it’s not all hugs and kisses

Every day for the last, oh, ten days or so, I have arrived at day care to swoop Angel Face up in my motherly affection and whisk her away to the joyful dwelling that is our homestead only to be met with Unmitigated Grief and Absolute Despair that slowly devolves into All-Encompassing Anger and, eventually, the Temper Tantrum From Hell. 

And I’m not saying it’s happened once, or even twice. It’s Every. Damn. Day. Mommy’s here? Oh Woe and Affliction. Yesterday, I thought I was going to get out of there unscathed, but the crying (eventually morphing into red-faced screaming accompanied by Real Tears and Rivers of Snot) started when we got to the car. And I even let her walk herself. 

I know it’s probably just a phase. But it’s really starting to depress me. I used to look forward to that moment of reunification all day. Now, it’s like the time goes so quickly at work I don’t even have a chance to savor the ability to hear myself think. And then I feel guilty for dreading it, because I’m her MOTHER and MY GOD, I shouldn’t hate spending time with her. I get so little of it as it is. 

Two days ago, when the tantrum was peppered by Exorcist-like screams of “No!” at no one and nothing in particular, I couldn’t help it – I started to cry myself. I sat in the front seat of the car, clutching my steering wheel and let go. I felt like the biggest failure – I didn’t make my kid happy anymore. She’s not glad to see me. She wishes I would leave her with the babysitter. She hits me in the face and then bites me when I try to punish her with a time-out. Is this the terrible twos? Aren’t we a little early for that? 

Later on, in the bath tub, Angel face held out her palm for me to kiss – she has an “owie” and she likes for Mommy to kiss it. Then, as I spread the Baby Magic bubbles over her arm, she noticed I had an “owie” on the back of my hand – and leaned down to kiss it. 

It almost made the last two hours worth it. Almost.

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6 Responses to it’s not all hugs and kisses

  1. How are you at transitions? Some people tolerate transitions really well but a lot of people don’t. I wonder if you and Angel Face are having some transition problems.

    Maybe you could start a new ritual (to replace the tears) at pick up. You can use food, but I bet there’s a “kiss your nose – kiss your toes” kind of game you could start – then play it every single time you pick up. Just something else to get you both through the transition. That’s probably what I would do.

    But search yourself first. There maybe a feeling or notion that she’s actually responding to.

  2. rimarama says:

    I agree completely with the comment above. As I was reading the part of your post where you said “I don’t even make my kid happy anymore” I was all, “No! no! no! That’s not it!”. It’s the transition!

    And it sounds like Angel face is at the age where transitions can be huge, huge issues. I like the suggestions above. Also, I know it’s probably a pain and all you want to do is get home, but can you extend the shift from daycare to home by a little bit, stay there and play with her for a few minutes or something like that? And then do the ritual that signals “time to go home”?

    Let us know how things go!

  3. Jennie says:

    That’s beautiful.

  4. Erin says:

    Here I was all about to suggest a transition game and these nice ladies already beat me to it. E-mail me if you want some more ideas. I’ve got entire books dedicated to transitions!

  5. Jessica says:

    C has gone through so many of these phases I swear I never know what kind of reception I’m going to get when I walk through that door.
    The “I hate you, please leave me here” phase didn’t last long and quickly morphed into the “Oh no don’t leave me at this horrible horrible place, oh please mommy!” phase. Luckily that one passed pretty quickly.
    The other posters are right, it’s just a transition thing. It’s actually a healthy thing, she’s trying to gain control of her life, and screaming is the only way she knows how right now. I’ve always found that knowing that it’s a normal developmental thing makes it easier to tolerate.
    Hang in there, next week she’ll be exerting her will on some other aspect of her life. And trust me, it’s not a sign that you’re a bad mommy. That she’s so compassionate is a sign that you are a great mommy!

  6. Sarah says:

    Whew. Thank God those women knew what to tell you.. I was going to suggest an exorcism. By all means, try the transition game. (But I have some names of priests if those don’t work.)

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