Friday, February 26, 2010

Not so Warm and Fuzzy

Marco and I are having relationship problems. I never really expected to be at this point with a three year old, but here we are. The problem as I see it... crying about everything, baby talk, and whining (all things I hate). The problem as Marco sees it... I have no freaking idea!!!! He isn't the greatest communicator (who knew it started so young).

I am starting to think it is me being pregnant. I didn't think this was a problem because he is so excited. The crib is in his room and he loves it. He wants the baby to sleep with him, to take baths with him, he implies he is very happy that he is going to be a big brother and wants to be fully involved. Because of his enthusiasm, I think I assumed all his recent issues were due to something else. In particular, he started crying when I drop him off at school. This coincided with my return from a business trip in San Diego and so at first I thought it was because I was gone for 5 days. Time passed and the crying didn't stop. We talked and he told me he doesn't want to take naps at school. We talked to the teachers, I thought things would get better. They didn't. And what just adds to my frustration, he doesn't cry if Alessandro drops him off.

Yesterday, I picked Marco up because Alessandro had to work a later shift. He appeared to be overjoyed to see me. I wasn't feeling well (I have a cold) and so I decided to take Marco to McDonald's (yes, I'm a terrible mother, I don't care). We went through the drive thru (which already had upset Marco when I told him we would not be going in, but he had gotten over that). The food came and as always the first thing Marco asked for was the toy. Here is where the problems started for both of us. It was something he already had. He starts crying about this and I say I am sorry, but that is all they have. It keeps going and going and then I start threatening him. I tell him to stop crying or he will get a time out or I will leave him in the car for 5 minutes when we get home and he just keeps crying. I yell at him "WHAT IS WRONG???? JUST TELL ME!!!!" He cries he wants daddy. Which I now think is code for "mom, you are being mean." (See, I told you, terrible mother.) We get home, I don't leave him in the car. He had basically stopped crying, maybe some sniveling, but not really crying, but he wasn't happy. We get in the house and he sits down to eat and asks for chicken nuggets. I tell him after he eats his hamburger and apples, he can have chicken nuggets. Then he says, not dino chicken nuggets (the kind we have at home), but McDonald's chicken nuggets. I tell him sorry, but it will be the dino kind. He gets upset, I get upset. I don't really remember everything, but it did end with him crying so hard with a mouth full of food that he couldn't possibly swallow. So, what happened in 20 minutes to turn Marco from the jumpy, happy little boy I picked up at school, to this sobbing, sad sack that arrived at home? Well, I'll tell you. It was me.

At this point I realized, I needed to take a step back. I just hugged and hugged him. He eventually settled down enough to swallow. Then I told him to come sit with me on the couch and he just sobbed in my arms for about 10 or 15 minutes. And I let him. Sometimes he would cry for daddy and I would reassure him that daddy would be home soon, but I had him. Sometimes the tears would start to abate and then he remembered the chicken nuggets and they would pour out again and I let them. He eventually calmed down. Then he started in with the baby talk and I let him. He pulled out a book that he got at the end of the school year last year with pictures of him and projects he had made and goo-goo gaa-gaa'ed something that I interpreted as "I want to read this" instead of saying my normal, "I don't know what you are saying, please talk like a big boy." We cuddled and went through all the pictures. Then I convinced him to eat. We played a game, dad came home, and bed time.

I was talking to my friend Tracy the other day and she was giving me some advice about when the baby comes. She basically said not to take advantage of Marco. He is so capable now and can do so much, that it is sometimes easy to forget he is still just a little boy. I can see how helpful he might be in the future fetching a change of clothes, diapers, a toy, a soda, a magazine. The thing I didn't realize was how apropos the advice was for right now. He is such a good communicator, and so caring, and capable. If I tell him I'm not feeling well, he wants to take care of me. (He offered me orange juice and hot dogs when I was throwing up with some flu thing, how sweet and disgusting is that?) He can do things for himself now. He helps other people. He even has his first chore, feeding the cat. We talk about things and he explains what he wants or even sometimes how he feels. I was taking it for granted that he understood and could handle the changes that are happening to me and that are going to happen to our family. I was expecting patience from him, while my levels of patience are basically at an all time low. (Not an excuse, but this pregnancy has been much tougher on me than Marco's was.)

Well, I can learn from my mistakes. As much as I hate the crying, whining, and baby talk, I am going to let it slide. I am going to force myself to be more patient and to have a higher tolerance for the things that drive me nuts. I only have a few weeks left with just my little boy and I hope we both can make the most of this time together. And now I realize the onus is on me and I will rise to the challenge!

This morning we cuddled in bed longer than normal and got up when he was ready to. He got upset about one little thing, but other than that, the morning was smooth. In the car on the way to school I asked him if he was going to cry when I dropped him off and he thought about it and said no. And he didn't! The other thing he told me in the car was that I'm not cool. In fact, all mom's are not cool. Kids are cool and dads can be cool, but definitely not moms. I am aware of the fact that I am not cool, but I guess I hoped Marco wouldn't figure it out for a little while longer.

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