joy and innocence for as long as I am able.
T came back to me Tuesday after school this week. I drove a friend to the airport on Sunday and than drove home, not along my intended route but hey, I got home in one piece and I will not be anxious doing this again. However that is departures not arrivals. LOL. Monday evening something had come up and as M the ex is beginning a new job next week, one that is going to be nights, he was okay with keeping T the extra day for me.
Monday was no school and T and his dad were hanging out. I have had two different versions of the same story, sorta. It involved clothing and not listening. Again a 9 year old who believes that he knows everything. Due to this, the halloween costume that T wanted was taken away. He did not care. Rapidly, he lost television and computer privileges. Halloween was cancelled, he no longer wanted to go out. I was a little lost but I text K2 (babysitter and friend extraordinaire) and let her know what was going on. Figured that she would get the story out of T and help him see things from a non-confrontational parent-child way.
Sure enough Tuesday I received a call at work from K2 telling me that we were going to be going trick or treating after all. T had started to get excited when he saw the girls dressing up. So he donned mask and cape and off the six of us went. K2 and her hubby, her two girls, T and me. The kids had a blast. Big bags full of candy. Went out for about an hour and a half. On the way home, T admitted to me that while he had fun, it was not as much fun as when you were wearing a costume that you actually wanted to. I figure that without meaning to M2 has taught T a message loud and clear here.
Let us fast forward now to Wednesday. There has been some whining in regards to the use of the computer. The watching of Youtube. I was laying on the couch reading keeping an eye on what T was watching on one hand and the time on the other. It was shower night.
Who knew that showering could be such a difficult concept for a 9 year old boy. Let alone it took me longer to get into the bathroom and start the shower for him than it did for him to shower. 1 minute people, he took 1 minute to wash his body and hair and than he was out. Being environmentally friendly he tells me, I have my suspicions though that he might only stick a toe under the water. I will investigate further and let you know. And now the battle begins.
I had told him before he went in to shower, that his time on Youtube was done for the evening. When he returned 2 minutes later, he went to get on the computer. I said, no Youtube time is done for the night. And he sat down in front of the computer. We than engaged in a 45 minute standoff.
At one point I decided enough was enough so I gathered up phone, kindle and with the cats following, turned the living room light out and crawled into my bed. T followed as well. And layed down at my bedroom door and proceeded to continue his howling. For he was bored. Nothing I suggested was good enough. He wanted his electronics.
Did I really want a bored unhappy kid on my hands or did I want a happy bored kid on my hands? If I did not relent, he was going to take the school bus home to his dad’s. I said alright, I will text and let your dad know. He will just bring you back to me. He was dumpster bored. Despite his explaining that level of boredom I still do not understand. I did though offer to take him down and let him sleep out in the dumpster in our parking lot overnight, and we could revisit the dumpster boredom level this morning. That idea was shot right down.
We even did the countdown of how much time I was wasting for him. By not allowing him to have his own way. I video taped part of it and sent to his father and a few of my girlfriends. I had to. It was all I could do not to laugh as he caterwauled and screamed. Every so often when he paused for breath I would ask if he was done. When he said no, I allowed him to continue. Finally he wound down and I asked if he was able to listen and hear what I had to say.
T did. Until I reached the part about how his actions have consequences and boom, he is off and running again. Finally I had enough. It was after 9, I had been listening for 45 minutes and was done. I indicated to T it was bedtime and he should go to his bed as I was going to sleep. Oh yes, more screeching and hollering.
I got out of bed and he danced back into his room. So there is the I no longer have to push him into his room, he goes when I get up. And I closed my bedroom door. I was not going to fight with him. I was not going to yell at him. I told him I loved him but it was time now for bed, and as this was my time, I did not have to listen any longer.
There was a little more screaming and sobbing like I had driven over his imaginary best friend, and now I was stressing. All I could think was my upstairs neighbors have now called the RCMP. Awesome. But I had a plan, I was going to make T answer the door and explain that all the screaming was because I would not allow him to watch electronics. Figured I was safe but did go in and mention the possibility to T. With severe protests that the RCMP would not be coming, T began to calm. Eventually he fell asleep.
