I would never say that I have the perfect child but up until now, Junior has been pretty wonderful. He says please and thank you. He sleeps from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and bedtime isn’t a battle. He’s a good eater. He loves to take baths. He likes the clothes I pick out for him. Unless he’s overtired, you can reason with him. And he’s affectionate.
I think I’m going to keep him.
Lately I don’t think Chuck feels the same way. It could have something to do with the fact that he feels like a stray dog in his own home. Junior’s been a bully lately—a tyrant, really. If Chuck tries to get him out of bed or read him stories or feed him, Junior yells, “NO! NOT YOU! MOMMY DO IT! GO AWAY!” He’s even stuck out his leg to kick Chuck.
My friend thinks Junior’s acting out because Chuck is home with Junior full-time and Junior is sick of Chuck, whereas I am somewhat of a novelty. You know, like that dusty bobble head belly dancer on the dashboard. But why the hostility?
Chuck put it best: “It’s like Junior suddenly has something against me.”
Not only does Junior not want Chuck when I’m around, if Chuck and I are talking, Junior will yell, “Stop talking to Daddy! Talk to ME!”
I’ve never dated someone who's overly possessive, but I think this is what it must feel like. It’s a little unnerving. So I Googled “Naked Hugh Jackman”—oops, I mean, “toddler wants daddy gone”—and stumbled across an article entitled “When a boy wants only Mom.”
The doctor sounded like she knew what she was talking about, so I read on.
Holy heart attack. I wasn’t prepared for “oedipal complex” or “developmental crisis” or the doctor’s assertion that “This classic phase can be interpreted to be a developmental working through of two of the most powerful emotions we will ever experience: love and hate.”
Fuck. Did I suddenly become a parent to a teenager? I thought kids under three were supposed to be cuddly little hellions? You know, kissy-kissy one minute and poke-your eyes-out the next. I can handle bipolar. I’m not ready for potentially scarring life lessons. It’s like thinking you’re playing Level 1 of a video game and suddenly you’re trying to kill the…
…You know what? I know so little about video games I can’t even come up with an evil character.
The end of the article states:
“A sense of well-being is the result of experiencing love and hate in a family that is able to contain and transform these primal energies, without making anybody go away! Somehow, this tempers the polarities of the primary forces inherent in life and renders us more capable of experiencing the ups and downs of living with less distress and more equanimity.”
Huh? With what magic gadget does one transform primal energies?
I think I want to go back to the newborn stage when all we worried about was whether or not Junior had gas. It’s really hitting me that our child’s emotional health depends on us. And, frankly, that concerns me. Cause before I embarked on my "toddler hit man" Googling session, I was planning on using this juvenile picture as my post:
Me and Elmo. Caught canoodling on the couch. Chuck took the picture. Right before Junior sicced his fleet of Thomas the Trains on him.