Pulling the Plug on Project Enlightenment
The blessing and the curse of children is that they grow up. Babies are wondrous little bundles, so promising, so helpless, so sweet. Their succulent rolls and coos are proof of a life divine. Babyhood passes in a flutter of a thousand butterfly wings. The weariness and momentousness of that time is imprinted on us forever, though the details are hazy.
And then those babies start crawling and walking and talking. With those milestones come their own opinions and resolve. They develop preferences, habits, ideas. Those babies grow up on us, proving that Time is both a bandit and a gift.
I have a hunch my mom wished away many a day when I was a little girl. I was a spirited, curious child and a painfully rebellious teen. I don't think my parents really liked me until I had children of my own. For starters, they partake in the spoiling and fun without the dread and responsibility. Also, they believe in karma. I was facing payback for all the misdeeds I got busted for as a kid.
Pregnancy was a breeze. Childbirth was a piece of cake (seriously, bunion surgery was worse). Babyhood was downright pleasant. My sons have always been great sleepers and eaters. They potty trained without too many headaches and rarely needed pull ups at night. Bird sailed through the Terrible Twos while Deal was a chubby happy infant, and I thought I was on a parenting joy ride. Karma schmarma.
Life was good. Parenting was more rewarding than challenging. I was sleeping, cooking, pushing my boys in a double stroller to the neighborhood park, sitting criss-cross apple sauce at story time, finger painting, snuggling, tickling, block building.
And then Bird turned three.
Tantrums ensued. We couldn't control them, or him. Despite journaling and fastidious note taking, we couldn't pinpoint what set him off. He'd fall into a rage unlike anything I had seen, or seen since. My son's rage was tearing our family apart. Bird was three. He was precocious, talkative, inquisitive, silly. Nothing about him was remarkable or unremarkable. He seemed to be a "normal" kid who loved the Wiggles, Dr. Seuss books, trains, tools, and puzzles. Yet when things didn't go his way, he erupted. His will was iron solid, his rage was explosive. I had a baby to protect and felt defeated by this three year old thrashing about. I felt myself hugging my baby closer and pushing my older son away. I was torn up inside, wracked with guilt, confusion, despair, fright.
Karma's a bitch.Continued on the next page