When he awoke this morning, it was all good. Not cranky. Not upset. We talked and he agreed he was again in the wrong with his behaviour. Rather, I asked did he think that he deserved to watch Youtube this morning and he agreed he did not. Also in agreement that this behaviour would not be repeated. Offered to let him watch the video. T declined. There will be a viewing prior to his returning to his dad’s for next week.
And I told him I was keeping this video until he got married. I want him to have to explain to everyone he knows, and his newly extended in-laws, just what dumpster boredom is all about.
The way that I am feeling is in part a response to T crying for his dad last night.
For my inability to see beyond my own ego and knee jerk reaction of being hurt oh yeah that is a big factor.
Because I feel like such a fraud. That I am not really a good mom. I am not even a mediocre mom.
I come home from work, I make us dinner. I clean up, I get T’s lunch for the next day ready. I check to make sure everything has been taken out of his knapsack. Finally, I get to take my uniform off put my jammies on, wash my face and sit on the couch. T is on the computer as usual. I usually flip through Netflix throw something on and read or check messages on my phone.
I head to bed about 8:30, exhausted from my day. From being on all the time. From all the smiling and talking. I have nothing left to give to T but my kind indifference. I love him I do. I am not sure I am the right mom for him.
I want to be that mom who is there for everything. Who is able to stay home and care for her child and be there to volunteer at school. The mom who makes the arts and crafts projects that her child wants to make. Baking fresh cookies. Making dinner with all the four major food groups. But that is not the reality of my life.
My life is tiring. My anxiety is beginning to creep up again and I know why. The weather is changing so there is less sunlight. Less sunlight means less vitamin d. Less vitamin d leads to a plummet in my moods which even my meds cannot help to balance out. So I added vitamin d into my daily vitamin regime and am waiting for my energy to kick in at home. Not only during the eight hours that I am at work.
I am finding it more and more difficult to relate to T. His life is nerf guns and Scrap Mechanic. Watching videos of people playing videos. I do not know how to talk to him. I ask questions and bug for answers. He answers briefly before shutting me out. Again that is my fault.
So I need to change. Changing my behaviour will lead to a change in T’s behaviour. No more supper before the computer and t.v. Off the computer and electronics from 8:30-9 during which time T and me will play cards or talk about what is going on.
I cannot continue to follow this path. It is hurting me and hurting T. I want more than anything to be a mom that T knows loves him so much even if I cannot be and do all the things I want to for him. That is all.
Just that he knows I love him.
I worry a lot……I worry about work I worry about paying bills and most of all I worry about T. I worry I do not do enough I worry that I am not there enough I worry that I am not showing him enough love or time. I worry non-stop that I am failing him as a mom. Will there ever come a time when I can look at my child and say I have given him my all or will I always worry that I could give him so much more. He is my sun and my moon. He is why I get up in the morning and laugh. He is a dream come true and I am lucky to have him……But I shall always worry that I am failing him.
Written by me Oct. 13/16
The above popped up on my FB memories Friday. As I read over it, my heart ached for how vulnerable and scared I was. How as I began to walk the twisted path of my depression, I could not see where I was headed. But this tells me. However, that is not what this blog is about.
I no longer worry that I am going to fail T. I do worry that I let him spend too much time on the computer either watching Youtube or playing his Scrap Mechanic or Minecraft. I worry that I don’t make him read enough but on the other hand I do not want to make him hate reading. I do worry that I don’t talk to him enough although he reassures me all the time that I talk more than enough for both of us.
As a mom, my main job besides loving T is to turn him into a semblance of a productive member of society. Which means laying down some ground rules. Teaching him responsibility. Disabusing him of the notion that he and he alone matters in the world. I try to open his eyes to the differences around him so that he sees people and lives, nothing else.
