Friday, January 9, 2009

Hanging on

As we left his baby sitter's last night Graham begged to go and see his Oma on the way home.

I hesitated because he is recovering from a cold and she is ill.

But when he began to chant, "I want to see Oma! I want to see Oma!", I relented in the hopes that a quick visit from him would lift her spirits and break up the excruciating wait for further tests she is being forced to endure.

We only stayed for 15 minutes and Graham was a nightmare the entire time we were there.

He refused to give her a hug and then shouted and slapped at me when I tried to implore him to behave. When I decided to ignore him and just visit with her myself, Graham stomped on the floor and tried to pull me away.

When I scolded him and put him in a time out in another room, his chants of "NO!" were so loud that we could barely conduct a conversation. When, exasperated, I rose to scold him yet again, I saw he had tossed my boots, her bag and an area rug down the basement stairs.

"It's okay," my mother-in-law said. "He's tired."

And he was. But I was pissed. And irritated. Graham had begged me to come. She needed a lift. All he had to do was show up and act cute.

I put his coat on and brusquely shuttled him back out to the car.

"I'm very disappointed with the way you acted Graham," I admonished as I buckled him into his car seat. "You were not very nice to Oma."

"NO!" he shouted.

I sighed and slammed the car door harder than I should have.

The ride home was silent. I caught his eye once, deliberately, in the rear view mirror and frowned to convey my continuing anger and disappointment. Graham glared at me and defiantly looked away.

By the time we pulled into the driveway I didn't feel like fighting anymore: I just felt tired.

I unbuckled him solemnly.

"I'm sorry mommy." The words burst from him like water from a dam. "I'm sorry I wasn't very nice to Oma and I want a huggy."

And so I hugged him there in the car in the freezing dark evening.

And he clung to me so tightly and for so long that I finally just carried him into our house like that, with his damp face buried in my shoulder and his little arms wrapped around my neck like he never wanted to let go.

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37 comments:

Brittany said...

This sounds like something Adam would have done or HAS done. He asks to call his grandparents all of the time, and then once he has them on the phone all he does is cry and whine. It's interesting. I wonder what is going on in their little heads.

Melissa said...

I'll bet little G knows what's going on, or at least feels something is not quite right.

You guys are still in my thoughts and prayers! Hang in there ((hugs))

Kami said...

I bet he is very confused and sometimes that is how the little guys react, much to my chagrin too!

His apology is heartwarming though, he knew it didn't quite turn out like either of you had planned.

Mary Lynn said...

Oh man...it's so baffling when they get in those moods. And so frustrating, too. I've had that happen on several occasions with both our kids--where they seem to want to do something or go somewhere, yet when we do what they asked for they seem miserable.

It always amazes me that my kids, who I spend so much time with and who I think I ought to know and understand so much better than anyone else can still be such a mystery to me. I think for me that is one of the biggest shocks of parenthood, that there is so much about what my kids do and think that I don't quite understand.

for a different kind of girl said...

We've had those days here, too, most often in the same circumstances. I think, in their own ways, the youngest among us know there's 'life things' hanging around in the air that we don't talk about with them, and this is how they respond sometimes. The hugs afterward are some of the most healing.

ewe are here said...

Truthfully, it sounds like he knows that everything's not all right with his Oma... and he's acting out because that's the only 'real' way he can show it.

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time... I hope there are answers very soon.

kbreints said...

errrr kids! They have a difficult time expressing when they are tired other than what he did.

I am sure that she was pleased to see him no matter what and it was nice of you to visit even when it was not in the plan for the night.

InTheFastLane said...

I agree, that maybe Oma's sickness, just threw him out of sorts and he didn't know how to react. Poor guy, poor you. They just make our hearts bleed sometime.

Kat said...

Though I have three kids are still a mystery to me. I'm sure they don't even understand the way they act. Like you said, I'm sure it was just being tired. That causes much fuss in this house. Even from a tired mum. ;)

Jaina said...

I wonder if maybe he's having trouble seeing his Oma hurting and sick.

Chantal said...

Its so hard eh. UGH

Autumn said...

I just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. My son has done the same sort of thing. I think kids feel what is going on and they just don't know how to react. Poor dear, he didn't want to mess up the trip to grandma's, he just couldn't help himself. Hugs to you I'm sure it was a hard situation to be in.

Michelle said...

((HUGS))
I agree with the other comments. He must know that something is not quite right. When we had our loss last month Peanut had all kinds of tantrums. She just didn't know how to process the way that we were all acting, even though we thought we were acting "normal" for her. Add to that the incredible strain and stress on you and it's a volatile combination.
I think it's amazing that he apologized so quickly. I guess he needed some time and distance to process it all. Hold on tight and continue to draw strength from each other.
You are all in my thoughts.

mamatulip said...

Oh, honey. He's scared, I think, and you probably are too.

