Tuesday, March 08, 2005

He's Very Very Sorry

Overnight, I turned into the Wicked Witch of the West Coast. Babygirl's typical whines grated on my sensitive nerves. YoungestBoy's desire to built a fort from his comforter before school provoked an eye roll from me. The twins' typical non-stop, nondescript noise caused me to clench my jaw. And I skipped my walk because I'd been awakened at 2:30 a.m. by a sad Babygirl standing in her crib, where she has ready access to the light switch which explains why the light shone in my squinted eyes at that grim hour. I only rocked her for five minutes, but when I returned to my bed, I couldn't sleep and so decided at 3:30 a.m. that I would not, could not get up to walk at 5:20 a.m.

Next time, I will override that decision. No decision made at 3:30 a.m. is a wise decision.

So, I was crabby today. The day progressed fairly well, though, until this afternoon when TwinBoyA sassed me one too many times. He'd been yelling at his brothers and friends to fix the tent-city in the dining room and I finally rebuked him. He told me to "BE QUIET!" I did not take kindly to this back-sass (as my boys used to call it) and gave a finger-waving, glaring lecture which included the threat of an early bedtime and no trip to Hollywood Video (source of rented GameCube games) for a "very, very long time!"

He kept interrupting me. Somehow, he's never noticed that when he interrupts, I just rewind the lecture and start back at the beginning. This enrages him and enrages me and soon we are locked in an epic struggle for power. Just like when he was two, only now he has a bigger vocabulary. When I left the room, he threw the pillows from the couch and attempted to dig himself deep into the furniture. His cries were loud and dramatic.

I left the room to tend to CuteBaby and a while later, when I rounded a corner, we nearly collided. He said to me, "Mom, I hope you end up in hell."

I said, "You hope I end up in hell? Really?" I could not have been more surprised. Where does he get these things? Not from anyone in this household, nor from any media as we are selective. I think he actually thought of the worst possible thing he could say to me and then said it, thinking it was an original thought. His ingenuity impressed one tiny part of me and floored the rest of me. He said, "Yes, and I HATE YOU!" So there.

I said, "Oh. So, you hope I END UP IN HELL and you hate me? Well, very nice." I did the Bill Clinton pursed-lips thing and said, "Okay, then. You hope I end . . . up . . . in . . . hell . . . and you hate me. Thanks. Great."

Not long after that, he approached me and said, "Mom, I'm sorry," and I said, "Well, great, but I don't think I will ever forget this day when you told me to go to hell." And he crawled under the tent and bawled.

As you can imagine, I was perturbed and not quite ready to let this go. A better mom might have embraced him and forgiven him immediately and sometimes I do wonder why God didn't give this child to A Better Mom, wherever she is, but I sighed and walked away again.

Then later, much later, he hand-delivered this note:

 Posted by Hello

We had a rational talk about the disrespect of his words. I accepted his apology and formally forgave him.

I wonder what I did to deserve a mouthy, snotty, sassy child like TwinBoyA. He's been this way since before he could talk or walk. He's a fit-thrower, an impulsive child who has a short fuse and an Elvis sneer. I might blame myself for his behavior and attitude, yet I have three other children who are vastly different. I might blame genetics, since he has no genetic link to me or his dad, but what point is there in blame? TwinBoyA is who he is and it's my job to mold his resisting, harder-then-stiff-clay self into a decent human being. On bad days, I figure he'll be an inmate somewhere, someday. On good days, I know that he'll be just fine, even though raising him might just kill me.

There is really nothing like having kids to bring you face to face with your own flawed self. I'm not really enjoying that close-up view today.


Blogger Angi said...

Those days hurt so bad. I have had more than my share of the "I hate you"'s. THose are probably the hardest words to hear.

I normally repond with "no matter how you feel, or think you feel, I love you, and nothing you ever say or do will change that. I may not like you sometimes, but my love never changes".

I like laying the guilt on.

Oh, and I tend to blame the hormones.

I pray today is better for you. :)

7:02 AM  
Blogger ilovecheese said...

Oh Mel! that letter is really so touching..TwinBoyA look like he knows how to say sorry quite well!
Maybe he just says things he does not mean when he's in an angry fit..
But i think he really means sorry :)
I've back-sassed my mom so many times and she's forgiven me always (after a day/a few hours or so) and i wonder why she would do that?
I guess every mom no matter how angry or annoyed cant just remain angry at her kids for long..
But when kids say "we hate you" its just to retaliate..when mom tells us that it hurt her- it hurts inside us just as bad, coz we really love our mom and cant see her hurt and then we are madder that we made her feel bad!
I can imagine that TwinBoyA really dint mean what he said..but he means the "sorr"ies..and he does feel bad..I think. :)

7:54 AM  
Blogger Wash Lady said...

