Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 165- Parenthood Is Just the Beginning

Four years ago I began my journey of parenthood. I thought I had it understood to a certain degree, but nothing prepares one like living the actual life of a parent.

There have been many emotional moments as my son has been growing up and here I want to open some of those moments particular to my experience as a parent and then I want to move on into how those experiences have changed based on my understanding/growth/self development and stabilizing myself.

One very particular experience I recall is wanting my son to grow up faster because I did not want to deal with certain baby stuff I am required to do as a parent to support the physical being of my child-
One-I wanted him to sleep longer so that I can sleep
Two-I wanted him to eat grown up food so that I don't have to worry about cooking separate foods
Three-I wanted him to walk so I don't have to carry him everywhere
Four- I wanted him talk so that we can have actual conversations
Five- I wanted him to be toilet trained because dippers are a pain

I basically was in a hurry to skip the baby stages because there was something I did not like or particularly enjoy, something I did not want to adapt my life to. Something I was holding on to (an experience of pre-parenthood)- My FREEDOM. This was of course in a suppressed/hidden way to where the result was that I was often irritated with him especially when he was crying. I am sure lots of new parents may experience such moments even if they are very subtle within and may not even realize it.

Fast forward to recent months my son was having some behavior problems at day care- in particular it was hard for him to play with others in sharing or waiting and he would hurt others by hitting them and in a few occasions biting them. He has been very stubborn since he was born actually and instead of finding a way to address this in a stable manner I had always reacted to him being stubborn to where I would spent evenings with him screaming over a toy he wanted and I would not give into him because I wanted to be in control or I would ignore him as a sort of punishment.

And I really needed to look at myself and I had been refusing this for the longest time because I need to be in control. I had been refusing to work with him which escalated his behavior- he was whinny, he would scream, he would cry, he would try to hit me (even if it was not hard- but it is the gesture that counts) and my reaction was to "punish him" in some way- like taking a toy or TV time away, or ignoring him. And Man, was I annoyed with his behavior.

I realized that the key is in me- it was about how I interacted with him, about my attitude and the possible hidden/suppressed reaction of him "taking my freedom away" that I never wanted to admit to myself because in my eyes I wanted to be the best parent/mother for him but I was failing at it since I did not have myself sorted out in relation to him.

The last REAL tantrum he threw (about a month ago) was over a toy that first he did not want and then minutes later after I had put it away he wanted it. The evening was long because I was refusing to take the toy back out to prove a point. He was screaming, he was hopping and had a very difficult time calming down. He was talking out of breath and was so stuck on having that toy that he refused to shower, he refused to go to bed. Finally he got tired and eventually went to bed but it was a struggle.  I later (in like a week or so) began to reflect on why those tantrums were happening. Was this really about the toy or was there something deeper to it and the toy was something he could cling onto. After talking to my DIP buddy regarding this issue, she said that it was not about the toy itself but rather him wanting to have a say in something and I was not giving him that chance.
After this discussion I began to reflect on moments where I have not allowed him to voice himself or have something his way or really listen to him and come to a point of agreement/understanding about the event/situation. I admitted lots of things to myself that I was previously refusing and realized that I had to change and adapt. I realized I was not adapting to his growth. Here he is finally passed those baby stages and I could not see it that he needed a different approach/understanding. He needed to be able to express his voice for his age. And this will continue changing as he grows older.

I gave him the opportunity to make some decisions on his own with my suggestion. I spoke to him without getting irritated. I presented him with a solution of how to deal with other children if he was getting upset at them. We spoke about when NO really means NO and that it is OK to not get something at the moment. We made an agreement of when he would be able to get what he wanted.
I am in the process of establishing basic communication/understanding/agreement with him to stand as our mother/son foundation.
I know he is a stubborn child and I need to work with this to redirect it into a productive way- where stubbornness becomes determination in the right direction. There is lots of things that will change as he grows older but the one thing that remains stable is the foundation/agreement that is created/built.

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