Kindergarten stole my sweet child. He left on a sunny, late-summer morning and another kid returned in his place. He is cranky, moody, grumpy, and downright p..sy. This new child has been staying with us every day. He eats goldfish, cheese sticks, and raisins by the handful, much like my former child. His clothes are the same and he still has an occasional smile that makes an appearance for a few minutes in the mornings. I walk on eggshells most afternoons wondering what sort of attitude I will get in return for telling him “no he can’t watch tv” or “sorry, you are coming to NYC to watch mommy run the marathon in a few weeks.”
Let me cut to the chase here, and enough with the lyrical writing bulls**t. My son has been a terror for the past few weeks. Ok, he’s not lighting kittens on fire, and he’s not beating up his sister…although he did rip off a few branches from the lilac tree the other day because I told him he couldn’t go play with his friends. Last night it happened…he told me I couldn’t be his mother anymore. And then tonight he told my husband he hated him. For god’s sake, I want to give him donuts for dinner and let him fart openly in public just to avoid a temper tantrum. On the other hand, I’d like to have some rules in this household.
I realize this is all very normal in terms of childhood development. Instead of drowning my sorrows and worry in copious glasses of wine and pints of Ben and Jerry’s I should probably be hi-fiving my husband because my son’s behavior is relatively on track for his age. “Yeah hubs…we’re doing awesome…raising up this here boy…he just said he hates us. We are doing a fiiine job.” But words hurt. Even if he is five and I’m thirty six.
All the books, blogs, articles, experts give great advice on how to handle this stage in a child’s life. They give very practical and useful tools for what to say and how to react when situations like this occur. But they don’t make it better. They don’t tell you it will be over soon, and they certainly don’t give you ETA for when your sweet child will return. Will he return? Because I really miss him.