Thursday, June 9, 2011

The not-so-incredible Hulk

Holy hell, I'm mad right now.

Stinking, fuming mad. I just did a bunch of push-ups, hoping to release some energy, but they didn't help, and now I'm panting in addition to being mad.

I've realized that I must have Anger Management Problems and probably need to spend a bunch of money on some sort of Anger Management Therapy in order to keep from turning, sometimes, into the very ugly, very hideous, very not-so-incredible Hulk.

As it turns out, Zoe is a button pusher, and I have never been one to handle having any sort of buttons pushed. Because you see, sometimes I get angry, and trust me: you won't like me when I'm angry.

Take tonight, for instance.....

Zoe's been having a hard time going to bed for a couple months now. It's a phase, I know, and it's only gotten worse since she spontaneously gave up her pacifier a couple of weeks ago. We put her to bed at the same time we always have (7:30) and some nights it's 9:00 before the crying and the requests for potty and drinks of water quiet enough for her to actually fall asleep. I'd love to say she can just stay up till 9, but the thing is, it's already a struggle to get her out of bed for school in the morning, and if I change my work hours to later, I lose time with her in the afternoon. So 7:30 pretty much HAS to be her bedtime, but she fights it every night.

And I HATE it. Something about this nightly process gets under my skin, raises my heart-rate and my anxiety to dangerous levels.

So we've been trying to cope. But most nights I wind up angry.

Tonight we decided to try something different, a new routine. Instead of getting pajamas on, coming down for a story then heading immediately back up to bed, we would let Zoe wind down a bit more with a show. She loved the idea, and requested Peter Pan.

Netflix only streams a Broadway version of the play from a few years back, so I put that on and Zoe sat, enthralled, for about 30 minutes. Then it was time for bed.

And oh my GOD, the drama tonight!! She cried. She yelled. She begged. She pleaded.

We tried ignoring. We tried placating. We tried hugs and kisses and love. And when all else failed, and I could feel the anger bubbling up from my toes to my stomach to my chest, where it always explodes, I tried threats.

And what did I use to threaten her? The one thing that I've been COUNTING on this week, that I've been looking forward to more than anything.

She was going to spend the night at my parents' house. A whole night! A night away from the dreaded bedtime routine. A night for Charles and me to relax and maybe go see a movie. And most importantly, a MORNING of not having to get up at the crack of dawn to dive head-first into another busy day. A morning where, if Zoe got up early, she'd be in an entirely different house, and I could stay in bed and be lazy, dammit.

Yep, no sooner did the words come out of my mouth than I was wishing I could pull them back. "Zoe, if you cry one more time, you can't go to Sassy's tomorrow night."

Oh. Shit. What was I thinking?

And I couldn't take them back.

But it seemed to work, for about five minutes. Five minutes of blissful, lovely quiet.

But then the shouting started again.


And it took all my energy not to punch a wall.

So instead, I got angry, and out came the Hulk. I could feel it. I don't turn green (quite), but I hold my self different. My hands are clenched, my shoulders are raised. I stomp up the stairs and I yell.

Oh, how I yell. And I hate myself while I do it but I can't stop the words from coming out.


Who SAYS that to a three year old? I mean, really? Who?

Apparently I do.

And tonight, I finished with, "You will NOT be going to Sassy's tomorrow. I can't let you go, knowing you won't go to bed like a big girl."

Yep. That's me, too. I hit below the belt. Zoe's so proud of being a big girl lately, and I just told her she wasn't one.

And now, minutes later, I'm angry. At Zoe. At Charles (who has done NOTHING wrong, mind you, other than, you know, marry me and have a beautiful child with me).

But mostly at myself. Sometimes I feel like I ruin everything.

Gah. It's so ugly. I hate it.

And by tomorrow, when I'm not angry anymore, I'll want to send her to Sassy's anyway, to tell her it's all ok and I'm sorry for fussing and she can go if she wants. Actually, I'm dying to go wake her up and tell her that now (for the record, she only went to sleep because Charles is now laying on her floor, probably sleeping himself).

But I know I shouldn't. I need to be consistent so she learns her actions have consequences.

But couldn't I have at least thought of something ELSE? Like, no fun picnic lunch with me tomorrow? Can't I backtrack just a little?

I don't know. I'll have to see what Charles thinks in the morning. So for tonight, I'll sit here a while longer, do a few more push-ups, then probably toss and turn all night long, hating myself for losing my temper yet again.

That stupid Hulk inside me. I wish he'd go away.


  1. Hey Leah! I'm so glad I found your blog!

    I know exactly how you feel! I lose my temper sometimes too, more often than I would like to admit. Kids always knew just the right buttons to push and some days I can handle it and some days I can't at all. Good luck figuring the staying over situation out. I wish we had family closer that my Zoey could go stay with. It feels mean, but sometimes kids have to be reminded that we are the parents. I wouldn't beat yourself up too much, but I understand it being hard to cool down too. Often I'm still upset by something that has happened and Zoey is already fine and then upset about the next thing. Sigh, it's a good thing we love our kids so much.

    If you have a chance come check out my page! I talk about our adventures and more. I actually had a recent temper post too called "Why So Serious" so you are definitely not alone.


  2. Leah. I'm sure you've heard of the book: "Go the F____ to sleep." If not, you must look it up: The bedtime shinanigans are enough to drive any mother crazy. We've all been there. Cory was doing the same thing recently and I started a star program. If he goes to bed without a problem he gets a star on the calendar. 7 stars equals a small prize. It has worked for 4 weeks now like a charm. amazing. a friend of mine recommended it since it worked for her.