ABOUT ME

About me: My husband Chuck, our six-year-old Junior, our three-year-old Everette and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don't tickle me there, Elmo!

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.

Poor Chuck.

Poor Elmo.

24 comments:

Keely said...

I think that's just a phase. You're right that you're the 'novelty' - typically it's the other way around. With us, Paul and I pretty much split caregiving 50/50, but it's in blocks - X sees me for 3 days straight, then Paul for 3. Depending on who he's seeing more of, he almost always asks for the other one. And yeah, he can get pretty bossy, lol.

Poor Chuck though. It is a little hurtful on the feelings...

Julia said...

I feel bad for Chuck about now, but I think the best thing is just to ignore it and not make a big deal over it. These kids flip their affections back and forth in attempts to gain control over their particular situation and they learn how to push buttons really fast.

I have found the less I care the faster it goes away with my two kids. Same thing when the husband is on the "I don't want you list."

HoodChick said...

Wow, I had a hard time making it past Naked Hugh Jackman. I'm pulling for you and the whole bipolar thing.

The Mother said...

Be very careful of Freudian psychology. Freud not only thought all women had penis envy, but he was convinced that the hymen was an organ, and all women mourned its loss for the remainder of their lives, which would give Chuck a reason to worry that YOU hate him, too.

Kids go through stuff. Over analysis just makes everyone crazy.

mo.stoneskin said...

Elmo huh? Doesn't surprise me...

Mad Woman said...

My son did the same thing at that age...and I felt awful for my husband. Now? He rarely wants anything to do with me. This too shall pass!

Frogs in my formula said...

I hope it passes quickly!

Lindy said...

Elmo is so into you his freakin eyes are bulging out of his head.

And, I'm sure seeing Mommy do Elmo didn't cause this anxiety in Junior....at all.

rachel... said...

I don't know about any developmental crisis, but this all sounds really normal to me. Except the other way around in my house. And I never complained! I thought it was great for kids to demand "Daddy do it!" instead of me!

And we *used* to have a giant Elmo just like that... Hmm...

marybt said...

Quit asking Google for parenting advice!

I have a 2 year old also (my only child). Our work/home situation is strikingly similar to yours.

It's a phase. Seriously. Sometimes she wants her dad, sometimes she wants me. I asked my parents who had 3 children and they said we all did it.

Calm down. The child is not emotionally scarred. I think it's more scarring for the parent not in favor than it is for the kid! lol.

Sara said...

LOL Elmo makes everything better. :D

Parenting is a fail fail situation. Just do the best you can. It is a phase, but it doesn't define the kid's coping mechanisms in later relationships. It's all about controlling the situation and that is what the kid is learning. He is learning how his behaviors have consequences. It's a lifelong lesson.

On the flip side, beat em while you can. :D

Brandy said...

i'm so sorry. i have no idea what that doctor lady was talking about. isn't there like a 12 step program?

VandyJ said...

And this too shall pass, and here's hoping it passes quickly--by next week he could be giving you the cold shoulder. Turbo went back and forth at that age. Bruiser still wants Mommy but I think that has to do with the food situation, he looks at me and sees lunch! Anyway kids change at the drop of a hat, I hope the hat drops soon for you.

Mrsbear said...

I initially thought that was Junior in the picture and said to myself, wow his hands are HUGE. You have big hands for a toddler.

Don't worry too much. Kids can be shitty at any age, unless he's dismembering small animals I think you're in the clear.

Otter Thomas said...

I have just now decided to never read anything about my son's emotional developmemt. Just your references scared the crap out of me in a very disturbing way. I think I will just bury my head in the sand or maybe under a giant Elmo.

Pricilla said...

I am sorry, never having had human kids I am of no help here. I just kid 'em, butt 'em off the udder and go eat hay.

kyooty said...

my boys all wanted DAddy because I was home with them all day. Chuck is mommy nad you are the "Daddy's home" parent. It's the age

Mama Badger said...

I'm with everyone else. We all go through it. LG had to spend some quality time with me this summer while PB got all sorts of outside projects done. All he wanted was Papa after a while.

I think part of it is them trying to figure the other person out, too. LG knows that I'll give him a hug if he puts his arms out, and I'll say no if he asks for M&Ms. He doesn't know what Papa will say or do quite as reliably yet.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

Those crazy Freudian shrinks, they see penises everywhere. Freud had a very small penis, thus had penis envy himself and so projected it onto everyone.

mannequin said...

Oh I know... I have fallen out of favor with my 12 yr old so many periods throughout those 12 yrs that it would make your head spin.
I think it's only natural, that's what Google said.

blognut said...

Trust me, this will past.

And then you can go back to worrying about Junior's gas; because little boys never outgrow that!

Jenera said...

I stay at home with the kids. My husband is long haul trucker. As a result when he's home, I might as well leave. Neither boys want anything to do with me and only want their daddy. It sucks.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

There is a magic instrument: consistent love. Toddlers rarely understand, let alone, mean what they say. With time, it will pass. I have been through a lot of the toddlers, both my many children and now my grandson. They all ended up liking both parents. However, my 7-year-old grandson now does understand, and my son had an interesting conversation with him when he took care of him recently (took him to school, made his lunch, etc.) when my daughter-in-law was sick. Nathaniel (grandson) promptly told his Dad that he had done things all wrong, to which my son responded, "Well, maybe this will help you appreciate your mom more." Wise thought, right? Nope, seven-year-olds can outthink any parent. Nathaniel sighed and countered, "I wish you would get it right, Dad, so I can appreciate YOU."

At least, they DO grow up -- and once they get kids of their own, they understand a lot better!

Ms. Salti said...

And again, I'm glad I don't have children....