I have taught him a fair share of my bad habits as well. He is sarcastic. He always has to have the final word. He likes to procrastinate. Whether he realizes it or not, he likes words which is a bonus in my book. (By the way, the word thing not a bad habit)
Overall, as I look at the young man T is growing into, I am fairly confident that he is going to turn into that productive member of society that I want him to be. There are still going to be some struggles ahead (I mean c’mon, he is a boy about to go into puberty and yeah, how do I handle that one?) so you may want to check back with me in a year or so to see if I am still writing and singing his praises.
T began school on Wednesday. The above picture was taken before we left for school. He was grinning when he came out of his class and I was there to greet him. He said he had had a good day. I was encouraged given that T is not a huge fan of the education process. He read 51 pages in his new Dogman book Wednesday evening. Even more encouraging. And he went to bed like a champ.
Thursday did not have an auspicious beginning. I was up and down all night long. My hips and lower back were killing me. (I have since discovered the reason why) And so finally at 4 a.m. or so I rolled out of bed. Made a pot of coffee and sat down to try and be productive. But I could not focus. My head felt woozy and I ached everywhere. It got to such a point that I went and laid down on the couch curled into myself as I tried to get warm.
T had wanted me to walk him to school but that was not going to happen. I felt like I could not walk all the way to his school, as I was hobbling around my hips screaming in agony and my lower back felt as though something was reaching in and twisting all the muscles upside down and knotted. I took two extra strength Motrin and began to have some mobility in my legs. I hopped in the car to do my grocery shopping and a Wal-mart run.
By the time I got home it (and at this time I was still not sure what it was) my good feeling had worn off. I unpacked the groceries and left off portioning out the meat until today. Laid down on the couch and hauled the blanket over top of me. And fell asleep. I did awaken once but still tired, went back to sleep. The next time I woke up I was freezing. Ice cold. My teeth were chattering, my body shaking. I could not believe I had the flu but there you have it, I did.
T came home Thursday and dropped off his bag and went out to play with his friends. A good time was had by all and T even came inside and spent the majority of his evening with me. Went to bed without an problems. And than it began.
‘Mom, do I have to go to school tomorrow?’
‘Yes you do.’
‘But I want to stay home with you. I don’t want to go to school.’
‘Why not? What is going on tomorrow you don’t want to do?’
‘Nothing I just need a long weekend.’
‘No, you are going to school.’
And the crying began. I am positive that he cried himself to sleep. I too fell asleep. And began the night from a really bad place. It was not hell like but it was not good. I was up and down, freezing and hot. My body was still all achy. The cats finally had enough of my tossing and turning and moved to the other side of the bed. At 3ish or so, I awoke and thought I can’t handle this any more. I reached down and pulled up the fluffy blanket that I have at the foot of the bed. I never use it. Still aching I decided on more Motrin and hobbled to the kitchen for them and a swig of Pepsi. I had a sugar craving. When I went to get back in bed I realized how cold it was and turned on the heat. Yes I turned on the heat, pulled on a sweat jacket and crawled back into bed.
At 6 a.m. T’s alarm went off and I rolled over. I was coated in flu sweat, my sweat jack sodden, my hair was even wet. I rolled out of bed and turned the heat off. Went in and shook T to get up. Turned his alarm off as it was still blaring. He got up and was in a great mood. Right up until 8 a.m. when I made him get off computer and brush his teeth. I realized that I did not hear the water and told T to get in there. That is when he said he was not going to school today.
I did not handle the situation well. I could say it is because I am tired, I have the flu, I am a million and one things, but pissed off for this one. T kept saying he wanted to spend the day with me. Why did I not want to spend the day with him? I tried the explanation thing, to no avail. And than he began to cry and whine. He did not want to go to school. He wanted to spend the day with me. All in a whiney voice as he snorted back his snot his eyes kinda shiny with tears.
I told him I did not take kindly to the manipulative tactic he was attempting to use on me. I told him to get his sweater on. More crying. More whining. I told him to get his shoes on. More crying. More whining. Are you sensing the theme here?
We walked down to the garbage and T was insisting that I walk him to school. So he could spend as much time with me as possible. I said fine but we had to go back home so I could change and get the keys. He cried the entire way back. And while he sat on the stairs. And than again when we got outside. He kept saying he would miss me. He needed to be with me today.
