The New-Mom Illusion

Do you ever look at your kids with disbelief and think, "Why are you acting like this?"

No? Well ... you will. I promise. Sorry to tell you this, but your time is coming.

I admit it: in the past, I've been guilty of being a bit (okay, a lot) self-righteous. Because when Colin was a baby, he was a good baby. I mean, really good. He was quiet and smiley and bright, rarely crying unless he legitimately needed something. And we'd go out in public - like to the grocery store - and I'd see a mother with, say, a tantrum-throwing two-year-old and I'd smugly think, "Man, I'm glad my kid's not a brat like that." When the two-year mark passed, and Colin was still well behaved, I was totally riding that parental high horse. (I know. Don't you just want to slap me?!) I was sure we'd bypassed the "terrible twos" thanks to our angelic child and superior parenting skills.

Ha. Hahahahahahaha.

Then late in his twos, closer to three, it began. The meltdowns. The diva-esque behavior. No longer was he happy to obediently go along with what Mommy wanted; now it was all about what Colin wanted, and if our visions didn't line up? Look out.

When Cameron was born, I was relieved. Because he was "good," just like his brother had been. And naively I thought it was a goodness that would last, that even though Colin had "turned to the dark side," Cameron would be the one that was GENUINELY good, like enough to stay that way. Why hadn't I learned my lesson the first time?! I shouldn't have been surprised when, at about two and a half, he started to form opinions and defy things he normally complied with. But I was.

So that brings us to now. I swear, Colin is a fourteen-year-old girl in a five-year-old boy's body: I didn't know a Kindergartener could be that dramatic. He's been getting in some trouble at school for bugging other kids when they're trying to work. And at almost three years old, Cameron is constantly in trouble for a.) sticking his tongue out at us or b.) biting his brothers or c.) a combination of both, and when we do something he doesn't like, we can expect an impassioned exclamation of "You're mean!"

Even my Mii gets pissed at Colin's.

I watch SuperNanny. I read parenting articles out the ying-yang. I am consistent with my discipline. I set clear boundaries for my kids. I keep them on a regular schedule. But y'all? Nothing I do seems to fundamentally change anything. I think it's that way for the vast majority of parents. You can seek the advice, you can apply it, but you can't expect a miracle. Kids will be kids, and kids can be brats sometimes. All kids. No matter how well-behaved they start out to be.

Coby, our 14-month-old, is good. For now. But I give it another ten months or so - a little more, if we're lucky. This time, I didn't even harbor the "new-mom illusion" that he's this extraordinarily placid, docile and obedient child - or that my brand of discipline is naturally perfect (I couldn't even type that line without laughing).

So for any mom who has ever secretly looked down upon another during a public meltdown, while your little bundle of joy sits beaming and quiet in the shopping cart, just wait. Because that angelic little chubster is actually a ticking time bomb.

Don't say I didn't warn you.



15 comments:

  1. Oh my! I'm sure you're not alone.
    I may not have children but my siblings are now 16 and 17 (soon to be 18).
    I saw the change and at some points I said, I love you but I don't have to like you.

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  2. OMG Get out of my brain. I could have written the exact same post about Zoe. But I'm lazy, so I'm glad you did it for me.
    In any case, I TOTALLY feel your pain. Literally. Falling off that high horse hurts!

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  3. Trust me, I never ever ever look down at other mother's because my kids are usually the ones screaming and throwing cheese in the store.

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  4. My son was the same way...angelic until he was about 3 and then we just quit going out to restaurants for about 6 months because frankly his father and I couldn't take the embarassment anymore.

    It passed as does everything else. Hang in there, you have the teenage years to look forward too.

    Currently we're at year 14...joy of joys.

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  5. Seriously....you are so spot on. Maggie was I'm quite sure the NICEST baby ever there was. Never cried, never did anything but be quiet and sweet. She was a sweet little toddler too. But all hell broke loose around 2 and it's been a rollercoaster of emotions ever since. The biggest thing I relate to in your post is the whole..."I discipline consistently, set boundries, etc. etc" I just said to Jere the other night. I SUCK at being a parent. Clearly I'm not doing something right because NOTHING I do or say changes the behaviour. It is so embarassing to have them act out, or be rude to me OR others in public. So thanks for reminding me that we ALL feel this way.

    NOW...I'm totally gonna write a post about a-holes who are SURE they're better parents than us, and they have no kids. I'm having a bit of an issue wtih my sis in law who is talking cha cha behind our backs to our friends about her SHE does everything for my kids and essentially is a better parent. Ummm, she's not even married, much less had kids. Anyway, sorry I'll shut up. Just saying. People are sooo effing sure they know everything. But, have your own kids and GAME CHANGER!!!

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  6. Screaming is good for them. It means they'll know how to stand up for themselves when they're older.

    Or something.

    Actually, I'm just trying to make you feel better. :)

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  7. I have 4 boys, all the same ages as yours but with a 7 year old thrown in.

    I must ask you if your 3 year old likes the 14 month old or not. Because mine can't STAND the "beh-beh." He thumps him on the head when he toddles in the room, tells me "beh-beh is NOT my friend" and if I dare try to hold the little guy, Mr. Attitude yells "It's MY TUWN" and "HEY! NO FAAAAIIIIR!"

    Wondering if perhaps you can wallow in my frustrations with me on this one....

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  8. My daughter is 3 and she's awful. No offense to her, but holy crap. I mean she has her good moments but she can just drive me insane.

    And my son is 8 and acts like a teenager. He mainly whines and does the eyeroll thing.

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  9. Man...spot ON! I must admit. There are those days when my kids are being super cute and good while we are running errands and someone else's kid is acting out and I think, "I'm so glad that's not me right now!" However, I will say, when I tell people I never took my 1st baby to the grocery store until he was several months old, their jaws drop. He was a good baby, but a demanding baby. He slept lots, but if he decided he was hungry before 3hrs, man! That was it! He has never liked a stroller, or shopping carts much. You never knew when he was gonna be done. 'Cause when he was done...so were you. So my new mom illusion got squished REAL quick. Like within two weeks of having a newborn.

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  10. LOL...Rita...I always enjoy reading your blog...when I have the patience to wait for it to come up with this slow as molasses computer!
    Girl, you think it's bad now? Just wait!...it gets even better!

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  11. Oh hey I gave you an award on my blog! The post where I say that my Dog Loves Vibrating Toys.

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  12. I'm pretty sure that my husband looks at me and thinks all of these things - "why are you acting like this?"

    My kids don't stand a chance. If they don't come out acting like a diva, it will be a miracle.

    PS - You gonna be at the parade this weekend? I'll be in it!!! yay!

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  13. Kids.....ya gotta love 'em! Just about the time you think you've got them all figured out, the little rascals develop some new quirk and you're left pondering your parenting skills once again. Fortunately it's always just a phase,and they'll quit that one and develop another soon enough. Just relax and enjoy the ride!

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  14. hahaha, totally relate. I used to think "those" parents with the screaming kids were doing something wrong. Then I had Mr. Terrible Two. I must be doing something wrong. Actually I think it's a boy thing...my girls never played with electrical outlets, broke stuff on the daily, or had fall-in-the-floor screaming hissyfit tantrums. I'm getting my share now. Oh yeah, and I forgot to add - he's the only one who insists on coloring himself from head to toe if he gets his hands on a marker. I need to remember to take a picture of that for Wordless Wednesday...but I'm usually freaking out, wondering if he has colored all over the walls somewhere while I was on the computer blogging. ooops, I didn't just type that.

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