Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I've Got Two Strong Arms

Last night at about 7:00 The Mayor lost it.

It’s been happening with some regularity, this all out hysteria.

He starts crying, escalates to wailing and then reaches a place from which he can’t seem to descend.

It’s actually quite sad.

Last night his tantrum came when we decided that our napless boy was too tired for anything other than the bath, books and bed routine.

Contrarily, The Mayor had a social call in mind and was devastated to learn that no post dinner visit with his friend would occur.

A few nights ago the hysteria came when “movie night” ended.

For the first time in The Mayor and The Rooster’s lives K and I decided to pop corn and watch a movie with them.

We chose The Lion King – and I will be up front and admit that it was a dumb choice given that DISNEY GUARANTEES A PARENTAL DEATH SCENE.

[What is wrong with those freakin’ happy mouseketeer people?]

At any rate, K and I got The Mayor and The Rooster to agree that since we would be staying up late we would NOT be reading stories when the movie ended.

We agreed that we would go right to sleep after the movie.

[Oh, the broken contracts with THE WHITE MAN!]

Instead of a peaceful transition to bed when The Lion King ended there was, instead, a great wailing.

The Rooster gave up, but The Mayor blew the proverbial gasket.

I have never been The Mayor’s favorite parent. From the beginning he has been K’s child, so much so in fact, that my feelings have often been hurt by his overwhelming preference for his father.

Though K remains his alpha human, The Mayor and I seem to have finally developed our own kind of closeness.

Though he never picks me first to be his playmate, story reader or daytime pal, he sometimes seeks me out in his darker moments.

Last night I sat beside the tub giving Rooster a bath while The Mayor chased K around the house kicking him in the shins and screaming.

Eventually he made his way to the bathroom and sank into my lap sobbing with his head buried in my sweater.


“I want to go to Ella’s,” he wailed.

“I know, I know,” I rocked.

“I won’t whine! I won’t cry!” he shrieked.

“Is that why you think we’re not going to Ella’s?” I asked. “Do you think it’s your fault?”


He nodded.


“It’s just getting too late,” I soothed. “We’ve run out of time in this day.”


Mostly I just held him.

It occurred to me that being held is sometimes all I want when I am upset.

I don’t want my problems fixed or solved. I don’t want to talk. I just want two strong arms to hold and rock me.

I tried to make my arms steady and sturdy for The Mayor while he let his frustration pour out.

From my perspective, there seem to be two kinds of tantrums.

There is the tantrum where The Mayor is simply being a big, old-school jerk and then there’s the tantrum masking something deeper.

A few nights earlier when The Mayor lost it after we watched The Lion King, I felt sorry him.

To me, the movie tantrum seemed rooted in something different than our contract to go straight to sleep (at 10:00 p.m.!!!) without any stories.

I crawled into bed beside The Mayor’s shaking, rage-filled, little body.

I rubbed his back softly while he sobbed and sobbed.

Finally, when he exhausted himself, he said,


“Why did the Daddy Lion have to get dead?”

So that was what troubled him.

Of course.

We talked about Mustafa’s death for a long time.

The Mayor’s breath eventually became even, but he was still upset.


“Will you sleep in my bed?” he asked.

I said I would.


“Will you stay here all night?” he asked.


“Do you want me too?”


“Yes,” he said.


I wiggled into the tiny space his sprawled out toddler form left for me in his narrow bed and gave him a snuggle.

Though I missed my own pillow and my usual sleeping companion, I felt good.

I want to be close to The Mayor.

I love him and get jealous of K’s closeness to him sometimes.

I think The Mayor and I are finding our way to each other on our own terms.

I hope so.



Hayride


94 comments:

Veronica Mitchell said...

This was a beautiful post.

Hetha said...

You've a great deal of parental wisdom to share OTJ. This post made me misty, you and he are so sweet.

Hol&J said...

So sweet.

SouthernBell said...

That was so freaking swee, girl, you made me cry!

tulipmom said...

Damn those Disney people ... this is why SB still hasn't seen The Lion King or Nemo.

