I am feeling a teensy bit defensive these days.
I mean, it's one thing to feel questioned by others - parents and not, friends and not, or just people who cannot mask their judgment in conversation - but, on top of this, it's another thing to be judged most harshly, most relentlessly, most irrationally, most fucking constantly...by myself. Not like most parents are unfamiliar with this technique, which involves many sleepless nights, migraines, and countless hours of guilt, which just pile up. I have certainly been practicing for years, so I know I am very good at it.
It's one thing to write a post that introduces our latest (quiet) endeavors into the world of speech therapy, into the world of ABA, and be all 'I defend my attention to modifying my child's behavior'.
And it's another to come home (dammit too, if I could have just stayed away 10 minutes longer...I am new at this timing and have a few things to learn) to my two year old screaming his bloody head off, having been screaming more or less the entire 50 minutes I was away. With his most favorite teacher.
Seriously, the boy had lost his shit when I drove away the second time. Which was my huge mistake. I intended to be way gone before his teacher showed up...hoping that he will not associate me with leaving after the teacher comes, which I think is worse. I had to teach music at the preschool 2 minutes away. But I was slightly late getting socks on him for the fourth time, and instead of just letting it go and letting those tiny toes freeze, I was slightly late leaving the driveway. After I drove away the first time, dh had him calmed down within moments and told him his teacher was coming. He was fine with that. But at the top of the driveway, I ran into (not literally) the teacher, about to pull in from our one lane road. Instead of asking her to back out, I backed back into the driveway so she could pull in, which Bubbles could see from the house. I know, I know. I'm with stupid. So, the second and real time I left, he was a basket case. Not very helpful for his teacher. Or him. For apparently, the next 40 minutes.
Watching a portion of the video that she had so kindly taped for me was seriously painful. I wanted to sob, much like my son on the screen in front of me (in real time at this point he was fine, now that I was present). But I didn't.
Beyond the initial pure mama-gut reaction seeing Bubbles so completely inconsolable, it broke my heart to see him trying (and succeeding for a few minutes) to fall asleep during his session. Fall asleep. One of our little pet names for Bubbles is 'Enemy of Sleep'. Get the irony?
It was sad.
Also sad? Seeing the unfazable teacher (a woman who holds at least as much of my respect as supernanny) looking stressed when I did walk in (early, remember? because he had just calmed down 10 minutes prior to my return), and watch her genius wheels turning as she - once again - re-assessed this child of mine and started -once again- to revise his program.
"That Damn Child!", I thought. (Just kidding.) (Sort of.) Fist shaking!, I visualized.
"Don't cry while his teacher is here!!!", I begged my eyes.
She asked how he was when we left him with other people.
I'm sorry, what did you say?
"How is he when you leave him with other people?"
Oh. I think I see part of the problem here.
AND IT'S ME!
'We' don't leave him.
I have a whole load of reasons why, but none of them really matter now, do they?
What seems to matter, is that, not only have I managed to somehow foster these challenging behaviors (although the stubbornness? he comes by that genetically, I am sure), but I have also managed to throw yet another obstacle in his path to language...because I have never left him with a sitter?
I never knew that I could ruin my kid's life by hanging out with them too much.
I am not being facetious here; I am absolutely confronting one of my many parenting flaws.
Okay, maybe 'ruin' is too strong a word. But still?
And I am still - just - flabbergasted.
Enough to use the word 'flabbergasted'.