my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

December 12th, 2012

On Temper Tantrums and Tying Yourself Up in Knots

My first post for Bunch. Welcome.

How even to start? I’ve been living with Wegener’s Granulomatosis for years, had a whoopsy-daisy pregnancy that resulted in there now being two loves of my life, and I struggle every day to keep it together. In short, I’m a working mom. I’ll try to work it all out in these pages as long as Bunch will let me.

There nothing like the guilt, for me, of being angry with my son. It takes over in a flash, that spark of, oh-my-good-grief-you-did-not-just [insert throw this, dump that, do what?], and in those rare moments where I’ve raised my voice, he’s ended up just as upset as I was. I’ve taken to talking calmly and quietly when he’s acting up, and he’s two, testing his limits, and throwing the most intense temper tantrums I’ve ever seen in my life. If we catch him at just the right moment–he’s exhausted from one of the two days he spends at daycare, he’s hungry, we’ve got the wrong cup, , the wrong t-shirt, the wrong diaper, the wrong truck, the wrong song on the radio, goodness, it’s a long list–he’s off and running, tossing himself on the floor, kicking, red-faced, screaming, and I struggle in these moments.

And of course, the other day, literally seconds before my amazing book club was scheduled to arrive, the boy was embroiled in the wickedest tantrum I’ve ever seen over the fact that I dared to undress him for his nightly shower with my husband. There was no stopping this meltdown. After me struggling to calm him down while he screamed and bucked and bolted, my husband rescued our son from my arms and carted him off to look at the moon out of the front bedroom window, which sometimes does the trick. I sat cross-legged on our bed and thought, ‘of course, of course he’ll still be screaming by the time my friends get here.’ But he wasn’t, he was calm, clingy and perfectly adorable as they arrived, and then he even went to bed with barely a whimper, which actually isn’t that unusual.

Still, when we’re in the moment I’m at my wit’s end and it pains me to see him so upset (rolls off my husband, somehow, how?), but the more I think about it, the more I think my son has it right. His emotions might not be sophisticated. And I know I’m supposed to be encouraging him to ‘use his words’ to express his anger and frustration, but at least he gets it out. It’s raw and violent and terrifying for his mother but at least it’s not all bottled up and festering inside like we do as adults. He whips through the tantrum, which was happening for reasons only he really knows, and then he’s back to being himself again–curious, precocious, entertaining, hilarious. And I know it’s not practical in my daily life to throw myself on the ground, rip around shouting and kicking, but the interior lesson is important–it is good to get your emotions out, and maybe this is something that’s readily apparent to, oh I don’t know, humanity, but it’s something I’ve struggled with for years. I hold on to things, deep, deep down, and I’m not kidding when I say that the stress and panic and worry and worry and worry all contribute to the ongoing battle with the disease in some meaningful way. I suppose, for now, my son does it his way, and I’m going to do my best to keep on letting him get it all out, for as long as he needs me to.

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about me

Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

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