Thanks for such a beautiful post.

slouching mom said...

aww... i loved this. ben and i are like that -- he's his daddy's boy.

Paige said...

Wonderful post. Really one of your best, J.

liv said...

of course, you do, sweetie. good, sturdy mom arms. and boys love, but love their mamas.

Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter said...

I discovered the power of just holding a while back. Now, when someone's upset and nothing else works, I just say, "You want to rock a while with me?"

No talking (except for a few I love yous), just holding and rocking.

Works every time.

DD said...

I have found that my son does indeed have a preference for my husband when it comes to playing or getting things ready for him, but when he needs the softness and comfort, he comes to Mom. I would say that's how The Major feels about you.

It's not for us to wonder whose arms are stronger: the ones that can lift us high into the sky like an airplane or the ones that can wrap us up like a cocoon. They are equal in not just strength, but need.

mommiebear2 said...

I love this post! Claire is totally a daddy's girl while Taylor is a total momma's boy.

flutter said...

I can't imagine. I can't imagine....this mom thing is so hard....I just can't imagine.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh yes, those earth-shattering-something deeper tantrums. Lots of those here now.

Excellent description of that parenting time.

Great momming.

Julie
Using My Words

Kyla said...

Oh, those tantrums. BubTar unfortunately has them quite regularly.

You are good, good mommy, OTJ.

canape said...

When you write your parenting book, I would like the first copy please.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I love that picture. The Mayor looks just like K, me thinks.

p.s. we are having our fair share of tantrums here...damn you holiday break! Damn you!

Also, don't EVER watch Dumbo...saddest Disney movie ever.

Omaha Mama said...

I read an article once about how Walt Disney hated his mother. I believe it. Yes, the folks are always dying off, aren't they? We have those tantrums too, in many forms.

Your little boy looks like such a little man in that photo!

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Such an awesome post.

You rock.

we_be_toys said...

Oh! You are going to make me a weeping mess when I pull up in carpool today!
That was so sweet, and I know how you feel - my eldest has always been Daddy's Boy, and I feel jealous too, alot more than I feel like I should. But who did he need when it was time for getting it off his chest? It was his Mom! I think you might edge out Dad yet!

Cara said...

That was so sweet, I had tears in my eyes. I love the picture. Sometime I wish my son was a Daddy Boy but when he looks for comfort I am the first person he runs to and I love being his safe place.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

The Mayor is so very lucky to have you as his mama. I think he knows it too, which is why he seeks you in his times of greatest despair.

Family Adventure said...

Look at that picture - he's getting so big!!!

Cherish those snuggles...

Heidi

Sandra Miller said...

This was just beautiful, Jessica.

Dory said...

Awwww... I'm so happy for you!

Cat, Galloping said...

I think you know Gatito is the same way with the daddy preference. After he tumbled out of his pack and play over the holidays, he spent the night with his arms wrapped around A's neck-- the first and only time he's every slept in our bed. Even though it looked mostly uncomfortable and was impossible for A to sleep, I was jealous. And the next day it was like he'd imprinted on A and was even more attached than usual. We do have our sweet moments, too, but mostly it's when A is not available. But thanks for the hope that we still have a chance! ooh, up from his nap and calling my name!

mothergoosemouse said...

Sometimes I'm in such a hurry to make it better that I forget to listen. Thanks for the reminder.

Damselfly said...

Aw. With a face like that, I couldn't imagine the Rooster having a tantrum. But how wise of you to discern the different kinds of tantrums -- and to get some good snuggling time, to boot.

~JJ! said...

I hope so too sweet momma!

Life As I Know It said...

Lovely post.

It took me a long time to realize the difference between a misbehaving kid and a need-to-let-out-steam-about-something-deeper-than-what-you-think-I'm-crying-about cry.

There have been many times when I know that all he needs is to be wrapped in my arms and to just cry. A lot of pent up emotions need to be released now and again. In all of us.

ewe are here said...

Ah, the 'daddy's my favorite' child.

I know this child. I have this child. My oldest absolutely adores his daddy; I feel am a distant second. And it can hurt.

May you and the Mayor find your way to each other in the new year.... that's one of my goals with my Ramekin as well.

