I almost lost my shit last night. I almost did. It was only a bath for the love of God, a bath! Max is normally an excellent listener, doesn’t give me much trouble at all. Tonight the officer told him it was time for a bath—this normally isn’t an issue. All of a sudden I hear welling from the restroom. (My anxiety was already waaaay out of control thus the feeling that this wasn’t going to end well.) I walked in the restroom feeling like a brick lied on my chest,” what is the issue in here?” Max crying says,” I don’t want to take a bath” and is standing up, ignoring Dada’s demands to sit. I explained we would do a very fast bath and he could get back to whatever he was doing, he cried even louder, I could feel my chest tightening up and what little patience I had quickly slipping away.
I told the officer to move and I took over the bath. My anxiety wouldn’t allow me to walk out. (I tried) I bathed him as he stood screaming ridiculously at the top of his lungs—I would allow him to continue without any words from me, but I would not allow him to win. This was war—toddler against momma. Breathe, stay calm. I would not fight back nor feed his furry. Breathe. All the while thinking to myself, it’s just a fucking bath what the hell is your problem kid!!! He’s done this once before and it proved to be nothing more than a case of he wants what he wants and a bath at that moment is not it! Instead he wanted to continue watching cartoons well, in my world little I’d like to able to drink a bottle of vodka every three days , but we don’t always get what the hell we want, do we boys and girls!!!!
When the bath was over (Max’s face red from crying) I dried him off and instructed him in a quite calm voice to go to time out for not being a good listener. I swear, you would have thought I just beat the hell out of him. He reputed into emotion; crying, screaming, jerking his body around, wow- so this is a tantrum—I suppose I should count my blessings seeing as how he’s three and this is the second full-blown tantrum we’ve ever experienced. I placed him in time out and walked to the kitchen. As stupid as it may sound, I started to feel bad. I stared to feel bad that he was welling as if something terrible had just happen. And then, I realized time out to a three-year old is terrible it signifies wrong doing and perhaps even shame.
I came out of the kitchen about a min to check on him—he continued to cry and follow me. I instructed him to go back—he did not. I instructed a second time, he didn’t budge. I then walked over to him popped him on the butt and ushered him back to the time out spot. Ohhhh shit, that really did it. He looked both astonished and emotionally hurt as if he couldn’t believe I just spanked him (it doesn’t happen often) I went back to the kitchen in an attempt to block out the ruckus.
Talk about guilt- it was sitting in…I fought it-discipline is never fun however, it’s necessary and non-negotiable. Finally, about two mins later the storm has pasted. I walked over to the time out area. He was standing there. I asked him why he went to time out (I was given the silent treatment) Fine. I don’t care, I can talk to myself, I do all the fucking time. I made sure he knew why he was sent to time out, gave hugs and I love yous and we carried on with the night.
I looked at the officer sitting on the couch; he had his hand over his mouth attempting to hide his laughter. Full of anxiety and anger I looked at him with I’m gonna kick your ass wrote all over my face and said, “I’m glad you find it humorous because I’m about to lose my shit!!” Ahh, Parenting and marriage, they go hand in hand—they both drive you bat ass crazy!
This morning I replayed the bath disaster over in my head (which I typically do) to help suppress any guilt I maybe having. Expect, I didn’t have guilt this time. The situation I think was handled quite well. I can’t think of one thing I would have done differently (which is a first). Voices were not raised, ugly tones were not used, mean faces where not given and the lesson was learned (at least for now).