I laughed out loud when I read what he said and then I remembered all the times when my DD#2 screamed the same things to me. I'd just look at her and say, "I am pretty sure I understand. I would hate me too if I were you. So you seem pretty normal to me."

Some days - I might be able to muster, "That's ok, I love you enough for both of us."

At least he understands the value of a sincere apology.

I also wanted to highlight the feeling of these kinds of children being magnetically drawn to our vulnerabilities and insecurities as parents. You are normal and so is he - just think of all the wisdom you will have to impart to him when he experiences the same thing with his children (which we know he will)

Keep the faith and the consistency.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

He is blessed to have you.

When my oldest son was 17 he spent a summer as a camp counselor. After ONE WEEK, he came home and THANKED us. Of course, we nearly dropped dead right on the spot.

Oh, and your son has much better hand writing than my 20 year old.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I remember as a child standing in the corner as punishment, instead of repenting of my wrong, I would think about how much I hated the parent responsible for putting there. One day I realized that if I hate dad when he puts me there and hate mom when she puts me there, then I hate both parents and I can't do that, so I decided to hide neither. I was so proud of my awakening that upon release from the corner I told my mother. Strangely enough she didn't seem as happy my discovery as I was. No parent likes to hear that her child has thoughts of hate for them, and I don't look forward to the first time Aud tells me she hates me. It's inevitable isn't it?

It will stick with your son just as it will stick with you, and he will remember it and feel bad about it even into his adulthood. That note tells me that much.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Square1 said...

i think the worst one for me was when my then 3 year old screamed at me that I don't love her. I didn't know whether to be incensed or hurt. She's as cantakerous as I am, and she often brings me face to face with a mean streak I'd much rather deny that I have, and try to keep buried. But the thing i have to remind myself of on those days, as for as horrifed as i am about the negative things about myself she reflects back at me... I also swell with pride when I see the very positive things about her that I know I've passed along too, and that they far outwiegh the negative. hubby and I are both very intelligent people... but we did ourselves in when we had kids, because all three of them already far outshine us. What we lack in intelligence compared with them... we have to substitute with as much wisdom and experience as we can muster.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Christi said...

Wow! I learned a lot today. I am now holding my breath until I have that moment...Well, at least you can never say you have a boring moment!

2:07 PM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

There's not much more humbling than raising a child.

Hang in there, Mel. Great note from your boy, btw. That's a keeper for more reasons than one.


8:19 PM  
Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

It's amazing what kids will say, isn't it?

Dad would use the switch on me whenever I back-sassed by mom. I quickly learned not to do that again!

2:51 PM  
Blogger barbara curtis said...

Mel -- I read your post while I was away and so wanted to respond, but the slow hotel dial up just wouldn't cooperate. anyway, it made me think of the movie "All About Eve," when Betty Davis says, "Fasten your seatblets everyone. We're in for a bumpy ride."
In my experience, 13 is the most difficult, drive-you-crazy age my kids went through -- and seven of my kids have gone through it so far. Then of course there's time leading up to and time winding down. I also noticed it was much harder for my kids who have a more creative/artistic temperment.
These were the times that tried my soul. But there was so much turmoil going on within some of them. I remember one time we watched the movie "Of Mice and Men" with Gary Sinese and John Maklovitch (excellent movie if you like serious) and Ben -- who was then 13 -- went to bed crying for a week. He was so overwhelmed with emotions he couldn't even go to school. Neither could he articulate why or \how the movie impacted him so powerfully. He is the most creative of my kids -- a singer and artist.
It might have been because he had a habit -- which I had been unable to break -- of picking on his sisters. I actually got so mad at him once I started hitting him (bad mommy) and he was about 6 inches taller than me. We certainly had our horrible moments when he was 13. Now he's 18 and studying voice at Liberty and there are few people I would rather spend time with.
That's the thing about kids -- you really can't tell how they'll turn out by where they are today.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

Oh, I love the note. You will have to keep that one. Your son is just at the beginning of a pretty hard stage. Hang in there. I know that's easy for me to say, because I am looking at it from the other side now.
There were many days when humor was all that kept me afloat! I know you have a great sense of humor, so keep it handy....

8:56 AM  

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