Hugs.

zdoodlebub said...

You are cute. (picture)

And you are so intentional and in the moment with your children. I love it, covet it. Good mom, you are.

BOSSY said...

Lordy, that photo of you and The Mayor -- it's as if someone put K in an incredibly hot dryer.

Bossy likes your theory about being held through the difficult times. When Bossy's daughter was hurt, Bossy found herself responding to her daughter's (minor, really) complaints and (major) discomfort with, "I am so so sorry." A little compassion goes a long way. And chocolate ice cream ever killed anyone.

Lastly, Bossy has this to say about Disney: It's Mauschwitz.

yummysushipajamas said...

What a great post!!! Extremely touching... and an adorable picture of you both.

Craze said...

Beautiful post.

QT said...

OMG - this post and the picture too - so sweet! He is a mini - K, truly.

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

really, really beautiful!

Holly said...

Sometimes holding them is simply the best thing. Last night after reading stories, my little one said, "Mom, can we just snuggle close?" Absolutely, buddy.

Beautiful post.

jennifer said...

I can really, really relate to this. Thank you.

PunditMom said...

I have had many (too many to count) strong arm/hug moments with PunditGirl. It took me a long time to figure out she didn't want talk -- she needed comfort, even if she didn't want to admit it to herself. Hmmm -- I guess even with adoption, sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

MamaCarter said...

I think any kid would be lucky to call you mom, even if you aren't the alpha-human.

Victoria said...

Wow - sub in a few names and you've written a post about me and my Girl. I struggle to understand her. She struggles to connect with me. Some days we're not friends. I'm rarely her favorite.

Sigh.

Your photo is sweet. As is your little boy.

Natalie said...

*sniff*. I'm Seriously all teary eyed here. I am not sure if you realize it, but it sounds as if he is just as close to you as he is with his father. He goes to you when he needs strength, support, and love, which means he trusts you completely; and that's a pretty good place to be in.

It's much the same with my son and his father. He would much prefer his dad on many levels, but when he needs emotional support, he comes to me.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

We've got those too. I have bruises on my shins. Being a single mom and all...I have found that there is always a deeper root other than not getting candy or being able to go to the playground...and I find I grab them and swing them around or go lie down next to them and do what you did and it helps for all of us to find what is bothering them. (or me). Love this post.

skiplovey said...

What a sweet post.

Mama DB said...

Great post. I sometimes get a bit jealous of Peanut's preference to the hubby. Every now and then she just wants to snuggle with me and I love those times.

I love, love the picture of the two of you.

Am I doing okay? said...

Great post. Great picture.

Happy New Year!

the end of motherhood? said...

I used to adore getting to the bottom of a tantrum. When the true worry spills out and you get to be the one to hold them with your two strong arms - it doesn't get better than that.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

There are totally several kind of tantrums. The kind where you know they are being jerks, and the kind where they need you to ignore their jerkiness and be loving anyway.Dex had those kind of tantrums yesterday though his fever and vomiting.

Love the pic, too.

imhelendt said...

Jessica- My ten year old STILL has trouble with transitions. I found that abrupt changes in plans or activities always set off tantrums (still). SOooo...it helps to warn them as far in advance as you can of impending changes especially when they're doing something they enjoy ("when the buzzer goes off you're going to have to put away your toys and take your bath- you have 10 minutes" and then I warn him a few more times as it gets closer- 5 minutes! 2 minutes!) It also helps to give him a verbal schedule of things you know are going to happen (first we're going to the doctor, then we're going to the store, then we're getting lunch.) If you have a white board or a chalkboard at home, you can draw little picture to indicate schedules for him (you wouldn't believe how much these things help) like a book for reading and such. With my son, if it's something fun we're going to do, I never tell him until we're arriving at the place in case plans change (which they always do.) These techniques help him with transitions... :) Good Luck!

All Things BD said...

Oh, the "Can a sister get a hug over here?" tantrums. I've got two girls, and we get these often. I forget sometimes to keep the hug option in my mommy arsenal. Thanks for the reminder. Great post.

Tabba said...

beautiful. beautiful post.

