Lately, Zachary has resumed his habit of drinking a lot of water before bed. I go to bed right after I get the baby down, so it’s too early to lift him to the toilet before I head off to sleep, but by the time I wake up in the night to feed her, Zach has wet through his pull-up. Hence, I have started insisting he visit the commode immediately prior to climbing into bed. Sounds like a reasonable solution, no?
It turns out that four-year olds are not all that into reasonable.
Zachary is appalled that I should suggest he use the toilet before bed. This is because he does not need to urinate. He stands in front of the toilet and whinescreams at me. Eventually, of course, he lets out a long stream of pee, because his bladder is full to bursting.
The other night, he felt the whinescreaming was insufficient to express his dissatisfaction. He decided, instead, to use another weapon in his arsenal.
You know where I am going with this, right? If you don’t know, you must have never in your life met a four-year-old boy.
So, what, exactly, if the appropriate response when one’s child waves his p-nis about midstream and pisses on the bathroom floor? I mean, what would Dr. Sears do? Whatever it is, I am pretty damned sure what I did was not what the experts would advise.
I went ballistic. I pulled his hand away so that the rest of the contribution went into the toilet, then yanked up his pjs and handed him a wipe, yelling, “You clean that up!” I don’t mean I told him to clean it up. I hollered it. With fury on top.
We were both shaken. I got him into bed and kissed the boys goodnight, still fuming. He was whimpering for me to come back with another kiss, which I did because I don’t deny them kisses, but I did not give it with particularly good grace. A few minutes later, I checked in one more time, this time softening my response by gently telling him that I love him, even though I am angry.
We all lose it with our kids, and I do try to forgive myself. The next morning, after an apology, we got on with our day because I cannot spend forever dwelling on it every time I lose my temper. I brought them to school and stopped back into Zach’s room after bringing his brother to the younger classroom. Zachary was working on his letters at a little table with two of his classmates. Suddenly, my son was screaming at his friend, “You’re bad! You’re bad! You’re being mean!” Tears were flowing down his face and his tone reminded me of something… Something I had heard very recently.
It turns out the other child had hit Zach, and my son responded by yelling in a possessed tone of voice. With fury on top. His reaction was probably over the top, although I told him I was pleased he had used his words instead of hitting back. I guess it’s good he is defending himself and I suppose I would yell if someone hit me.
Nonetheless, I wonder where he learned to holler like that.