The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The storm after the calm

When my children are in a good period, acting relatively normal and well behaved, I tend not to think too much of stages or phases. "This is who they are," I tell myself smugly. "This is how things work around here." And then, when everything turns on a dime (as it inevitably does) and nothing is working at all around here, I refer to the ensuing chaos as a phase. "We just have to get through this," I say.

It's a little bit Pollyanna of me to think this way, I suppose, though there's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to see the best in your own children. But sometimes, and this week is one of those times, I have to wonder if I've been deluding myself about what great, well-adjusted, well-raised kids I have. Maybe the good periods are the phases, the aberrations. Perhaps it's the nightmare periods that are everyday life and the manifestation of my kids' true personas. It's a truly pointless line of thought, one that's akin to the old glass half empty/half full debate (who the hell cares -- either way, you've got the same amount of water), but this is the way my mind works when I have been driven to distraction because one of my nearly perfect children has been replaced with the spawn of Satan overnight.

After well over a year of relative ease where parenting Evan is concerned, we have reached the end of the road. I do not know whether there is a cause for the abrupt change in behavior -- teething, perhaps, which I've been historically bad at pinpointing and treating, or maybe just the way we babied him a little more than usual when he was sick last week -- or whether we are just reaching a new stage/phase/period of time/pick your euphemism. But suddenly, the easy little boy I know and love is gone. In his place? A child who refuses to be left at babysitting, cries hysterically when I am out of his sight and is nearly impossible to engage even when he has my full attention. A child who stood in his crib and cried for 3 hours at bedtime last night, refusing all attempts to soothe and placate him. A child who is in the process of repeating the same behavior right now during his nap time. Evan is 23 months old today. And overnight, he has become twice as much work as a child half his age.

A phase. A stage. My kid's true inner demons released. Does it really matter the cause? My "me" time is essentially gone for the duration and my patience is about to be sorely tried. If this is a phase, then please God may it be a short one. And if it's real life, then baby, bring on the next phase.


At 3:59 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

I so hear you. My Evan? Not the same symptoms, but, boy, the same reaction from his parents. Devil child, spawn of satan, whatever it may be...let's pray to the Lord that it IS a phase, indeed. Hang in there.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger chichimama said...

So sorry. So, so sorry. It IS a stage, he will get through it.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

With our first we never went through the "Terrible Twos". And I admit it: we gloated a bit, to ourselves. And then. The girl. Terrible just about covered it. She's almost 3 and we're now seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Happy Almost 2nd Birthday Evan?!

(p.s. It's a phase, it's a phase, it'a phase, it's a phase, it's a phase...)

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Steph said...

It's a phase and you'll get through it. Hang in there.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Rosemary said...

I wonder if this is one of those things parents develop amnesia about. I don't remember a terrible twos. I DO remember the terrible 18s. :-)

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Dana said...

Its a phase. Yes. Most definitely a phase. Oh dear, what a phase. But a phase. But maybe a glass of wine wouldn't go amiss.


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