Momfession #17: Our new puppy

My two-year-old darling daughter has recently learned how to pretend. Like, she pretends that her brother is hurting her when she is alone in the room with him and screams her head off so that we come running in to scold him (we caught on to that one pretty quickly). Or,  she pretends that she is hurt when we put her to bed because she doesn’t want to go to sleep…so she yells, “owww…owwwwwwww Mommy!” until I come back in to see what is wrong (that worked a few times, but only because one time I walked in and she actually had managed to get her leg stuck in her crib and was in pain). I know that this stuff is typical toddler behaviour (remember, I have been through this once before!) so why the witty blog post? Well, here’s my momfession: I have taken advantage of this new-found skill in an odd but effective way. The last two days, she has wanted to pretend she is a dog. She runs around the house, panting and barking and is quite the cute little puppy-girl. At dinnertime, a typically stressful time spent encouraging her to eat her food and telling her repeatedly, no…you may not have cookies for dinner, I now pretend I am feeding my Kailyn-dog. It goes something like this…

Mommy: Does my little Kailyn puppy want a treat?

Kailyn: Pant, pant (tongue sticking out)

M: Here you go (tossing some form of meat or veggie in her mouth)

K: chew, chew

M: Good doggie! (pats K’s head)

It works like a charm. I have no idea what people would think if they saw us feeding our new “puppy” but I honestly don’t care. As long as she is eating good food and isn’t screaming throughout dinnertime, I am a happy mommy. I will keep up this Kailyn-puppy act as long as possible. Or at least until we really start potty training…

Momfession #16: Blame game

Sometimes I feel like the worst parent in the world. I have a six-year-old boy who has been experiencing behavioural issues since he was three. He has been kicked out of two different daycare programs, suspended from school, and considered for a special behavioural program for kindergarteners. We have taken him to doctors, psychologists, social workers, and an occupational therapist. We have filled out more paperwork about him than all of the tax returns I have ever completed in my life. We live in a constant state of on-edge…will we get a call from school today? Did he kick someone in the face? Is he trashing the grade one classroom? Will I have to leave work….again…to pick him up because he threw his shoe at the principal? Did I mention he is SIX?

And here’s what really gets me. Anyone who has a kid knows that you can’t control the way he or she turns out. You have a significant influence, yes, but there are some things that just can’t be controlled. But deep down, I think that a lot of parents, teachers and even friends who see the way my son behaves or hears about his actions blame us. I mean, really…we ARE the main influences in his life, right? If he is messed up, it must be our fault.

And maybe it is our fault, to an extent. Maybe we are too hard on him sometimes. Maybe we shouldn’t let him watch cartoons in the morning. Maybe we should make him eat more vegetables. Who knows. But I wish that other people also knew how unbelievably hard we try to help him….how many nights we spend in tears, how many hours I spend searching Google, trying to match his symptoms to some rare disorder that might have a cure, how many days we have spent trying desperately not to get angry and frustrated with him, because we know that doesn’t help anyone.

People tell me that one day, we will look back and laugh at these times…like the time he convinced his friend to pee on the bathroom wall (OK that one was actually amusing). Because one day, he might have “real” problems, like knocking down a stop sign with our car, or not getting into the university of his choice. All I can think is, I just want to get through the next month, or week, or day without messing him up too badly. We’ll worry about the “real” problems when they come. For now, I just want to help him to be a content, fulfilled six-year-old.

So the next time you see a child throwing a fit at the mall, or your kid comes home and tells you that a “bad boy” in their class said mean things to them, do me a favour: don’t blame the parents, and offer a bit of sympathy if you can. You never know when you might need the favour returned.