I need a time out.
I'm just going to go sit over in the "naughty spot" until I can handle parenting a toddler that is quickly approaching the terrible 2 stage. I might even need 2 minutes for every year of my age, so I'll be there for a little while. Don't be surprised if I fall asleep. I'll use my time in the naughty spot to think about what I've done and how I can avoid similarly bad parenting in the future.
For the past three days, Zac has been pushing every g-ddamn button I possess. I will admit that on Saturday, I screwed up his sleep schedule by taking him to my Mom's chorus performance, which didn't start until 7pm. He fell asleep in the car on the ride there and would have been perfectly content to sleep the rest of the evening in his car seat if I had let him.
But no, I was the mean Mommy that ripped him from the comfortable haven of belted security and forced him into an umbrella stroller. He cried for non-stop for 30 minutes before my Dad took him into the bathroom and he calmed down.
When we got back to my parents' house, he was awake until 11pm and still managed to wake himself up at his regular time of 7:15am. He fussed the entire day and screamed from 4:30-6:30am, Monday morning. I knew that I had two choices at that point: have both us try to make it through our days exhausted and ready to kill someone, only to be called by the Shoe Nazis at 2pm saying, "Zachary is having a bad day. Can you come pick him up?" or we could go back to bed. I picked the second option.
Then on Tuesday, somewhere between my mailroom and the Shoe Nazis headquarters, I lost my entire set of keys. It was a nice day and I felt like walking, not remembering that keys, wallets, cellphones and assorted items bounce out of the stroller. When I got to Zac's daycare, they were missing. I retraced my steps twice from the mailroom and back and couldn't find them. I had to call the "emergency maintenance" man to let me into my apartment and spent 45 minutes slapping mosquitos away from Zac's head while he screamed with hunger and frustration.
As soon as the maintenance man, who apparently isn't very concerned about emergency situations, arrived, my Dad showed up right behind him with the spare set of apartment keys. Zac screamed and screamed, refusing to eat his dinner or drink his bottle, until my Dad held him. Zac finally calmed down for him and ate his ravioli and sliced pears.
Now, the kid is so upset all the time that he cries whenever anyone is more than five feet away from him. He cried for a solid hour at dinner last night at a Mexican restaurant with my friend David. He refused to walk (again!) and only wants to be carried to the car and back. He's holding on for everything he can and it makes me want to scream.
Anyone interested in parenting a toddler that screams more than he smiles? Let me know. Until then, I'll be in the corner over there, thinking about ways that I can occupy Zac while I'm in timeout.