I'm living with a 3-foot tall tyrant.
Last night I was curled up in the fetal position on my couch trying not to keep my uterus from turning into a piece of balled-up, paper at the bottom of a trash can when I look over and see Zac frantically walking back and forth across the living room holding a car in each hand. I was IMing my friend, Edrick ben Patrick, about how the Tylenol wasn't even beginning to mask the cramping when I mentioned that Zac didn't even look tired.
He stopped mid-sentence and reminded me who da Momma in the house was. He said that Zac doesn't get to pick his own bedtime and that I needed to put my foot down, put him into bed, and then crawl into my own bed after him.
Can you tell that Patrick doesn't have any kids?
He has an excellent point, though. There are times when dragging him, kicking and screaming everywhere just feels so tiring. There are nights when I want to go to the gym, but I know that Zac isn't up for it, so I don't go. If I take him when he's tired, he starts crying the minute our feet him the padded floor. He knows he's going back in daycare and he wants no part of it. Within 10-15 minutes, I hear, "Will Ms. NSP please return to the Kids Klub area?" I sigh, pick up my towel and gym bag, and over to pick up a kid that has had a complete meltdown in the Kids Klub. Tears are streaming down his face and he buries his head in the crook of my neck, refusing to even look at the child care providers. Guilt doesn't begin to describe what I feel.
I know that I need to set boundaries and stick to them. No one needs to go all Dr. Phil on me. I think I'm a fairly stern parent. I gave my child a timeout on Christmas morning because he wouldn't share his cars with his Grandpa. People may disagree with me about my discpline, but when it comes down to it, he's my child.
It's just that I notice there are times when, to avoid the feeling that unique blend of single-parent guilt and emotional apathy, I wonder if I tend to treat Zac like he's an equal partner in the household. The, "I'm the parent, you're the child" dynamic is quite frankly exhausting. Waiting until he's tired rather than putting him to bed at 8:30pm exactly is sometimes easier than listening to him cry (and vomit - he's learned how to make himself throw up!) for an hour.
I want to do what's best for him by providing him the boundaries that he needs to grow up to be a respectful, empathetic individual. If I don't, my only other option is to deal with a tyrant that throws himself to the ground and cries when he doesn't get his way.
I have to find some way to balance the demands of a tyrannical toddler with the practicality of every day single parenting. Does anyone have some ear plugs that I can use for a couple of years?