It’s Not Him, It’s You

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Nothing spells mom on the verge of a breakdown like a Mom in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s office.

Kids are screaming.

Babies are coughing.

And moms look like they are about to climb the wall.

And that’s in the “well waiting area.” The sick waiting area is complete and utter mayhem.

Why were we at the pediatrician you ask? Well, besides the fact that we should probably move in there, we were there because I wanted to see if there is in fact some behavioral issues going on with my child. And if that was ruled out I wanted to scare the shit out of my kid. You heard me; I wanted to scare the daylight out of him. For some reason the Dr. telling him to behave is a lot more effective than nagging mommy. Sometimes you have to pull out the big guns to get your child to start listening.

I have accepted that I have a very, very active and headstrong boy. If you have one, you understand. You never sit down. You never get a break. He flies out of bed like someone who had has 29 cups of coffee first thing in the morning and does not calm down until I coerce him into bed at 8 pm. He is a little Tasmanian devil and I’m all good with that, most days.

What I’m not ok with is the violent, make your skin crawl, tantrums.

I’ve tried everything.

Time out. Spanking. Bribery. Negotiating. Reasoning.

Nothing has worked.

I’ll be honest, as a Mom, I was starting to panic a little. Could this be more than just strong will? I’m not someone who is scared of my child having issues. I have not had an easy life and am always prepared to tackle an issue head on and find the best solution. In fact, I strive during a crisis. I guess it’s the not knowing what the issue is and how to tackle it that has been getting to me. I feel helpless and frustrated. Being out of control for a control freak is a very scary place to be. I know from his teachers, Godparents and anyone else who cares for him that he is a complete angel in their presence. l was starting to wonder if it was me.

So like any responsible parent, I took him to the pediatrician for answers.

They left us in the waiting room for 20 minutes and the shit inevitably hit the fan. One of the epic tantrums I had brought him to the pediatrician to speak about was happening. They had an Etch A Sketch thingy for the kids to play with and he asked me to draw him a long neck dinosaur. Of course, I obliged, but as we both know, my skills as an artist are lacking. He was so angry that my drawing was so bad that he threw the Etch A Sketch across the waiting room. I was beyond mortified. I wanted to scream in my devil voice but we were in public so I had to slap on a smile and quietly walk over and tell him that his behavior was unacceptable and that we were going to the bathroom. He screamed, “NOOO! I can do what I want!” Then came the inevitable, “I don’t like you.” I could tell the other parents were holding their breath to see how I would handle the situation.

I’ll be honest, I was flaming pissed and wanted to do very bad things but I’m a mom, at the pediatrician’s office, waiting to see the pediatrician about behavioral issues. Not the best time to lose my shit. I picked him up as he kicked and screamed and I took him into the hall, sat him down and walked away. I’m pretty sure the whole building could hear his tantrum but I just tuned him out. What else could I do? He finally calmed down when he realized his level 10 psychotic fit was getting him nowhere. After what felt like years, we were finally called back to see the pediatrician. I was almost glad he had a tantrum at the Dr. because now I could tell the Dr. the magnitude of the situation and I had eyewitnesses.

The pediatrician listened to my concerns and looked my son over. I felt him grab my hand, which I thought was odd, because he has never touched me in his 5 years as our Dr. He took a deep breath and said, “your kid is perfectly fine. Please don’t take offense to this but I think the issue may be at home.”

Gulp.

I wanted to cry.

But I also wanted to punch this Dr. in the face.

Just a light punch. Nothing that would result in reconstructive surgery. Maybe just a bruise or a bandaid.

He went on to say, “You’re a wonderful Mom but I think you and your husband may over parent a little and he is acting out when you don’t give him exactly what he wants.”

“This happens a lot with only children.”

He suggested that we let go of the reigns a bit when it comes to allowing him some independence and that when he does act out we enforce harsher punishments.

I was confused.

And pissed.

Who the hell did this Dr. think he was?

Are we supposed to let go or be harder on him?

His advice was conflicting.

So here I am, wondering where I went wrong and how to fix this issue my husband and I created by “over loving” our kid.

And by not having more kids.

I did get one thing accomplished with that visit though: the pediatrician did have a stern talking to little Carlos and scared the crap out of him. For some reason a male voice always does the trick.

Now when he misbehaves I say, remember what “Dr. L said” and he quickly gets his act together.

Thank God for small miracles.

I should add that if you see me and it looks like I could care less what my kid is doing, please keep in mind that I’m working on my “under parenting.”

 

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