For nearly three years, my patience and understanding with Brandon has been a point of pride with me. Not that I think I’m better than anyone else, but I’ve been so pleasantly surprised that the various stages and angst haven’t gotten to me more than they have that it became a prideful thing.
Well, you know how they say “pride goeth before a fall”?
Recently I wrote about our relatively new status as disciplinarians. Up until the last few weeks, we’ve had little reason to say no to Brandon. We’ve also been able, in most instances, to diffuse the situation before it escalates to a meltdown.
Life is not that simple anymore. Brandon has hit his stride as a two-year-old and he’s got the attitude to prove it. We have taken to calling him “Veloci-Brandon” during those times when we get the ear-drum bursting, bone-chilling, blood-curdling shrieks that indicate he is less than impressed with whatever is happening at that particular moment. He’s also learned how to use the word “no” very effectively.
He is fussier than he’s ever been in his entire life and I’ve been losing my patience with it. There’s no way to console or diffuse these situations. Timeouts are moderately effective, but he often comes away and enters into another shriek-fest over the same issue. Sometimes we know what’s wrong, but it is often a mystery.
Yesterday, Brandon got sick. I knew when he got up from his nap that there would be no going to daycare today - he had a fever. Matt and I entered negotiations about who would stay home. He’s carried the load of staying home on Brandon’s sick days for over a year now and, ultimately, I was the one who ended up staying with him.
There was a big part of me that just did not want to do it. This is the first time in Brandon’s life that there are times I have trouble enjoying the person he is. It’s a stress like no other to have your child shrieking and not know what the problem is or how to make it stop. I’m starting to understand how the baby got thrown out with the bathwater.
Then something happened that shook me up badly.
As an approaching-three-at-an-alarmingly-fast-rate-year-old child, Brandon has a lot of freedom to come and go as he wishes. He’s unbelievably good about not getting into things he shouldn’t and we haven’t needed to supervise his every trip up and down the stairs for about a year or so. Notwithstanding this high level of freedom, he isn’t left alone for long periods because he is, after all, still only two.
As I was cleaning up his morning snack, Brandon decided to go upstairs without me. He was there for a couple of minutes when I heard a crash as I was going up the stairs. I ran as fast as I could - which wasn’t very fast and that really needs to change - to find him in my bedroom with a TV hovering over his head. He’d opened all the drawers of the dresser the television was on, causing it to tip over.
I am more thankful than you can even imagine that the TV got stuck when it couldn’t fall between the open top dresser drawer and the bed. Otherwise, all 50(?) pounds of it would have come crashing down on my baby boy, whose hand was caught between two of the drawers.
I struggled to get the TV back up onto the dresser and free Brandon from the drawers to see how serious his injuries were. And here’s where we have another miracle.
His crying subsided and he held up his hand to me, saying, “Need Mommy kisses.” I kissed his hand, then hugged him as he said, “Mommy kisses make it all better.” That little exchange - more than anything else he could have done - assured me that he was completely fine. I like to think that he knew how utterly freaked out I was after seeing that TV toppled over. He reverted back to a game we came up with months ago to assure me that he wasn’t seriously hurt.
And I realized that my impatience is such a waste of time. No matter what is going on, why he’s upset, this little boy is precious and I love him more than I can say. Anyone who has the power to scare 10 years off my life in a two-minute span deserves better than what he’s been getting from me. We got comfortable with our expectations of him and now he’s thrown all of that out the window. It’s a hard adjustment for us, but we have to learn to deal without getting impatient and expecting him to “know better”. He’s two. He “knows better” sometimes, but not nearly as often as we’d like. It’s our job to get him there with patience, love and acceptance.