My son. My son is a lunatic. An adorable lunatic, but the screaming really undoes me. He'll be three in a week and I know it's typical for this to be an awful age, but - really. Come on.
He won't wear pajamas. Which is fine. He wears to bed whatever he's been wearing all day, which does make bedtime a little sideways because we don't have the ritual of putting on the pjs any more. But whatever.
He agrees to wear a grand total of two pairs of shorts. Shorts. They are long shorts, the longest I could find in the bottom of the box of summer stuff in his closet. When we go outside I require snowboots and socks that he allows me to pull up under the legs of the shorts, and that he pushes down the instant his butt hits the carseat. He does, however, pull them up of his own accord before we get out of the van. As you can imagine, there being only two pairs, the shorts are often dirty. Today I washed one of the pairs out in the sink and dried them on the heater, and then the last bit with the hairdryer (oh what a sweet mama I am), so they'd be ready for bedtime.
And he found a pair of his now-too-small shoes in a stack of things I've been meaning to ebay, and he insists on wearing them all the time. Even to bed. (I've actually finally won that battle. Score one for mom! No shoes in bed anymore, but he does put them right beside the bed so they'll be there in the morning, or, I assume, if he wakes in the night and needs to glance down to reassure himself of the steadiness of the universe.) Although he wears his snowboots outside (spiderman, light up when walking, bought in desperation at Target months ago when he was refusing to wear his perfectly acceptable blue ones), I often have to carry the too small old shoes with me in my bag so he can change into them when he gets where we're going, like our friend Sophia's house or the kid area at the gym. And if dad's home, he can skip the snowboots all together, because he convinces dad to carry him to and from the car. Which his dad agrees to do. Again, whatever.
His puppy eyes are indeed convincing. He's not even three and he's already mastered throwing the sugary bone. Today he hollered "TV! TV!" while shrieking and flailing in my arms on the way to the car from Frances's ballet class. I told him absolutely not; boys who behave like this don't get to watch tv in the car. He stopped immediately and quietly said, "I not screaming any more." A little too late for that, little man. Five minutes later I said that no, boys who hit mom certainly don't get candy. He looked at me so sweetly and said, "I'm sorry I acted like that, Mama," in the most adorable little voice you've ever heard. "Why, thank you, Clark. I appreciate that apology," I said. "Now we can watch TV?" he asked with just as much sugar. Heh. His girlfriends are going to be in trouble.
I can't figure it out, really. I've tried several different approaches. My latest is to pretend he isn't screaming at all. I dig my earplugs out of my jeans pocket, where they are the minute I get up in the morning, and I just go about my dish-doing, my straightening, my sweet potato slicing for Yam Spinach Bacon soup. He follows me around the kitchen screaming, and screaming, and screaming, and after about three full screaming minutes, he swats me on the legs. I say, "You may not hit me, Clark," and I pick him up and carry him to the time out chair in the dining room. He continues to scream, which I ignore, and then he screams for his blankie blankie, which I scoop from under the kitchen table or up off the family room floor and throw to him. When the blankie hits his hands he quiets immediately, and spends the rest of time out lounging sideways in the chair and sucking his thumb.
(The blankie is fascinating, isn't it? Its like a drug, a deep inhale, the world's edges suddenly softer, life not such a strain, one foot at a time into a steaming hot bath. Ah. I could use a blankie, come to think of it.)
I have to keep reminding myself, keep reminding myself that this is a stage. One day he'll stop all this madness. He won't still be throwing fits like this when he's sixteen (they'll be a different variety of fit then...) I'll even be able to keep a crayon within his reach without fearing consequences.
But as a stay at home mom, dealing with this all day long, every day, several times a day, ad nauseum, it's hard to keep it in perspective. I feel like I'm forever going to live in a house with someone who screams for extended periods at a time. I really do think the noise level is what throws me off. I didn't realize I was noise sensitive, but on the extremely rare and random day when he doesn't scream, I'm a much happier and calmer and better parent. Cheers to that.