So, Arthur, my beloved second born son, has been quite the piece of work lately. Whenever I think to write something about my struggles with him, he redeems himself. I always try not to dwell on the hard times, because there is no sense getting stuck with those thoughts. Our days are always filled with moments of laughter and joy, sandwiched between moments of frustration and, yes, sometimes anger.
Every time Arthur fought me when I applied sunscreen last week in Mexico, I asked him what was worse: putting on a winter coat and boots or applying a little bit of sunscreen. We all agreed that winter clothes are worse.
So, fast forward to now, where it’s winter coats and mittens and boots and the horrible, mind-numbing struggle to put these items on my child. This morning it all went down with only minor whining and complaining that certain body parts “hurt” (usually feet, sometime legs, sometimes head…I’m not buying any of it). So we left.
As soon as we were half a block away from our house, Arthur remembered he forgot his stuffed animal dog Wuffi. He started
crying screaming his (EXPLETIVE) head off. Jumping out his stroller, screaming, screaming, clinging to my leg, my arm, the stroller. It took us 15 minutes to walk two blocks. I couldn’t calm him down. I tried being kind and hugging him and telling him I know you miss your (EXPLETIVE OMG I CAN’T TAKE IT) dog; we won’t be gone long…you’ll have him back soon. I tried just walking faster. I tried being firm. I got angry. And then I strapped my screaming child back in the stroller and kept pushing. Two blocks further, when he almost vomited from all the screaming, I started crying. Then I told Arthur I was taking him home where he could stay with a babysitter. He shut up almost immediately. He said no babysitter, and sorry. It was a stupid thing to say because he already doesn’t like staying with sitters, so using them as a threat is probably bad. But it popped out, and it worked, and we could all stop crying.
There have been many moments like this lately. Screaming in the car in Mexico because he wanted out. Out out OUT! Disobeying at dinner time in restaurants. Walking up to something his brother has constructed and destroying it with one swift blow. Just not “hearing” us when we reprimand him.
So this is 2 and 3/4. I don’t remember this time being so hard with Julian.
Then again I already forget the worst of it on most days when our day is over. Arthur is very good at making up. He’s good at apologizing, mostly, and at reading other people’s feelings. He’s an excellent hugger and very compassionate. He’s good at sharing and continues to work so hard on his speech. He is so loving and funny and clever. He makes us laugh out loud so many times a day. He dances and sings to his heart’s content.
But oh man. He can also test me more than anyone has ever tested me. Thankfully I know, as with anything in a child’s life, that this is a phase. Everything will pass, eventually.