|tantrum #500 (Photo credit: demandaj)|
I felt like I had safely crossed the parenting minefield, feeling relief and gratitude, only to be hit by a car. Did I have a freak for a child or had everyone been lying. Was there a conspiracy going on? Had parents everywhere decided that after enduring the incessant back and forth of need and asserted independence of the twos that it was best to never speak of the threes? If parents knew what the threes might have in store for them would an epidemic of child abandonment take place - hundreds of little angels (%$#**@) deposited in the safe care of firemen and ERs around the country? A lot of that time is hazy for me. I'm glad that I came out the other side still loving my children and still married to their father. I will simply say that while the twos were draining, the threes brought the first ever, full out, seizure-like, floor thrashing, screaming, emotional meltdowns. The entire period taught me two very important lessons. 1. The experts don't know your wonderfully unique bundle of joy and 2. Be a boy scout. Be prepared.
I was tricked again, about 7-8 years later, when my almost 11 year old started going through huge mood swings. I was relaxed during these years, thinking that I had some breathing room before THE TEEN YEARS. Instead, once again I was tricked. Both times my kids hit 11 years, I faced emotionality I had not seen since... they were three. Profound sadness, or anger, full out rage, and isolation, occurred in spurts, and was completely unpredictable to me. Now they are both teenagers and at this precise moment I'm enjoying them more than ever before. But do not be mistaken, I am reciting the adage, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, NEVER. I am on high alert. I am going to go find a scouting kerchief and get me a merit badge in preparedness.