May 5, 2018

Tiny Teething Toddlers

I'm hiding from my toddler right now. Yes, you read that right. Literally hiding where he cannot see me because every time he sets eyes on me he screams.

He's teething. I hope.

If he's not teething, I don't know what the problem is because I ran the full parental diagnostic and came up with nothing.

Today, more than ever, having a child reminds me of being a teenager. I remember those highs and lows. Moving seamlessly from giggles into tears.

Of course, if I thought I had it bad as a teenager, but I assure you this side of it is worse. Because now I have logic and I watch this mini human flailing his body around, as his face crumples into tears for the umpteenth time today, and I know NOTHING IS WRONG!

At least as a teenager I could feel all the self-centered angst in my soul and I knew I was troubled and misunderstood. Now I'm just observing it wondering what the hell is going on.

And, as an adult who has struggled her way into some semblance of emotional stability, it is HARD to maintain that equilibrium when my tiny human seems like he hates me and hates the world. So I'm getting some echo of those wild emotional spikes. "Oh good, he's giggling. All is right in the world!" "And now he's screaming again. Aghghghgh, shoot me now!"

I don't like it. I've occasionally felt a sense of wistfulness at not experiencing the highs of teenagerdom. The excitement leading up to trips, the sheer joy of confiding in a friend who "gets it", the thrill of finding an awesome outfit at the mall.

But ultimately it was worth it to not feel "joy" at a good pair of shoes when I could also skip the utter misery that accompanied every activity that didn't line up with my idea of a perfect world. I had settled for content and serenity and quiet happiness in calm moments. Like sleeping babies, family walks, and talking to my husband about goals and dreams.

So no, I don't like this. I don't like the resurfacing of the emotional turmoil I remember all-too-well from high school. I don't like feeling the echo of a teething toddler's emotions, and I don't like all the leftover frustration with nowhere to vent other than my husband or dogs. And the inevitable guilt that follows when I yell at a dog whose worst crime was being physically present when my child is driving me crazy.

Is calmness a skill? Is there some sort of trick I can learn to let his baby emotions slide off me? I'm rubber, he's glue???