Have I told you about the Terrible 3’s? Yes, I believe I mentioned it a little here. At that time, Connor did have quite the impressive tantrum, but all in all the fits were spread out and not all that often. However, these past few weeks, my beloved younger son has decided to increase the frequency. OH MY LUCKY STARS. It’s bad, people. Really bad. It could be because he doesn’t want to clean his mess, or give back the toy he took from his brother, or something else terrifyingly unjust, in his perspective. But this boy can scream, cry, flail, and carry on uncontrollably for a very, very, very long time.
What is troubling is that it has also happened twice in the middle of the night for no apparent reason! He’s woken up from sweet slumber with what starts as a whimper and then gradually grows into blood-curdling screams. At that point, we are trying everything under the sun to calm, comfort, and console him and to no avail. He was even just repeating, “Mommy, Mommy, I want Mommy!” while said person was holding him, telling him I was here, trying to hug him (he would actually push away while screaming that repeating chorus). One night as this was going on, Mike just deposited the screaming terror on our first floor and left him there not knowing what else to do. “He can’t cry all night.” True. He eventually came upstairs having ended his demon-possession without the need for an exorcist.
Speaking of exorcist, we probably should have called one on Halloween. That morning he must have known it was time to be scary. He woke up 2 hours earlier than usual, crying. But the worst was when we tried to get him changed from his pajamas to regular clothes for school. Besides the lack of vomit, I believe this was the worst tantrum to date. My poor parents were still in town to witness it all. My mom probably had to get her blood pressure medicine upped due to post-traumatic stress disorder. He was utterly out-of-control! Somehow we got him dressed and to his preschool where it was quite fittingly Monster Day.
After describing a day of more than one such tantrum to Mike, he suggested I go back to work for mental stability. I won’t lie; it’s been physically and emotionally draining. I think this week’s sore throat may be a direct consequence of that. In the heat of the moment, I may have fine-tuned that classified ad for Crazy Connor. But once that moment passes, I am actually a little surprised to find that my love for the little demon is super hardcore. I would look at him and think that my love has no bounds. It made me think of the parable of the prodigal son: the picture of the Father’s perfect and gracious love for his child who recklessly squanders his Dad’s fortune on women and wine yet finds not only a warm embrace but the party of the century awaiting his return. It is also a gentle reminder of how my Father views me in spite of my frequent temper tantrums and monstrous ways. Lately I’ve been convicted of dethroning myself, and it’s been hard for one who likes being the center of her own universe. But if the torturous tantrums shorten my life yet at the same time teach my son the invaluable lesson that he is in fact absolutely, unconditionally and graciously loved (as well as how to share, clean up his mess, follow directions, etc.) then it is worth the lessons learned. Even when he pulls out the worst of the worst, he will know that we will still be there to dry his self-induced tears.
In the meantime, we will stock up on earplugs, wine, and tylenol. Connor, like it or not, you can’t get rid of us. We love you immeasurably. I hope that I can see that in all areas of life….that difficulties are not reasons to complain but sometimes means to a greater end even if that end does not directly benefit myself. Here’s to hoping!