I can't believe that picture of The Mayor! He has lost that "baby" look. He totally looks like a big boy!!!

You are such a great Momma. The Mayor knows who has the strong, soft arms. HIS Momma.

Mrs. Chicken said...

I think the hardest thing about parenting is know when to just listen, when to just hold them and let them cry it all out.

And I am so glad that you are feeling closer to The Mayor. I hope for that to happen for Mr. C and The Poo, as well.

carrie said...

*weeping*

Sometimes, even when they're 10, they'll ask to sleep in your bed and snuggle.

And there's NOTHING wrong with that.

From one mama of boys to another, you did good.

Bastet said...

That was a sweet post.

And I am with you on the Mouse-ka-killers...what is up with that?

KennethSF said...

Lovely! Mustafa's sacrifice is not in vain after all! :-)

suchsimplepleasures said...

he is adorable! and...that was beautiful. i think that, as parents, we have different relationships with each child and vice versa. my oldest son, from birth, preferred his daddy. he loved to sit on his dads lap and play on the computer, at a very young age. he'd wait for his dad to come home, every night. yet, he and i, have always had a very huggy kissy cuddly relationship. he came to me for the love and he went to his dad for companionship. even since we divorced, my son, who is turning 12...he still wants love and affection from me and from his dad...he wants attention!
something about your post made me long winded...sorry!
happy new year, btw!

Magpie said...

That is one beautiful photo. And a lovely post.

FENICLE said...

Sometimes the best parenting is done by simply holding.

Great post!!!

Happy New Year!

jen said...

this was a truly lovely post, friend. we all find our way, don't we?

Joy said...

What a touching story. Disney always kills off a parent, has an evil parent, or one of the parents is already gone. Thanks Disney, thanks so much.

MamaGeek said...

Wow, truly beautiful tale and beautiful photo.

Melisa said...

Great post, and GREAT photo!

He may not always choose you first, but he knows you're there and especially in hard times, you're his rock. That's a very important place to be.

Melisa
Suburban Scrawl
and
Remembering Ruby

Smiling Mom said...

Wow. What a story. This is by far the most important and beautiful post I've read of yours.

kittenpie said...

Aw. I know about this, even though we are years from where you are, because Pumpkinpie has always been her daddy's girl. I heard a lot of, "I don't love you, mommy. I only love daddy." But she has her moments, and I am always the preferred story reader, so that's our time. Sometimes, you just have to find your niche, hey?

imaginary binky said...

That is just gorgeous. Tell The Mayor that I throw a fit when they kill off the parents, too. Bambi didn't deserve it, and neither did the lion.
I hope I have this kind of closeness with Amos. Lovely stuff.

Queen Karana said...

Alright. THAT was the best post ever. You've done comedy, but this one, well, this one was the best. Hands down.

I can SO relate.

lildb said...

god, Jess, it is SUCH a relief to find someone else who deals with the regular rejection from their firstborn. I constantly feel like it's my bad, that I've somehow sucked the life and roses out of our relationship because I ... ?? Stopped nursing him at 20 months? I mean, C'MON. Christ on a cracker. I've tried. And the constant resulting rejection effing blows.

and when I get a moment like the one you've described in this post, my mind goes all soft and woozy and at the same time it scrabbles to remember every scrap, every second, and it's bliss, and I kind of freak out. and

I'm just sayin - yeah. hellz yeah.

Kelley said...

I just had a similar situation with Boo. Unfortunately he is 9 (and has Autism) so the tantrums are bigger and noisier, but still same end result. Teasing out the real reason behind it and giving a hug.

But I could never had said it as well as you...

Jo Beaufoix said...

That was so beautiful. Some kids are so much more sensitive than we realise aren't they?
Miss E hasn't made it through a Disney film yet without fear and tears.
No, I lie, we did BMvie the other day. It was her first trip to the cinema and she's 7. I bet the Mayor felt so much better after a hug with his Mummy. Hugs are the best.

Natsthename said...

Something to think about: the Mayor's favorite parent may flip-flop at different points in life, so there's always that to look forward to! (I have found this to be true for both of my sons, so I enjoy the time when I'm the favorite, but also feel some relief to let go of it now and again.)

