Last night I hit my limit. Kings did the bedtime ritual, not me. Rockstar and I are grappling with each other. He’s getting better and he’s fighting to keep all his sickie privileges. I know, I’m supposed to be the parent, but really, I’m struggling for control. And I need a break. We both do. This could be the toughest break since Ross and Rachel. Lucky for him he’s my flesh and blood or I would’ve locked him in a cupboard.

I’ve gone soft. Or it’s birthing hormones. Mother Nature knew there would come a time when mummy dearest would need a little extra help to keep from abandoning her child and hopping a plane to Bali in search of drinks with little umbrellas in them. There is no stop loss on this trade, and I’m in way to deep. This deep:

9 months of lugging him around completely cold turkey on alcohol and flu meds; despite the doc’s reassurance, the moment we discovered I was pregnant, no more nightly glass of red, and I took a cold pill just once during pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every second – almost no morning sickness!

11 months of getting at least 3 hours less sleep; waking 90 mins earlier and sleeping 90 mins later each day while I pumped breast milk around a crushing job in private banking derivatives (no breastfeeding room available at work and I wasn’t preparing my son’s lunch in the toilet). No alcohol and hardly any meds during this period too.

After a good feed.

12 months of not caring what I ate for dinner; hurriedly spooning rice, veg, fish chunks, anything easy to eat from a bowl with a spoon, sitting on my bed. After I bathed Rockstar, I let him crawl/play on our bed next to me so he could see me “reading” something, anything (but I have to eat sometime, I usually came back from work tired and starving). I felt with his Don’t Tell Me What To Do personality I could seriously end up making him hate books while trying to do the opposite, so instead he saw me reading every night and if he decided to join in, well there just happened to be a heap of interesting kiddie books handy and mummy was there to answer any questions he might have – with the most colorful stories about the characters in the books that she could dredge up.

Shaking his bootie on our bed

2 years of my life. No other man has dared treat me this way. I cut loss fast, when it came to bad men in my life. But somehow, insidiously, Rockstar has a terrifyingly strong hold on my heart. The heart is after all a muscle, and Rockstar’s is so buff he’s jerking me back and forth effortlessly for 5 sets of 30 reps each, cruel little man that he is. It may have been a labor of love for me, but he’s still a cruel little man.

At the end of the day, Rockstar’s face is puffy from so many crying tantrums. At least he’s strong enough to cry and scream, I keep telling myself. And telling myself.

We force fed him his meds in the afternoon, after he decided he would not be drinking any more milk for the day (which was how he was taking his meds. Doc Chan would have a fit. This is a huge no-no because if the child doesn’t finish the milk you have no idea how much meds he’s taken. Hence we use very little milk and interesting cocktail glasses and cajole and beg him to finish).  We don’t usually force the meds on him because he fights so hard he often throws up. But today I took a minute bathroom break and when I got back he was elbow deep in his father’s potato chip stash (this is the first time he’s found chips – we were tired and eating anything). After insisting and pleading to not eat any more lunch. Or drink any more fluids. I really didn’t care if he threw up potato chips that time. But we had to wrench him from the chip bag.

Caught in the act on another occasion, this time stealing a raisin bun out of my bedroom stash.

On thru the day, until 10.30pm bedtime when he’s hungry. I’m tired, but I wanted his food done just right so I get up and prepare broccoli, rice, prawns, fish and some noodles in a little bowl with his favorite spoon. He doesn’t take a single bite, putting on the mother of all obstinate faces, which is when I lose it and Kings takes over. In retrospect he was probably canvassing for potato chips.

When it’s time to sleep, Rockstar turns to his father, “Daddy, go outside please.” Which is the signal he’s ready for sleep.  (Daddy likes working late and will only be back in bed way past our bedtime.) He looks at me expectantly. We usually fall asleep together. This time, I want to read quietly. “If you tell Daddy to leave, you’re going to have to fall asleep by yourself because Mummy needs a break tonight.”

Little fingers crawl teasingly up my arm. Then down my side. He’s trying to tickle me to make me smile. I can’t help it, I smile. But I also cry a little. He probably knew exactly what he was doing with the tantrums. “Sorry mummy.” I hug him and give him a kiss, but I’m still drained and upset. “We can call daddy back, or you can sleep by yourself tonight please. Mummy’s not ready yet.” Without another word he turns around a few times, not unlike our Border Collie searching for a comfy spot on the bed, and settles on his side with his back to me.

But then a searching little foot reaches out and rests against my leg.

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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