Saturday, 18 February 2012

Me & the Tantrums

Sometimes I feel like a horrible parent.  Like I'm not doing a good job, or that I'm checked out from parenting in and of itself.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I feel sometimes like there is something wrong with  me.

Hassaan had a meltdown at the pharmacy.  Ironically, we were there to get a refill on what he calls his "mets".  He and his brother were fooling around to the point that I had repeatedly told them to knock it off.  I finally had enough and told them no video games when we got home because neither of their behaviour was meriting it.  (They now have to earn their video time each week.  It is no longer theirs to lose but theirs to gain.)  I had to physically drag him out of the building and then he stood in the corner and refused to move.

"Fine," I said.  "Hammad, let's go."

Now, I'm glad that Hammad takes his job as a big brother seriously.  But there are times when his over protectiveness of his brother just makes me want to scream.

Then Hammad began to cry and sob that I couldn't leave his brother because he loves his brother.

"Seriously?" I said to Hammad.  "Exactly when have I ever actually left you or your brother anywhere?"

"Never," Hammad cried.

"Exactly.  Go get in the car."

"But we can't leave my brother!" he howled.

Where's that brick wall for my head?

I finally got Hammad to go get in the car.  I then went back, picked up Hassaan under my arm and carried him to the car, the entire time him kicking, screaming as loud as possible, and yelling "ow!  you're hurting me!"  My arm is around your waist.  How, praytell, am I hurting you?  I was so glad it was Friday and the doctor's office part of the building was closed.  There was no one around to give me a lecture on parenting my child.

I had to put the child safety lock on the door as getting him in the car was a struggle.  He then tried to crawl over his brother and out the other door.  I got in, put my belt on and started the car.

Hammad started crying again that "he didn't want his brother to die so don't go anywhere until he gets his belt on!"  Well at that point Hassaan wouldn't even sit down.  So I very, very slowly (like, 2km/hour) drove up to the top of the parking lot.  I then pulled over, got out and by the time I opened the back door Hassaan was hurriedly getting his seatbelt on.  But he was still reaching over and whacking his brother with his mittens.

I had to go get gas.  The entire time from the doctor's office parking lot across town to the gas station (about a five minute drive) he screamed.  I was a mean, awful, good for nothing Mommy.  Hammad was an ugly, stupid, good for nothing brother.  It wasn't his fault he lost Wii, it was his brother's.  He wanted McDonald's.  He didn't want to live with me anymore.  Did I mention that I was a mean, horrible, good for nothing Mommy?  He screamed that one at me multiple times.

Somewhere in getting gas he calmed down.  Got the car washed.  Had already promised Hammad McDonald's and I really didn't feel like cooking, so yeah, we still got McDonald's (parenting fail).  He remained calm through all of that.

But somehow, on the way home, it started again.  By the time we pulled in our driveway, I was, once again, a mean, nothing, good for nothing Mommy who he didn't want to live with.

"Fine," I said.  "Go find somewhere else to live."

He got out of the car carrying his snowpants and school bag.  And then Hammad started sobbing again.

"No, Mommy!  No!" he cried.  "Don't let him go!  I'll miss him!  He's my favourite person!"

Really?  The little boy who's just spent a good part of the last hour telling you you're a stupid, ugly, good for nothing brother is your favourite person?  Well, I guess everyone's choices in favourite people are different.

So Hammad tried to chase him down the ten feet he'd made, tackled him to the driveway and grabbed his school bag.  Hassaan got up with his snowpants and continued to walk.  Hammad continued to freak out.

I got Hammad into the house, he looked out the porch window where Hassaan had now made it to the end of the driveway screaming at me to go and get his brother.  I physically pulled Hammad into the kitchen.  When I got him calm enough to look me in the eye, I told him a very quick, short story.

"When you were five, you ran away from home.  You don't me you were never living here again.  Where do you live?"

"Here," he hiccuped.

"So do you really thing your brother is leaving for good?"

"No," he hiccuped again.

"So go eat your dinner."

I turned around to go back outside to drag the little red headed monster back into the house.  Yet there he was, in the porch, taking his things off.  I told him to go upstairs onto his bed for the time being - that his behaviour was very, very naughty and I was tired of listening to him scream.  But I got to listen to him scream for another ten minutes before I went upstairs.

In all of this, I learned that the one thing that was bothering him at this point was that I no longer loved him "for real."  I reassured him with the same thing I always do - I will always love you.  I will always like you, I may not, however, always like your attitude."  For the rest of last night and almost all of today I had a very well behaved little boy.  But he was trying to earn at least a little Wii time this afternoon, which he did.

But in all this, I kept thinking that something was wrong with me.  Not because of how he was acting, but of how I, personally, was not acting and not feeling.  I'm told by other people how much it hurts them when they're child tells them that they hate them, or something along those lines.  But for me, I just have zero feeling to it.  My feelings are not hurt, I'm not upset or angry.  I truly feel nothing.  The entire time that he was going on, all I could think was "just shut up already."  And I felt nothing.  Now, there were a few times where I really did want to laugh.  I didn't, but sometimes it was just so downright silly.  When he was really going off and he was hitting Hammad, I just talked to Hammad and he held his hand up (I was driving) so that when Hassaan did try and strike him he got his arm and not his body.  So Hammad and I talked and ignored the tantrum that was occurring.  I was very proud of how Hammad handled himself in that regard.

So I wonder - I need my medication to function, but is that medication making it so that I also just don't have a reaction to the tantrums?  Or have I just dealt with so many of them (they were a daily occurring thing until we started on his "mets") that they no longer phase me?  Or is there really something wrong with me?


  1. Actually, I think your indifference during a tantrum is a good thing. Getting emotional about a child screaming they hate you usually escalates the tantrum. Trust me, I know.

    He sounds a lot like Ryan at that age. It's definitely not fun, but it sounds like you are doing a great job handling it. I mean that. :)

  2. NONONO ALICE!! There is nothing wrong with you! What is happening here, is that you are not upset because you know that he is mad and frustrated and that is the only way he can is express that is by saying those things....You know he feels like he wants to say the worst things imaginable because he is developing coping skills, and those are the worst things imaginable, because you know that even though the words are coming out of his mouth, he loves his mamma more than anything else in the world. And he knows that he can say that because you love him so much JoAnne!!

  3. I love you!!! im coming to you when sebas is 4 you'll have to teach me how to handle him. i shut him in his room (he cant reach the knob) i hate temper tantums