toddler having a tantrum-failing as a parent

Today I feel like I failed as a parent.  Tears were had by all today, even the dog, who was desperate for someone to play with him but knew shit was hitting the fan.  A perfect storm hit our home and it has not been pretty.  Sickness – √.  Teething – √.  Separation Anxiety – √.  And some apparent sleep transgression that can happen leading up to age two – √√√√.

Failing As A Parent

We are going on almost 2 weeks of intense crying at naps and bedtime.  Wakings in the middle of the night with the only resolve being sleeping beside me or me on their floor.  My perfect little sleepers seem to have vanished overnight. I was someone who felt immense pride that I had TWO babies who, upon being laid in their cribs, would roll over and go to sleep with a peaceful grace.  Those days are a foggy memory.  

Considering I am alone 5 out of 7 days/nights a week, having 2 screaming toddlers, desperate for me to hold them until they fall asleep is a depressing form of torture.  For them and for me.  Even when my husband is here they don’t want him right now.  Only their mum.  I spend a great deal of time holding one baby while the other screams.  Putting him down to hold the other with the first one screaming angry I put him down.  Repeat on loop.  

Every night someone has ended up in bed with me, which means limited sleep because they clearly have to sleep across my face as being next to me is just not enough.  Some nights they will sleep if I sleep on their floor.  It’s not a soft surface, even with the concoction I have made in bedding, my hips are killing me.

Toddlerhood is Coming

Now the tantrums have started.  I knew this was coming, they are almost two.  I have talked about it, joked about it but no amount of anticipation can prepare you for TWO screaming toddlers. Throwing themselves on the floor, rolling around hysterically crying.  It is like anything with parenthood, you know it’s coming, have heard people talk about it, seen others go through it but not until it happens to you, do you fully realize I have no fucking idea what to do.  

It is hard enough to console one screaming child, two is beyond difficult.  You simply can’t help both and that is crushing.  Try as you might, going back and forth. Trying to hold both on your lap, trying to talk soothingly to each one. Them trying to push the other off my lap, knowing they can’t get across what they are feeling in words. Knowing they need their mom and you literally cannot be everything they need because you are divided in two.


Tonight it came to a head.  After an hour and half of tears, body throwing, 5 bites, 100 hits, screaming, sad desperate eyes looking at you mixed with hurt and anger, I had to limp away (due to the bite to my leg) hide, count and cry.  I was pissed that another human just bit me, again.  Frustrated that I was supposedly bigger and more intelligent and yet I could not communicate in the right way to my 22 month old.  Angry I was stuck in this prison called twin toddlers.

Feeling worried they might have mental problems because humans should not be able to contort their body in such violent manners and then feeling like shit because I am supposed to be their mother, the port in the storm and yet I seem to be the constant reason for meltdowns and all I want to do right now is escape.

Sometimes Wine is The Answer

Eventually, everyone calmed down, or got distracted by a truck and tears turned into laughter.  The boys hugged me and kissed me right up until they went to bed, as if nothing happened.   Kris got home with wine for me, I took the dog out hoping a walk and some air would help. But I couldn’t shake the day or the growing feeling of dread that I somehow had unintentionally hurt the feelings of this little being.

 I don’t know how two tiny people can rip the rug right out from under me time and time again in so many varying ways.  But they do and mostly in a fashion that is filled with immense love, but sometimes, like these past 2 weeks, like tonight, when it completely leaves me questioning my capabilities as a parent.

Crying into my Malbec, I said to my husband “I just felt so frustrated with him and now I am angry at myself for not having more patience.”  Kris –  “well, he bit you 3 times, that isn’t very cool.”  And then I finally laughed.

 I know he will wake up in the morning, as happy to see me as ever.  And I will wake up, hopefully rested with an extra set of patience, love empathy and wearing 3 layers of pants so his Dracula teeth can’t get through.


3 comments on “A Failure to Communicate”

  1. Hi Kate. Not sure if you got my message but I wanted to tell you to ha g in there. Wish I could help you.

  2. Kate – you inspire. The fact that you can communicate these feelings, actually take the time to share them AND care is so moving. What a pair of lucky boys and time will reward your very patient unconditional love. Adore you and your writing.

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