Sunday, October 18, 2009

Acting lessons

He sits in his high chair and shakes his finger at me.

"No No NO NO!"

And with the final "NO," he pushes his plate away. Another mealtime takes a turn into a battle zone, and I find myself torn between not wanting my child to be hungry and not wanting to give in when all he wants to eat is peanut butter.

What bothers me more than the eating though is the look on his face. He had to learn that scowl somewhere. He had to learn that finger shaking from someone.

I'm afraid it's me.

This past week has been full of "MINE" and "NO." He spent the afternoon literally taking toys from a baby. He would take whatever the baby had and claim it as his own. If he wasn't taking things from the baby, he was taking things off coffee tables and countertops. It wasn't our house. I spent the afternoon chasing him down, shaking my finger at him, and saying, "No."

He will scowl and tell a stranger "NO" if they get too close to him. On the one hand, it's not such a bad thing, but I hate that it has been his default action this week.

Every time he scowls, yells, shakes a finger, or is generally ugly, a little piece of my heart breaks off because I'm quite sure that he learned it from me.

Starting at mealtime.

I am so frustrated by his refusal to put anything but grapes, bananas, yogurt, or peanut butter in his mouth. I lose my patience. I scowl. I point my finger.

It's not getting him to eat any better, but it's teaching him to act like me.

I don't want to be angry mommy. I don't want to raise angry son.

We need more smiles, and I'm scared of how I'll be when there's another one. Where will my patience leave me then? Why are there days when I get so frustrated that I don't even seem to enjoy being a mother?

I need an attitude adjustment. I need more smiling. I need more patience.

I also need for my child to eat a piece of meat and a vegetable EVER. But that's an issue for another day.