Recently I’ve felt like I’ve woken up into some parallel dimension where my usually sweet angel has turned into an uncharacteristically defiant child. My son has always been a good listener and although he pushed the envelope on some things to test the boundaries as all children do, he wouldn’t ever do anything purposefully bad. If he found out he wasn’t supposed to do something, he would do his best not to do it. This may seem odd considering his age, I know most toddlers are pretty independent, but having delays in certain areas (mainly communication) his understanding works differently than other children his age.
The first oddity was when he decided to start climbing on furniture at school and running away from the teachers. If I could have had a photo taken at the moment my husband and I heard, you would have seen us in a state of complete confusion. Our son, who has never shown any interest in climbing and actually has to have a teacher teach him to climb things (it’s on his IEP), was climbing on furniture. Let alone the fact that he was not listening to the teacher and running down the hallways! We finally figured out that it must have been due to his mimicking another child at school. He’s never been around other children and was doing exactly what he was. We had a talk and that ended for a time.
Last month he started up this opposite thing. Everything I said he would say the opposite of.
“Judah stand up.”
“Come on! It’s time for lunch!”
“Time for DINNER.”
“Are you finished eating?”
“I don’t have to go potty.”
It would go on all day long and I’ve learned to ignore it when it starts. He thinks it is the most amusing thing in the world and it is actually a good thing that he’s developing his own sense of humor, even if it was at the cost of my sanity. Then a few weeks ago when he got sick he just started becoming defiant. Every time it was time for bath he would run through the house laughing. I would finally wrangle him, giggles and all, into the bathroom and let go for just long enough to turn on the water and off he’d go. If it was time to go somewhere or do anything I felt like a cowboy at a rodeo. By the end of the day I was just exhausted.
Oh, let me just state that this NEVER happened when Daddy was home of course.
Now he’s creating a new name for me. Yes, that is right, a new name. I am no longer Mommy I am Condizzy. He has always made up names for his cars, trucks and so on. It had gotten a little out of hand that we actually had to curb his made up names because he was starting to use his own made up words as answers at school when the teachers would ask him a question, but now not even Mommy is safe from tot speak. He also started calling his big brother “little brother” and gets a real kick out of that.
It wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the fact that he walks around narrating everything I do.
“Condizzy is getting coffee. Condizzy said no, don’t say Condizzy.”
“Condizzy got you a shirt. This is my favorite shirt.”
“Condizzy says hold hands. Gotta hold hands, going to Target. That’s not Condizzy that’s Mommy!”
Today at Target has been the worst by far. We checked out all the cars and trucks, 3 aisles and played with everything. I let him pick out a new Matchbox truck and then it was time to get Mommy’s things. I just needed TWO things. We went over to the aisle to get some dishwasher soap and one moment he is standing next to me and the next moment he gets this little mischievous grin and darts off running for the employee doors! I have to admit that I stood there with my jaw dropped for a moment in some weird state of denial. He stopped half way between the doors and myself and smiled at me. I put on my most stern face and said, “Judah NO. Come back here right now.” The smile never wavered and with my first step towards him he went for the door again. Thankfully there was an employee there who stood in front of the swinging doors and I got to him. Holding his hand I grabbed the dishwasher soap and went to the aisle to get some Charmin wipes.
We had a talk all the way over to the next aisle and he seemed to understand that I meant NO, we do not run away from Mommy at the store, so I let go of his hand to grab the wipes and WHAM! He takes off again, stopping when he got about 10ft away and smiles at me again. I got really stern this time. My husband says I am not stern enough so he doesn’t take me seriously, so I got REALLY stern, and he still took off again. I caught him, brought him back to get the wipes and then held his hand all the way to the register. Thank god I wasn’t grocery shopping!
When I got home I was just mentally exhausted. I know Moms deal with these things all the time, complete defiance from their kids and what not, but it is a difficult balance when you are dealing with a child who doesn’t quite understand things the same way. Let me explain it this way… my son understands cause and effect, that doing something wrong will wind him up on the couch in time out, however he doesn’t quite get the emotional aspect of it. He’s still grasping different sorts of emotions from people and understanding his own enough to communicate them. I can’t ask him why he did what he did because he can’t answer open ended questions. I can explain till I’m stumbling over my words why it is wrong to run away from Mommy in a store and he’ll understand that I said no and that I meant no, but since he doesn’t grasp WHY it is a no he will probably just wind up doing it again because he thinks it’s amusing.
Now everything is a back and forth battle that he finds entirely too funny even though I’m upset and exhausted. I remember once when I was trying to help him get something out of his tooth and he bit down so hard on my finger, he didn’t understand that he was hurting me so he held on like a vice until my husband got him to stop. That’s kind of the feeling my head is in at the moment. Unless Daddy is around to get him to stop he just clamps on down with his stubborn mischievousness and I get a headache.
At the end of the night after a back and forth over not tossing his blanket into the bathtub, he looks at me and says, “Mommy says no, just like No running away at the Target.” I said yes, he looked up at the blanket I had to drape across the top of the door so he couldn’t reach it and then huffed at me.
At least this Condizzy has stocked up on aspirin.
Those of you that might have children with delays, are changes in attitude delayed as well? Are my son’s “terrible twos” coming at 4? Or is this more of a testing Mommy’s patience vs. Daddy’s? I’m at a loss.