When I was little, Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss was one my favorite stories and could very well be the reason I have a fondness for elephants to this day. Who knew that Horton's words would ring through my ears this very afternoon.
Wonderboy's behavior has been very challenging lately. I've been struggling with his total lack of impulse control and becoming very stressed out because of it. I love the little bugger to death. I mean c'mon, who couldn't love that ginger-hair, sweet face, gregarious, fun loving guy; he's hard to resist! But he is very strong willed and has a way of pushing you to the breaking point on a daily basis. I guess the every day stresses of being a stay-at-home mom coupled with his stubbornness plus a temperamental four year old and a clingy, teething 17 month old added with outside worries and annoyances has made me feel out of control and depressed.
After a completely stressful physical therapy appointment for baby love yesterday morning I lost it. I must explain: Baby Love was particularly cranky and clingy and didn't really want to be doing what Ms. Beth wanted her to do. I struggled with keeping Baby Love in the therapy room and the older kids in the waiting room. Ms. Beth tried to do the therapy in the waiting room however, it was difficult with Miss O wanting to take the toys away from the baby to "organize" them and Wonder Boy's constant questions and "you know whats". I tried to prepare and do the good mom things by bringing things to keep the older kids occupied with electronic games and snacks, however my attempts kept failing. The small waiting room quickly filled up with other patients and became hectic to say the least. Wonder Boy lost all self control and found the light switch to be a source of entertainment not to mention locking the door on people, pushing every single button and running out into the hall for drinks of water. I came to realization that this situation was not working for anybody and I needed to get out of there as quick as I could. Frustrated and angry, I gathered my three hatchlings and headed for the door with one in my arms, one holding my hand and one following behind. I loaded the girls up into the car, made my way around the back side and that's when I saw it. Wonder Boy had turned on a water faucet near the parking lot on our way out and left the water to run. That was my breaking point! I gritted my teeth, pointed to the gushing water and told him to go turn it off. FAST!! Knowing he had crossed the line, he followed the order. It was when we got into the car that I lost it. I tried talking to him with all the by book phrases like "your behavior was inappropriate" and "you made it very hard for Ms. Beth and Mommy to help Baby Love". However my stress took over and my lecture turned into a high pitched half cry/half scream. Yelling I couldn't take it anymore and I couldn't live with him behaving like this anymore. Being a fairly patient person, I had had it!!
We drove home in silence.
Baby Love went down for a nap as soon as we got home. Feeling like a failure of a mom, I pulled myself together and headed outside to play to shake off the events of the morning. Wonder Boy loves playing with the older neighbor boy and Miss O and I practiced her bike riding skills. By chance (or maybe it was fate) one of my neighbor ladies came out and started chatting with me. She has four boys; two grown men, one starting college and one in high school. I knew she was a pediatric nurse that now works at a high school, but she told me used to teach parenting classes. I cracked. My stresses and difficulties raising this precocious boy spilled out of me. I found comfort in her approach of not making me feel like she had all the answers or that she was good at her job as mom either or hadn't made mistakes herself. We talked about some tricks and tips. She told me to detach my feelings from the situation and look at my job as a CEO of a company not as a mother all filled up with love and squishy feelings. Make a plan she told me. How am I going to get this child from a little boy to a man who is well rounded with a good life and great qualities. She kept repeating "say what you mean and mean what you say". Be consistent. No more threats.
Armed with a shower and new confidence, I felt better about today. I planned to mean what I say, and say what I mean. I found my inner Horton repeating to myself:
"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant:
An elephant's faithful one hundred percent."
So when I told Wonderboy if he wanted to go to the upcoming pizza party this evening with friends, he needed to behave and stay in his seat for our last errand stop. It was like writing on the wall. He didn't, therefor I had to "step up!"
The moral of Horton Hatches the Egg is "be responsible, even when it's difficult." I have to demonstrate responsibility and dedication in keeping my promise to my children even when it's hard. Horton's benefit to "sticking it out" through torment by other jungle animals, harsh weather conditions and even being caged and put on display by the circus was a baby Horton hatching from the egg.
I've arranged for J to come home to hang out with Wonderboy and Baby Love while Miss O and I go to the pizza party without them. Tough? Yes!! Harsh? Maybe. Did I set him to fail? Possibly. Guilt feelings? Totally!! It's eating me up inside. It is making me feel like crap especially when he keeps asking me "for one more chance". I'm sticking to my word. I'm meaning what I say. Hopefully I will reap the benefits of a loving, well behaved, fun to be around boy by being responsible even when it is hard as hell and sucks big time.
And if 15 years from now you are reading this, Wonderboy, thinking about the time your mother didn't let you go to that pizza party, you'll realize I did it for you. Because I love you more than anything in the world. Because I just wanted you to grow up and become a kind, loving, and responsible person. Because I wanted you to find your inner Horton! Because some day . . . . . . . . you'll have your own eggs to hatch.