Anyway, here's to you for seeing the positive. Great post.

mauniejames said...

that was perfectly beautiful...as a
storyteller your awesome but your the perfect parent too..I envy the children..maunie

Circus Kelli said...

Oh... you absolutely are finding your way to each other. Such a very sweet post.

My boy was upset this morning over my not going along with his plans. Mostly though, he was tired. I pulled him onto my lap and rocked him a bit. Those few minutes were healing to us both.

Shannon said...

Patient and kind mama :)

Woman Undone said...

I hope you save all of these posts to throw up in his face when he's grown and has kids of his own that he has no idea how to raise/comfort!!! These stories would be such a treasure!!

Amazing how someone less that 4 feet tall can turn us into blubbering idiots...

aurora said...

Such a beautful post. I love those moments when we feel especially close to our kids.

I don't know how I got here, but I am glad that I stopped by!

Amanda said...

Oh dear, I knew I was puddle-bound this morning, I just didn't realize it would happen quite so soon and with the kind of sobs that are nearly impossible to muffle.
This was exquisite, simply exquisite.

anastasia beaverhausen said...

I often think of those tantrums in the same way the Princess and the Pea was irritated by that tiny vegetable beneath the many mattresses. The mattresses are the other issues the kid waves in your face while he/she rages about one thing or another. It's our job to find the pea, because that's the thing that is really bothering the kid. Mostly, even they don't know about it until it's brought out into the light during a quiet moment. Adults do this too, of course. So glad you were patient. More patient that I usually am.

Kimmylyn said...

Great post. I am sitting in my office with tears in my eyes.

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

You're making me cry. Again.

Hydes Like Us said...

Darnit- you made me cry. Again.

Hydes

Modern Mami said...

Very nice post and reflection on your son's tantrums. We always skip the beginning of Nemo and go to the happier parts with our daughter. ;)

Clink said...

That was beautiful.

Above Average Joe said...

Would you mind loaning me your two strong arms?

Ponygirl said...

Michael and I are planning to have a child that doesn't ever throw tantrums. Or scream. Ever. RIGHT? You're wonderful to be able to find your compassion for the wee little man when he's lost his head. And for giving him words for what's upsetting him. I love that he looks like the National Poster Child of the Old Country in that photo. How Irish is your son, J? And how beautiful are YOU! I can't wait to see you soon. BTW I'm getting kind of poochy paunchy and I got busted at work yesterday for being knocked up -- "Are you EXPECTING?" Guess I'm going to have to come clean for the boss next week...it's 15 weeks today.

S said...

That's good to read! I haven't gone through the exact same things you have regarding the Mayor and being close, but it's been similar.

Sarcastic Mom said...

You are so great. He is lucky.

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

I swear, I came out of the womb arguing with my mom. We fight like it is our job...but she is my mom, my mother when she is driving me nuts, and my mommy when I am sick. When Big Daddy and I moved, I confessed how lonely I was to her and no one else, not even Big Daddy. I tell her my fears and insecurities. Yes, the tension between us can be maddening, but the love is even deeper.

Jenifer said...

This was so lovely! Wow he looks like K.

Really Jess, this was amazing. My heart is bursting.

Alpha DogMa said...

The Lion King is my LEAST favourite retelling of Hamlet. EVER. Have you tried the old Disney classics? My two adore Swiss Family Robinson.

That picture is lovely. He looks so BIG. And you look tiny - as in 'skinny bitch.'

Claire B. said...

beautiful story, beautiful photo!

one of our cats whines loudly when he needs me to pick him up and pat his butt for a few minutes. then he's fine.

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

omg - that was a BEAUTIFUL post - you are an excellent writer!! bravo and awesome! xoxox

Diane said...

Awwwww! I remember blubbering over Bambi when I was little. You're right - there's always a dead parent or an orphan or an Old Yeller. I still won't watch that one again! Mayor sure is a cutie!!!

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh, that's the most adorable picture of the two of you.

Those damn Disney movies.

JayJenny said...

That was very beautiful.