Huge hugs to all of you. I think of you all very, very often.

Shannon said...

It's so hard at that age, they have so many emotions swirling around inside them, yet they still lack the maturity to handle and process them all in a normal manner. My 3 year old is exactly the same way . . . not that it makes it any easier, but I can relate and I know how difficult it can be in situations like yours (visiting a sick relative). I hope your mother-in-law is doing better. Maybe you and Graham can go visit the "special" play area this weekend and you can relax with a cup of their rockin' coffee :-)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm sure Graham senses that something is not right. But you were right to be angry with him. That is exactly how we will learn to behave. The fact that he felt bad is a good sign.

You have to understand that kids are kids, but always keep in mind that kids will grow into adults and nobody wants to be around an adult who is used to behaving like a tantrumming child.

Thinking you in this difficult time.

Mandy said...

I've been there with my own kids.

It's a long struggle on the road to growing up.

Big hugs to you too!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

hmmm... he sounds very.... three. Kids his age are known to be absolute terrors at times, then angels the next.

Am I like the worst mommy in the world that when my little "mischief maker" does the whole, "I just want a huggy" thing I look at him and say, NO you need some time out to think about how you've been naughty, and when time out is over I will give you a hug. I just hate the whole feeling of manipulation, like "I can be a pint-sized pain when I want to, but all I gotta do it put on the puppy dog eyes and mommy melts like butter in my hands." NOT that Graham does that, but my little guy tries it. He doesn't get too far.

Kelly O said...

Oh, our mercurial little ones....

Damselfly said...

Aw, he wants a huggy....

Maybe Graham just doesn't know how to deal with Oma's illness.

Kyla said...

I think they sense things. Tiredness coupled with the underlying pain and worry he senses might just be too much.

MommyTime said...

I've been there too. I think Kyla is right: kids sense stress, and it makes them more stressed. And at this age, that makes them act out even more. He is obviously a sweet and sensitive soul. I hope your family pain eases soon. Best wishes to your Oma.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelly....sounds to me that he knows something is up with his beloved Oma. Little ones are very sensitive to our feelings and emotions...I can tell you that from the experience we had when my mom was sick. And of my two children, it was my son who was more in tune to Mommy's feelings than my baby girl.

Good thoughts and prayers are coming your way Kelly.

Haley-O said...

You know I relate to this.... it's so hard getting angry at your child. So exhausting and often fruitless. But, when they finally clue in -- that their actions can change everything. That a simple "sorry" can bring mommy back to life.... Beautiful. (sorry if this doesn't make sense -- I've had a little too much wine. I think they call it "drunk commenting"? But, I can really appreciate this post. Thank you....

She said...

I think he's being intuitive and may have felt helpless to help her! Just a thought!

Poor little guy! Being tired and not knowing what's really going on can be tough on anyone!

You are a great mom!

flutter said...

Oh honey. you are such a good mom

OHmommy said...

Oh dear gawd.... hug him close... you are a wonderful momma.

anti-supermom said...

When it comes out so sincere and genuine, you just can't help but ooze love for your child, can you?

Badness Jones said...

When Bad acts like that I tell people (strangers, anyway) that he takes after his dad's side of the family, but I guess that would be hard to pull off with your MIL!

I'm sure she really did understand. Hugs to you, and Graham, and Oma.

Jannie said...

What a nice piece of writing.

"All he had to do was show up and act cute." My favorite line.

You did very well, Mama. Looks like you have the makings of a very fine young man, thanks to your parenting skills.

Tracey said...

It's hard growing up. For them and Us...

Heather said...

He feels the stress that everyone is under, for sure. I'm sorry this is such a hard time for everyone in your family.

tommie said...

We have the best book: "It's Hard to be Five"....but I am sure it can apply to any age!

Aunt Becky said...

I know just how this feels. I've been there many, many times.

Meredith said...

Hi Kelly - don't think I've commented before, but love your blog and have read for some time.

I really, really know how this feels. My husband's mother got very sick, very suddenly last summer (and also unfortunately passed away) and we made the mistake of assuming that our son, who is not quite four now, didn't really understand. He understood far more than we gave him credit for.

This kind of thing happened to us over and over again. It took me forever to catch on to what was really behind it. We still have outbursts when he grandfather comes to visit, and we get frustrated, wonder why he can't just behave with his poor grandpa who just wants to spend time with us - then we realize he's still working through what's happened.
Anyhow, this is a maudlin comment and I send many, many good thoughts and wishes out to your family.

Keep being patient with him. He knows something is up and he's working through it in his own little boy way.

Meredith in Guelph

Meli said...

I know how he feels. I've had many days like that. He's very young and he is trying to work things out in his own way.

*hugs*

CC said...

This is so well written, I can feel the whole thing.

I love huggies. Even if they are after vile behavior.