The Roles are Reversing

I’m not sure I thought I would (anytime soon) profess that Brogan was my easy child. But over the last couple of weeks, Brogan has begun to show maturity. He is controlling his emotions more and we can actually reason with him. There are less tantrums, there is less stress, less screaming and more enjoyable time together. I’m feeling a tiny sense of relief that the path I thought he was on 6 months ago may not be his destiny.  Now, I’m not professing that he is an angel – not at all. But relative to his 3-year-old self and relative to his 2-year-old brother, he is now much, much more manageable. He is still Brogan, so he’s 90 miles an hour most times or “relentless” as my father-in-law says. But I can deal with high-energy and high-maintenance. A while back, my sister-in-law drew the perfect analogy for him. We were talking about one of the good things about his strong personality is that he’ll definitely be a leader. And then in jest she said, “We’re not sure yet if we’re dealing with a Lincoln or a Hitler, but he’ll be a leader!” Well, thank the Lord, but the Hitler route does not appear to be where we’re heading. Let’s hope this trend continues.

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Now Beckett. The little guy has picked up some of Brogan’s habits and has been flexing his independence lately. He’s been running off, being defiant, and flat out acting like a wild animal. He’s been throwing major temper tantrums… and gave me quite a doozy this weekend with my mother-in-law while we were in Kroger. He didn’t want in the cart; he didn’t want in the little car attached to the cart. He didn’t want to be held, or walk. So he threw himself on the floor and threw an absolute fit. I tried the tactic of walking away and paying him no attention. But he just screamed louder. So I picked him up and carried his kicking and screaming butt outside where he sat in timeout until he calmed down. I was very thankful I was not solo during this outing. And while none of this is abnormal for a 2-year-old, this is my sweet Beckett we’re talking about. That mild-mannered child who took it easy on mom while she did her best to wrangle his older brother. That sweet child, I fear, is moving to the dark side. I’m hoping we learned some lessons with Brogan that have left us better equipped to handle a disobedient toddler, and perhaps this phase gets nipped pretty quickly. We can only hope.

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I’m beginning to realize that age has a lot to do with the behavior issues. I think a child’s personality can either amplify or lessen the standard age-appropriate willfulness/tantrums/talking back/disobedience/etc. But regardless, some of this stuff is inevitable. Let’s just hope Beckett only gets a case of the terrible twos… and not the terrifying threes like ole Bob had. And let’s hope that four is a year of continuing maturity for Brogan and that things can be “easy” for a little while. At least until it gets really crazy come December.

And speaking of Bob, this phase has not gone away. He continues to refer to himself by that name… he continues to write his name as that name. We’re not making a big deal about it (for fear that oppressing it will make it worse), but I still call him Brogan (to which he corrects me occasionally). I’m concerned that when he goes into Pre-K in a few weeks, it will be “Bob” that he wants to write on all his papers. Not sure what to do here… except chuckle, I suppose, because this kid sure likes to keep things interesting.

And speaking of keeping it interesting, Brogan has been wooing the ladies again. In particular, a 4-year-old girl this past weekend. The little girl had come over to Blake’s parents’ house with her grandparents and had been swimming and playing with Brogan for a couple hours. When it was time for her to leave, Brogan was a little sad and deflated, because obviously, he wasn’t ready for her to go. So as she begins to walk away, he says confidently, and I quote, “there’s only one thing left to do…” and with that the proceeded to walk over to her, give her a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. Proud of himself, he walked away with a grin. The little girl said, “Yuk.” Her grandmother said, “That’s my girl.” And they left. I was sitting there with my sister-in-law when the whole thing went down, and we were pretty much dumbfounded by what we heard. Like, seriously?!? Where does he get this from!  It seemed fresh from a soap opera script, but the little guy doesn’t watch soaps. So maybe some kids are just born with all the right things to say and a natural charm. But after every episode like this, I get more and more worried about his teenage years. Oh what am I in store for…

Oh the joys, oh the joys. I say that half sarcastic and half for real. Parenting really is a joy. Especially when you can loosen up and appreciate your kids for who they really are – the good, the bad and the ugly. I think sometimes kids just need to be accepted and loved and somehow all that bad stuff that we’re worried will keep them from being productive members of society one day will just go away.  My kids aren’t perfect and I’m not the perfect parent, but I really am enjoying this ride they’ve got me on. Oh the joys!

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Oh the Humiliation

So I’m pretty sure every parent has one of these. That low point when your kids embarrass you so badly you want to crawl in a hole. There are the minor infractions such as when your child asks the woman with a man’s haircut at the grocery store if she is a boy or a girl. Oh, from the mouths of babes. While quite humiliating, it’s an innocent question that meant no harm from an inquisitive toddler trying to figure out the world around them. But then there are the doozies. The kind that you swore would never, ever, ever happen to you, because somehow you’d be awesome at this parenting thing and have your kids totally under control!

Brogan gave me my first (and hopefully last… one can hope) doozie. Let me set the stage – Brogan was a couple of months shy of 2, I was about 7 months pregnant with Beckett. I went against my better judgment and took Brogan out to dinner solo, and without the assistance of a stroller. Dinner went as well as could be expected and then it was time to pay. This was a place where you pay your check at the counter. So there I was tightly holding the hand of my youngster as he’s wiggling and trying to make a run for it. I keep holding, trying with my other hand to remove my wallet from my purse, give my card, sign my receipt when the little escape artist succeeded and bolted for the door. Without hesitation, I run after him, catch him 6 feet from the door and try to scoop him up. But what does he do? Drops to the ground like dead weight. I lean down to get him, when conveniently everything in my purse spills out. And to add insult to injury (or vise versa), he slaps me across the face. Yes, that’s right – there is a first time for everything and lucky me the first time my sweet little boy hit me was in front of an audience. Oh and wait, the audience included a couple from down the street (that I don’t know well). You think you’ll know what to do in these situations, but I didn’t. I was mad, embarrassed, pregnant, looking totally out of control of my son – which I was. For those people who think a kiddie-leash is inhumane, let me give you my child for a while and then also give you the finger. I could have really used one. Thank God for people who are warm in these situations. A man who had a front row seat to the show looked at me and said, “I have two boys and trust me, I’ve been there.” I will never forget that gesture of kindness and I have made a point since then to speak out to other parents when I see them in a similar struggle.

But you know, what goes around comes around. I’m looking forward to the day – maybe in middle school, perhaps in high school – when my son has the nerve to say I embarrass him. I will chuckle smugly, tell him this (and probably many more stories) and not feel bad – at all!

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