Saturday, June 22, 2013

On Rejection (Or Why my Toddler is like a Tiny Drunk Person)

I have a toddler.  Most of the time he's pretty good, amazing even.  But for the past four months he's been subject to sudden, violent mood swings.  The kind where his little body trembles with anger, he balls his tiny hands into fists, and strikes out at me with surprisingly little accuracy, but occasionally will land a left hook into my cheekbone and leave a sad little bruise.  He screams and rants and raves, his little face all screwed up in complete frustration.  If you set him on the floor he thrashes about, seemingly in agony.  Occasionally he throws up and then passes out from exhaustion.  Either he's a really tiny, very angry drunk person, or he's a nearly three year-old, frustrated little boy.

Do you know why he's upset?  Because I am not his father.  And this is the end of the world.


(Just so we're all clear, I live in a little house with my two boys and amazing husband.  My child has never been abandoned by or far away from--except for the occasional work trip--his father.)

This is upsetting to me.  I am a stay at home mama.  My husband works from home, but aside from eating our meals together, during the day Daddy Goes to Work.  We don't bother Daddy; he is off-limits.  It is my job to keep my house clean, feed my children, and attend to their general happiness.  I base my day's activities on the state of my children, and the cleanliness of my house (with the occasional all-afternoon sewing bender.)  My son's long-term obsession with his daddy is really tough on me; it leaves me feeling like I am somehow less of a mother.  Like I am incapable of keeping even my own offspring happy and content.

I've tried everything.  I cuddle and kiss him as much as he'll let me.  I sometimes try to buy his affection with treats and toys.  He's consistently not impressed by my unabashed attempts to buy his love, at least not with lasting affects.  I tell him I love him as much as I can.  I shower that boy with affection, and in return I am told "me don't love you; me love Daddy!"

In a snotty toddler (tiny drunk) voice.

I've told myself it's just a phase.  My husband has told me it's just a phase.  But seriously, I am at my wit's end.  I'm done.  I've had it up to here.  Kapoot.

So, how would you handle this?  Four months in toddler time is a very long time.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose my mind.  Or send him to the Betty Ford Center.


MeganW said...

first I'll preface this by stating I'm in no way qualified to give advice... and then I'll give some advice anyways :)

maybe your little boy needs some space. you write that you've tried everything including cuddles and kisses, but maybe what he's asking for (in a very unnice way) is a bit more independence and space. he's got that from his dad who is off limits during the day, but you he's with all day.

ok... just a random idea... hopefully things have already turned around. :)

Jessie Keating said...

Thanks Megan! We're still working on it. It's hard, but I am trying to recognize that he needs space. Thank you!