Officially Old Mom

by Heligirl on June 3, 2010

in Daily Ramblings

I’ve decided there are two levels of mom experience: new mom and old mom. You are one or the other. Sure, you can be varying degrees of each, but you’re still one or the other. Exactly when you step from new to old is different for every person. But make no mistake, there is definitely a line and you’ll know when you cross it.

New moms are nervous, worry at every last thing, stress over the littlest whimper, question if they’re doing it right. We’ve all been there. Hell, I was the worst. Maybe that’s why Sweetness is so demanding.

Old moms (which by the way have nothing to do with your age) are down with it. We know the whine from the whimper, the push from the real poo. We’ve gotten into the swing of it and let a little less get to us.

I am now officially an old mom.

When Sweetness decided she didn’t want to wait until she was 2 to start in on the old terrible twos – I believe she was about 18 months – I was a complete wreck. I had no idea what to do to calm her down. I walked on eggshells to keep the tantrums at bay.

“You want to read this book? Ok. No, now that one? Ok. What? I have to be in bed with you to read it? I’m sorry you meant I had to sit on the chair. Wait, my bad, you want to be on my lap. For the love of God, how can I better please you to keep you from sending fear through my veins with the screaming, dear demon child from hell?”

Now after a good 12 months of training, or desensitizing as I like to call it, I’m a completely different woman. Where I used to feel my blood pressure go through the roof and my pulse race, I now miss things. Take, for instance, last night.

Sweetness was screaming about something in her room (I can’t remember anymore from one fit to the other what really caused her to go all Bilbo Baggins) and Hubby walks up and asks me if I’m going to attend to her. I was responding to e-mail when I looked up at him and it was then I registered she was screaming.

“Huh, wonder what’s up this time?”

I was thinking it was most likely the same reason she’s had herself a whole litter of kittens all day – her 1 year old brother had the utter audacity to want to follow her into her room and be near her. Boys. Can’t live with them. Can’t shoot them.

Now, before you think I’m worthy of the neglect award, let me clarify that I do in fact register the cries that are real distress or pain. I come running before I even know I’m on my feet. But 90 percent of her outbursts are all about the glory of her ability to scream these days and I’ve gotten smart to it. It’s like one big 12-month PMS fest at the Heligirl household, I tell you what. Need to punish your man? Send him over here. Sweetness will set him straight. Her tantrums are an argument for birth control.

I digress. What was I talking about? Oh, old mom. That’s it.

After last night I got to wondering if I am starting to not care, or is it something else. Then this morning all was going well and Sweetness had dressed, eaten and even had 10 minutes before we had to leave. To entertain herself she started throwing one of her toys in the air. We’ve been cracking down big time on this lest her shot-put practice cause us, the dogs, some prized possession or the house damage. I reminded her of the rule of no throwing. She did it again so I took it away.

Enter Bilbo Baggins.

She screamed, she cried, she begged and reached for the toy. I used my best positive discipline parenting skills.

“I see you’re upset and want your toy. Remember the rule is no throwing. I have faith you’ll remember not to throw next time. For now, the toy has to have a time out because it was thrown.”

Oh that wasn’t what she wanted to hear.

“I want the toy.” She repeated over and over between screams.

“OK, honey. We have to brush our teeth. Want to come with me?” I was trying distraction. She loves to brush teeth with me.

She wasn’t buying it. I went and brushed my teeth then returned to her sitting on the floor all red faced. She actually balled up her fists, looked me in the eye and screamed at the top of her lungs. Then looked at me to see my reaction. I burst into laughter. I couldn’t help myself. Oh that was the wrong thing. She did it again then cried, “I want to brush my teeth.”

Well, to make a long story short, after another three minutes of her refusing to choose her toothbrush, put paste on it or even put the damn thing in her mouth, I announced we had to go and it was too late now. I reinforced that I knew she was upset, but we had to get to daycare.

Enter all the dark creatures of Middle Earth.

At that point, I just picked her up, carried her to the car and strapped her in as she screamed like she was being hauled off to the slaughterhouse.

However, buy the time we got to daycare, she was all happy and chipper, chatting about the bus that drove by, the froggy planter in front of the house, etc.

Go figure.

Before, this would have left me a total wreck, questioning my abilities as a mother and how I must be ruining my child. Today, I just recognized her tantrum as a tantrum, was kind but firm, then did what had to be done. We parted with kisses and I love yous. All was well and I drove to work not thinking a thing about it.

Yup, I’m an old mom now.


Wenmei June 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I’ve been following your blog for some time and have always enjoyed your posts. I also appreciate that we seem to be going through a lot of the same things at the same time (my children are 31 months and 10 months…just behind yours) and I get to look to you to see how to handle things! Also, I’m an old mom too. 🙂

Twitter: Heligirl
June 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Hey, thanks for the note. That’s so cool that are our kids are so close. I’m excited you wrote in to say Hi. How do you handle the tantrums and sibling rivalry. I’m really struggling with the latter right now. I started a conversation in the community about that hoping someone has some advice. 🙂

LCW June 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Ok I’m not there yet, but I’m definitely recognizing when Ryann just screams and babbles for pure joy and when her screams are a knife to the heart and I politely and calmly talk to her and tell her I understand she’s upset but I cannot take her out of the carseat in the moving car or she’ll be taken from me and I’ll be arrested. She just doesn’t get it, yet.

Twitter: Heligirl
June 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Ha, ha, ha, ha. Can’t she just understand the finer points of child safety laws so we can all drive in piece? 🙂

Alexandra June 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Oh, yeah, spoke like a true champeen’ old mom.

You are right…

Susan June 4, 2010 at 8:42 am

Congrats on making to the other side! My little man had(has) a horrible time with transitions (of any kind), and as such, is the king of tantrums. I had to physically pick him up and haul him away with regularity (after the prerequisite warnings). Got used to tantrums fast. And came to the same conclusions as you- that the day and activities must go on.

I have also learned that when kids are tired/ cranky/ hungry, whatever, and they are just plain a big old grump, the random hug can work miracles. I use it a lot. With my guy, it helps a lot. It makes him feel validated, loved, safe, and can be just what he wants when he’s tired or overwhelmed by life.

Twitter: Heligirl
June 4, 2010 at 9:06 am

I love it Susan. I give lots of random hugs and kisses. Sometimes, though, when she’s in one of her moods, a hug or attempt to kiss her can elicit a hard push away and a “no!” I’ll just get down on her level, smile and tell her I love her. At least she knows I do. 🙂

Kate Walton June 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Great post, Jen. So, so true.

I realized I had crossed over when I consoled myself that the random thing that Anna had just picked up and eaten off the floor “was after all a food item.” No harm, no foul, right?

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