As a teacher, I have very little patience for misbehavior. With my students, it was never ok with me and I was not one to let anything slide. I always started out tough, then when the behavior came in line I loosened up and had a lot of fun with my students and got a lot accomplished.
Now as a parent I find I have the same lack of patience regarding misbehavior in my son. Beginning around a year, he would get punished (not harshly, so put down your phone to DSS) for not obeying. I always wanted their to be an understanding that some things are right and some things are wrong and if you choose the wrong one then something unpleasant will happen as a result.
I told you all that the nap thing has been very difficult…increasingly difficult as a matter of fact. Yesterday was the worst. We always go to playgroup and lunch on Wednesdays, so Carter wears himself out. He normally falls asleep on the way home, even though it’s a little earlier than his normal nap time. I know this is going to happen, so I change is diaper and take off his shoes before we leave so that I can just transfer him to his bed when we get here. Well, this week my mother-in-law was passing through and stopped at the house to see Carter on her way home. So, I let him wake up to see her. Then, my Dad came over. It was a party then for sure! Finally at 3:00 (2 hours post naptime), I announce that he MUST sleep. My Dad leaves, but my MIL wants to rest on the couch for a few minutes before she goes. Ok. Sure. Whatever. Off I go to put Carter down.
I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with an overtired baby, but it is not a pretty thing. There was screaming, arching of the back, wiggling, getting up and down and up and down, standing up in the bed, throwing things, climbing things. I tried everything I could think of to get him to settle down. We read stories and sang quiet songs, then I left him to settle himself to sleep. He must’ve gotten up 20 times out of that bed only to be met by me to carry him right back. I was getting exhausted. When that didn’t work, I sat myself in the floor right by his bed with no eye contact–my only purpose in the room to lay him down every time he stood up in his bed. Still no luck. I try reading a few more books to get him to at least be still for longer than 10 seconds. No luck. An hour and a half has passed here. For most of that time I can just FEEL my MIL’s ears listening to my every move, every word, every frustrating breath. I am in tears. But, by the end she’s gone. I just gave up. I could feel the blood pumping through my veins in anger and I knew I had to get out of there.
I come into the living room and Carter follows me. There is no smile on my face and I do not want to speak. Carter, in his overtired state, decides to begin getting into everything he’s been told not to. When I tell him no, he looses it. He starts screaming and throwing any and everything he can get his hands on. For his safety, I hold him and lay him to the floor so he can finish his fit without getting hurt. He gets up and moves onto something else–my magazines. This has been a NO-NO since babyhood with Carter and he’s pretty great about leaving the rack alone. Not today. I tell him no and he grabs the rack (which is actually a wine rack used as a magazine rack) and slings it into the floor. Right there I found my end. My bottom. My breaking point. I screamed at him with all the anger that had built up over the past 2 hours and I scared my son. As soon as the words left my mouth I felt terrible and wished I could take it back. The tears came and I went to Carter to tell him that I was sorry, but he ran from me. I frightened my son to the point that he didn’t even want to come near me. I didn’t speak much for the rest of the day.