The last ten minutes sucked.
My son was playing games online as usual and I walked over to tell him it was time for bed.
I had warned him several times – twenty minutes, fifteen minutes, ten minutes, five minutes – okay, time to turn off the computer.
Our routine works beautifully most nights.
He always plays his favorite video games for a while in the evening, then eats a snack and goes up to bed.
Lately, he has really been great about heeding our countdown and final directive to shut off the machine.
Tonight, not so much.
He started his tantrum thrashing before the computer was even off.
I counted to five. He wouldn’t shut it down.
I shut it off for him and he went nuts.
He was hitting me and thrashing and looking for something to throw.
I had to hold his arms so he couldn’t toss the giant dry erase board he reached for on the table.
He was pissed and kept on thrashing.
I shuffled him toward the couch area where there were fewer things for him to break or ruin.
Husband tried to distract him, but it was too late. He shrieked at the top of his lungs. Loud.
This all happened quickly and within just a few minutes he had calmed down and was sitting nicely with a chocolate milkshake.
When he finished it, he hopped up the stairs lickety split and got out his toothbrush.
He was again our happy little laughing boy, but me? I had every bit of joy drained right out of my body.
I felt sick to my stomach for the interaction between us.
I hate that I had to physically keep him from throwing the dry erase board.
And I hate that my kid hit me.
His behavior is so far removed from what it was a few years ago, but on occasion it rears its ugly head.
One unintentional hit from him now takes me right back to that crazy time when he was purposefully hitting me with all his might, repeatedly, everyday.
It was so dehumanizing. I don’t even remember how I got through that.
It’s not like that now. It really isn’t. He has changed. I have changed.
Things are good now. His upsets are fewer and far less volatile. And truly, I have several tricks to avoid them completely.
But tonight? One got through and it sucked for ten minutes.
It was husband’s night to follow him up for toothbrushing and tucking into bed, but I went too.
I had to be sure the boy knows I love him.
I had to be sure that he loves me.
He knows and he does.