I have spent many nights over the last several weeks working my way through this post. What a catharsis. It was like therapy!!!
Bearsmama, thank you so much for starting this post and for your brutal and love-filled honesty. While I don't recognize all of my son in your son, I recognize much of myself in your words about yourself, and I am so appreciative of your candor -- about all facets of yourself and your relationship(s).
Thank you to everyone for sharing and for revealing the truth (your truth) of raising your CK. I have learned SO much!
My oldest son (40 months) is my CK. I also have DS2, who just turned one. With DS1, I don't think I would have called him C until he turned three. Sure he was the worst sleeper I've ever heard of (IRL). But he was happy and easy-going (you know, assuming he was being held or nursed... self-entertaining was NOT his thing) and really sweet and social. He started showing signs of some aggressive behavior when he turned two, after his brother was born. But his behavior still felt mostly normal. Of course, as DS2 got a bit older, I realized just how much interaction DS1 had required from me as a baby -- by comparison.
And then DS2 turned three, and it was like the damn broke. Just in the past month, the temper tantrums have somewhat subsided, but it was like a serious hurricane for us. Now we're at a tropical storm
. I was that mother with the raging child in the super market, mall, playground, trying to remain calm as my child was attempting to suck the oxygen out of the surrounding 2-mile area... or so it seemed.
He is behaving very aggressively again. With us, at preschool, with friends. I'm constantly on guard and it is exhasuting. I try not to hold the reigns so tightly -- bc I know it causes so much friction between us (and within me) -- but then he hurts someone. And I hate -- HATE -- the worry that comes with his behavior. The worry of what his friends' parents will think of him, and of us as parents. The worry that one day his friends won't brush off his pushes/hits/kicks/hair pulls and they'll stop wanting to play with him. The aggression also pushes my buttons in the worst way, and I find that all my good intentions for discipline are often flying out the window.
He continues to be a poor sleeper. There was a brief period -- from 18-28 months, where he slept alone (in his crib), but other than that, he's been in bed with us. And for the last year, he usually needs to be touching me -- both to fall asleep and to stay asleep. It's so draining (not that I need to tell you mamas). I feel so bad for the baby, too. He was happy to sleep in his crib, so we didn't really cosleep much after 6 months. In fact, these days, he WON'T sleep unless he's in his crib. I worry that he's gotten pushed aside by the much "bigger" -- and certainly more visible and vocal -- needs of his big brother. I heard that in some of what you all wrote, and it is reassuring to see that the family dynamics will work themselves out in most cases, with a lot of love and at least a little bit of mindfulness (on the part of the parents).
I guess I'm blathering on now. I have so many thoughts and feelings as a result of this wonderful post. Mostly, though, I want to say, again, THANK YOU.