T cried all the way to school. Holding my hand. I was short with him because well, he had been using that whining now for almost 45 minutes. He kept asking me to turn around and go back home. I was so angry. I informed him that we were going to go and talk to his teacher. We walked up there and at first I figured it would be okay, he would see his friends and that would be end of it. But no.
At his hut I told him to leave his bag there and go play with his friends. He refused. And than proceeded to tell me he was going home. He was not going into the classroom. That is when I lost all semblance of even trying for the nonchalant I have it all together type of mom. I grabbed him by his school bag and dragged him over to the stairs. He slipped and there I was dragging him up the stairs to the door.
Knocked on door and went in to talk to his teacher. T cried the whole time. I was short and to the point with his teacher. I really had no idea where this was coming from. He felt as though he could get nothing right in class. Math was awful and he was struggling with it already. I did not tell him that T did not like him because well T did tell me that one in confidence. So I am sharing in a blog, on the internet, that is not breaking confidence clause is it?
To top it off I look like crap because of the rough night. I am coated in and smell of flu sweat, my hair is barely combed and I had not brushed my teeth yet so was really in no position to even initiate adult like conversation.
I gave T one last hug and had to unwrap his arms from around my waist. I promised I would be back at 3:45 to meet him. I would be standing right outside the classroom. And than I walked out the door. Coldly, callously, T’s little staring after me with betrayal written all over his face.
Did I want to comfort him? Yes. Wrap my arms around him and tell him that it would all be okay? Yes. That I want to pull out my magic wand and fix all that is wrong in his life? Yes.
Instead I had to be a mean mom. I had to harden my heart and walk away. T is not going to hate me forever and ever, although at this point and time I am sure I am his least favorite person, next to the teacher. And the reason I had to do this was because I need to set limits and boundaries with T.
I know he is growing up and out, he is wanting his independence and his safety blanket mom waiting in the wings. I know that he will push me to see what point he can actually get away to before I order the cease and desist. And also because not everything in life is about fun and games.
I will go pick T up after school. We will take a slow walk home and I will get him some ice cream too. We will have a conversation about his behaviour and mine. I will apologize for some of the things I said. And hopefully I have established a new boundary that T will respect. Otherwise it is going to be a long winter for T with reading as his only occupation.
This sits on my fridge. T wrote it in grade 2. It is more fitting.
Beginning at the end of July and for three weeks I did not have T with me. He spent that time with his father. Three weeks. Originally I thought that I would be wild and free but the truth was that I was just a boring old mom, sitting at home without her child, living it up by reading and cleaning her house. And writing of course. It harkened back to the days of being childless but not quite (I mean my home was clean, no pee on the toilet, no lego waiting to maim and disfigure me in the middle of the night) but I missed T something fierce. The last time I was away from him for any extended time was in February of 2016 when I went down to see mom in Mexico.
So hedonistic I am not, most of the time I was exercising, reading or working. I would arrive at work earlier than I needed to (especially when I was opening) and stayed later than I needed to. I got to see T for two brief moments when they came in to work to pick up some groceries and spent an hour and a half with him on his birthday. And when he stopped at work T said hi mom and than was off on a new adventure with his dad. I was glad that the two of them were getting some good quality time together and besides, it was only three weeks and than my darling boy would be mine for 3 weeks.
Needless to say despite having a fabulous day at work on August 19th, and who wouldn’t when they only had to work 6 hours and freedom beckoned at noon? my afternoon off started with a bang. I had implied via text that given my shift ended at 12 and that was when T was coming back to me, he should be dropped off to me at work. I waited half an hour, standing next to my car, cursing and fuming my ex. Firing off texts like ‘I am on a time line here, where are you?’ ‘Really? 2o minutes late and you can’t text me?’ to ‘Wth are you?’ There was steam coming out of me ears and curses from my lips.
Received a text from M who informed me that T and my ex were waiting for me at home. The ex had forgotten his phone. Well I raced home, squealed into my parking spot and went into full rage mode. I was foaming at the mouth and angry, so very very angry. I had wasted half an hour of my time waiting I screamed. I wanted T dropped off at work. I was on a time line and now it was going to be pushed back. My ex kept telling me I had never said I wanted T dropped off at work while I insisted that I had.
