He was 16 months when he stood with me in the kitchen, asking for an “Ookie.”
“No cookies now. After dinner. Okay?” I said and away he toddled.
A moment later I found him on the floor in the hall, writhing and screaming. Immediately, I was alarmed. What was happening? Should I call a doctor? What was he doing?
I bent down. “Baby? What’s the matter? Are you okay? Baby?”
Still squirming like Linda Blair from the Exorcist, he wailed, “Wan ookie!!”
Huh? Was this a tantrum? It was my first. My older son had never had one. I watched with fascination.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. This was the same child who when I tried sleep training, absolutely trained me. I didn’t think a seven month old could cry that long and continuously. Ultimately, I spent the next two years sitting at the base of his crib every night until he fell asleep. Well trained, but not exactly what I was going for.
When we potty trained, it was the same business. Forget the stickers or M&M’s. No bribery, reason or compromise could make him go. Finally, I threw my hands in the air and gave up. The next day, he decided he was ready and went on his own.
Now eight years-old, he is my most charming, social and independent child. Yet he is still a spit fire, who has spent the last seven years mastering his button pushing technique. He no longer writhes on the floor, now his tantrums are much more manipulative and exhausting.
Yesterday, when we were about to leave, he decided that he didn’t want to go to his brother’s baseball game. While I understood, frankly, he had no choice.
I took a deep breath. “We are going. Please don’t make this difficult.”
Hands over the ears. “Lalalalala! I can’t hear you!”
I hate when he does that.
“Your friends will be there.” I said nicely, through gritted teeth.
“I’M NOT GOING!”
“I’m going to have to take away your iTouch.”
“Good! Take it! I don’t want it anyway!”
“Come on!” I practically begged.
He went to hide behind a chair. “NO! You can’t make me!”
That was it. I could make him and sadly, I showed him how, by dragging him by the arm into the car.
His little body felt even lighter than the fifty pounds it was. He screamed the whole time and embarrassingly, I screamed back.
Once in the car, I took deep breaths. I was so angry, I couldn’t speak. I was mad at him and at myself. He was making me a bad parent, I thought spitefully.
Why not blame the eight year-old?
“Baby,” I said calmly. “None of that was okay. I’m sorry I lost my temper.”
He just shrugged. “Okay, me too.” Now that he was in the car, the drama was over. “When do you think I can get my iTouch back?” he asked sweetly.
He can turn off as quick as he turns it on. I’ll give him that.
He has always been unbreakable, but every so often it would nice if he could just give me a break.