Friday, October 12, 2007


After Wednesday's sweetness and light, Barak turned into Monster Toddler on Thursday. I know, rationally, that he had been totally tired out after his trip (five hours of constant high-level transportation excitement, with treats) and had been too worked up to get to sleep Wednesday night. He woke up earlier than usual on Thursday, which unfortunately is what happens when he doesn't get to sleep on time--he doesn't sleep late, he does the opposite.

I was tired too, because for some reason that second-trimester burst of energy has yet to materialize even though I'm closing in on trimester number three. What I really wanted to do at 1 pm when it was time to go get Barak was crawl into bed and have a nap. But I still had an afternoon of fun and productivity planned: haircut for Barak (he needs it, his hair is long enough now that his kippa won't stay on), stop into produce store (because we have nothing edible in the house but the kinds of cereal nobody really likes) and trip to the park/J. I picked him up at gan with our neighbor's daughter, whom I also walk home, and when we went in our front gate Barak told her, "I gonna go dis way and you go dat way, 'kay Chanie?" meaning, I'll go around the building like this and you go like that.

Um, no, because the rule when we are outside is that you have to stay where Imma can see you all the time. And this applies to Chanie to. I told Barak no, we were both going to the door together. I took Chanie in the direction that he wanted to go, meaning that he didn't just run around the building the other way, but he didn't follow us either. I called Barak, "Come on, Barak, we're going inside." He didn't come.

There are a few cardinal sins around here--not many. But one of them is refusing to come when Abba or Imma asks you, especially when you are outside. If I can't trust him to come when called, that really limits what we can do outside, and so I am a stickler. Barak knows this.

"Barak, come here please. I'm asking you to come here." Now in my I-am-Imma-and-I-mean-it voice. He didn't come.

"Barak, that's one. Please come here. If I get to three and you're not here, we're not going to go anywhere today. We're just going to stay home."


"That's two. Please come here."

Nope. Sigh.

"Okay, that's three. No walk today." I put the brakes on Iyyar's stroller, went back to the front of the building where Barak was on his knees sidling in extra-slow motion in my general direction (which does not count as coming here) and bore him bodily to the back of the building. He, like any self-respecting toddler, threw himself down on the grass and had a tantrum. So I took him inside, went back and got Iyyar, and then put Barak in his room for a timeout. I closed the back door and was in the kitchen in time to hear, "I pished in my unnerwear! AhhhHHHHH!"

Oh, it's shaping up to be a great afternoon...

He's really pretty well toilet trained now but when he's really having a fit he does sometimes lose it--although it's been a few weeks since it's happened--and now that it's a fairly rare occurrence he gets even more upset when it does happen. Lots of screaming. No I will not take off my shoes, no I will not take off my soaking wet pants, no I will not take off my underwear. I went and mopped up the floor while the fit continued in the bathroom and Chanie ignored it entirely in favor of the dollhouse and Iyyar looked on with great interest at this educational experience. Suffice it to say that AN HOUR later, after Chanie's Imma had come to pick her up and Barak had been naked from the waist down screaming that I had to put his underwear on for him because he CAN'T PUT ONNA UNNERWEAR, he finally got his underwear on (by himself). I got his pants on. I got his socks on. It was 2:15. And I wish I could say everything was fine from then on, but, um, no.


By around four, after three hours of almost nonstop screaming and nap-refusal and every kind of defiance, I had a crashing headache and was so at the end of my rope I had put Iyyar in his crib, left Barak playing in the living room, and called MHH, asking him through gritted teeth to come home early from kollel (which I have not done since Iyyar was born). He came home and I turned around and went into my room, closed the door and hid under the blankets for the next hour. I couldn't quite sleep, though, as much as I needed it. Our walls aren't thick enough to keep out that kind of noise. In fact, the only walls I can think of offhand that might be are the three-foot-thick stone walls of a Lithuanian monastery-turned-youth-hostel I stayed at in 1995. But I digress.

They did both get into bed at a reasonable time. MHH gave them baths, I made dinner, and I did a little writing and a little knitting after they were asleep. They both slept through the night, with the exception of Iyyar waking up for a little cuddle once around 1, which is unusual for him.

I think I am generally pretty patient with my kids. At least I try. But sometimes I just get to the end of my rope. I have never hit or even been strongly tempted to hit either of them, but on days like that I have a better understanding of how people get to the point where they do. And I have more sympathy, too. I've never been there, B"H, but yesterday I just had to walk away and let someone else take over, because I was out of patience, energy, everything.

Today, fortunately, is off to a better start. Barak is at gan, Iyyar is off playing with Ada, and I'm ostensibly working. But I thought I'd just get that off my chest first.


miriamp said...

Baruch Hashem you have the option of "walking away and letting someone else take over." Some of us don't. (And I'm specifically referring to two parent households where the other parent works specific hours or far away or both and can't leave at the drop of a hat to rescue us, but obviously, kol v'chomer, single parents too.)

uberimma said...

I don't usually have that option. It was at a day, and time of day, when I knew my husband could leave if he said he had to (and I was able to get in touch with him). When I gashed my hand last year and needed to go to the hospital to get stitches, it took an hour before I could even get in touch with him and another hour of fielding two kids with a scarily bleeding hand before I could leave for the hospital (alone, with nursing baby in tow). I was lucky.

But I know he is there. I honestly don't know how single parents, especially of multiple small children, survive.

Deborah said...

O yeah, the screaming meanies followed by the peeing of the pants. My girl did it to get at me, I am convinced.
I will have to blog about it. She thinks the story hilarious now and is astonished that she could have been so very naughty as a toddler.

jasmin said...

Ah yes, toddlers. {{waves of sympathy}}

Shall I send you some earplugs, for the next time which is just inevitable, I'm afraid?

This too shall pass.