Walking With Spiders

“I’m going to go to Colorado where the spiders live. I’m going to take them for a walk. I am going to take them to people’s homes who don’t have spiders as pets. And you are going to miss me. And be really, really, really sad.”

                                                                                                                                              —-Callie S., Age 3

Really? Here’s your backpack. Take your time.

There is a war going on in my home. I’ve got 40 years on my opponent, but experience doesn’t seem to give me an edge in this case. 

Do you ever share a tale of terror with a friend who also has children, expecting some empathy, or maybe even that knowing nod, and it doesn’t ever come? Instead, they shrink back in horror a little bit, their mouth forming a surprised “O”, and they shake their head. “No. No, in fact I never experienced that with Joey. I guess I was lucky.” Damn right you were lucky. Or you were passed out from medication and alcohol as you tried to escape your new reality…toddlerhood…girl style. 

“You’ve got a baby genius at your house. She’s brilliant, and so so sweet. So creative that one. I am just amazed by her artistic talent. I’m amazed at what she says.”

                                                                                                                                        —-Compilation, Callie’s Teachers

This week, I witnessed the most horrifying tantrum ever. It happened late at night, and it lasted for 2 full hours. No let up. I thought the police might be called because of the noise that Callie was making, but then I remembered I don’t live in a neighborhood where people call the police. Because domestic violence incidents are not few and far between. I was secretly hoping someone might get concerned and call the police. I needed an out because I was pushed to the far end of my rope. I needed someone to come in and break the cycle of the one-parent household where child and parent battle and there is no other parent to call in to break things up. 

For two hours, Callie stormed. Caleb slept through the whole thing. I tried everything. The comforting, gentle parent “oh honey. Momma loves you.” The wrestling hold “it seems like you have 30 limbs, you are a Hindu goddess!” The stern “calm yourself down.” The explosive “what do you think you are doing?” The counselor “you seem angry.” Finally, I pulled the door to her room securely shut and sat outside while the storm raged. Toys flew, crashing against the walls and the door. Screaming, crying. Shouting, “Momma! Tell the truth!” (That was random. I had no idea what she was asking for with that one). This event resulted in two broken toys and some door dents. 

This stuff happens. I know some of you can relate. The question is, do we have the courage to share, support, comfort and advise each other?

After checking every 10 minutes for about an hour (“are you ready to come out yet?), I finally confronted her with “Callie, this behavior is unacceptable. I am taking you to Grandma Sosa’s house, right now.” It was midnight. I grabbed her hand, my keys, and unlocked the house and the car. I forgot I had another child sleeping in the house. I was drained. Callie dragged back, hard, on my arm. 

“No, momma. I’ll listen. I’ll stop. I don’t want to go to Grandma Sosa’s right now. I want to stay with you.”

I took her back inside, put her in bed, and didn’t hear another word from her the rest of the night. 

Good Night, Moon.

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