Momma Bear

I admit it. I’m tired. A week ago the toddler woke up and was 50% cantankerous, 25% pokey, and 75% in motion. Right as his oppositional behavior blossomed, we were taking care of home purchasing stuff. I was that mom at the zoo: checking for e-mails and taking phone calls while my kid ran off and was tripped by a wandering chicken. Some days the chicken just gets you.

Things are in a lull now. There are still 1.5 million things to think about, but nothing as time-sensitive as trying to score a house in this market. It’s a seller’s market out there, people. Sheesh we were lucky to get this place.

I say all this to let you know I understand that we parents are all tired. I understand that  parents have to keep children alive while moving mountains (or homes). But I almost ripped the arm off another tired parent’s child today.

Okay, not really. But that was my instinct. I watched a little girl hold my kid’s shirt, then grab for flesh, in order to keep him from passing. The toddler, as we are trained in self-defense class, loudly bellowed, “I want to move!” This happens, yes. Conflict happens. I generally stay back just a bit to see how they might work it out themselves. But there was something in the interaction that caused me to momma bear it over toward my kid. By the time I got there, the girl had stopped womanhandling the toddler. She was still giving him the stink eye. And I think many of us would agree you can tell the difference between a kid just testing boundaries (having a bad day, just being a kid) and a kid who is a brute.

I wasn’t sure who the brute’s keeper was, but nothing had happened, so I wasn’t that fussed about it. Until I saw a woman giving her young son a frappuccino, while not looking up from her phone Facebooking. Then the brute girl, barely three, also went to feed from that sugary Starbucks cup.

I get it. I do. Some days you need a break. Some days you’re buying a house and you need to make calls. Some days you go to the children’s museum where your kids will run around so you can sit still for ten minutes and laugh at e-cards. But much like the dog park (okay, exactly like the dog park), if you have a pet who is a bit more challenging, you stay on top of that beast. I could go on about the parallels of life with dogs and life with toddlers, but that’s another post.

I put my judgement aside as that family clip-clopped away. What I was left wondering is: What’s with the urge to physically remove a three-year-old’s arm from its socket? It was a super tiny flash. But still. My highest self is a rational, nurturing human, who wants to help all living beings thrive. But for a split second today, I was…well, momma bear. Or the bitch in the dog park. Take your animal metaphor. There was also a chicken up there.

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8 Responses to Momma Bear

  1. Kitty says:

    I’d love to hear more about self-defense class!

  2. Catherine says:

    Any nurturing and compassionate person would occasionally want to yank a toddler’s arm out of it socket in the same way they’d want to smack a nine year old or a nineteen year old upside the head. The reason you want to do it is because they are irrational and stubborn. You want them to learn from your mistakes and experience, yet they insist on doing it themselves.The reason you don’t actually do it is because they are so cute and wonderful – or possibly not cute and wonderful, but not your own and so you exercise the civil aspects of your personality in the same way you do when you deal with adult assholes.

    • alanajoyski says:

      Ha! I referred to my son as an “asshat” in a text about him not taking a nap. So small people are “hats” and big people are “holes.” It works. 🙂

    • alanajoyski says:

      Hey look! This is a way funnier (but longer) version of our little conversation. It was published the day after my original post.
      http://jezebel.com/be-honest-is-your-kid-an-asshole-563382834

      • Catherine says:

        Love the links. Be forewarned. Older kids act like assholes sometimes because their friends teach them that it works with their parents (or in whatever social situation). This is most annoying because you spent so much time when they were younger teaching them not to be assholes in these ways. And they learned. Then you have to do it all over again and find they listen to you even less. Of course what they freak out about changes too. Among an older child’s reasons to freak out and/or be an asshole are having responsibility, not having responsibility, wanting to do something social (picture co-ed Lord of the Flies), not wanting to do something social (i.e. only grown-ups).

  3. Plaz says:

    Love your writing, especially on the tough stuff. And the chicken line made me laugh out loud at work.

  4. Plaz says:

    It’s like a funnier version of Murphy’s Law. Sometimes you’re just tripped by the wandering chicken.

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