The apology after I went back over our texts was galling. As I said, I never actually came right out and stated ‘I am off at 12 please drop T off at work to meet me.’ I inferred that as I was off at 12 I would like T dropped off at work. It made sense in my woman mind I am done at this time so I obviously will not be at home, bring him to work. It was pointed out to me that despite having been married to me for 14 years, a man’s mind hears, blah blah blah, 12, drop him off-blah blah blah. So yes I said I was sorry.
Finally we are on the road, I have calmed down and all was right in Jay and T’s world. We sailed out to the lake. Got there before anyone else and settled in. As the family poured in, jokes and laughter were the most prevalent noises heard. And the family birthday party was a total blast. Up to and including the baby bro setting off fireworks and nearly killing everyone in the family as the finale went off straight up and than straight out in a burst of sparkles. I wish the picture of him just standing there, curled into himself like a giant bear, had turned out, because it was really too good not to share.
T came back to me not the T I had left with his dad. He was surly, belligerent and obnoxious. He back talked mom, he was not pleasant to me at all and it cumulated on Sunday with a horrific row when we arrived home. It took me a week and leaving his birthday presents at the lake to make him somewhat the polite helpful young man that he is with me.
I fairly danced through the week. T and me were getting there. There was less whining when I asked him to feed the cats and more ‘sure mom’. And holidays they were acoming. Two weeks of bliss while I vegged, hung out with T and lived the hedonistic lifestyle I thought I would indulge in back at the beginning of August. Than comes Thursday night.
T is annoyed with me because he has to be in bed early. I started work at 5 a.m. and had to be up and out of the house by 4:35 to get T to babysitter and myself to work. I tuck him into bed and sing him his lullabye and crawl into my bed, ready for sleep. And as I lay there, I hear this noise. A small sniffle, a gulp, a heave. And than T calls out in a wavering voice: ‘Mom?’
He is in bed sobbing his heart out. And he wants me to call his dad and have him come give him a hug and a kiss. Right than. And I admit I was not thinking about T when he spoke those words to me. I felt a sudden breaking of my heart, and a brutal anger rip through me. I live for T. He is my heart and soul. I am only half alive when I am not with him. But it is his dad that he wants.
I made a grave parental error that night. One I am sure I will make again and again as T grows and changes. I demanded to know why he needed to see his father to give him a hug and a kiss. Had he cried when he was away from me for three weeks? He had not text me or stopped by to ask me for a hug and a kiss.
I was vile. I was jealous. I was angry. I was hurt.
Friday I ‘forgot’ to text his dad before we left for the cabin. And when T twigged to it I placed the onus on him for ‘forgetting’ to remind me. What type of a person does that to a 9 year old child? A jealous spiteful bitch that is whom.
I did arrive at a theory that helped calm me and when I have expounded on it to others (my inner circle lol) they are all quick to agree with me. Which now that I think about is really only the right thing to do so clearly they could all be wrong.
I thought long and hard about the differences in myself and my ex. I thought about how T does not call or text me when he is at his dad’s for the week. I thought about how often he asks to come home to me early on Sundays. I thought about how I told him every day how I loved him, how I hugged and kissed him always. How T is so secure in my love of him, that he knows that I will always be here for him. That he does not really miss me when away from me for an extended time period. Because I will always be where he looks for me.
It does not soothe the sting I felt again on Wednesday this week when Tember sobbed his eyes out wanting to see his dad for another hug and kiss. Nor did it keep me from asking T if he wanted to live with his dad because well, selfish and bitch again come to mind, but it is there.
This must become my talisman. My mantra if you will. So I can stop hurting T with my anger and jealousy when he needs to ensure himself of his father’s presence. So I can be mature and reasonable.
Ha! As if……..but I will use it to keep T feeling safe and secure. And not as though there is anything wrong with his desire for a hug and a kiss from his dad, even when it is my time with him.