Toxic Relationship...With a Toddler

Dylan must've known I wrote about my lack of toddlerance yesterday because when I bent down to greet him after work he slapped me squarely across the cheek. It was a good, clean, legit punishment that killed me a little. I missed that boy all day and our reunion sucked. Sure, we made up, he said “thorry,” we kissed and all that…but damn! No “Hello, how are you?” Differentiating a rotten toddler from simply rotten behavior is a challenge for me. I know the signs of a toxic relationship and sometimes I feel like my son is the abusive guy that doesn’t really love me and yet I’m stuck in the cycle of going back to him time after time. Well guess what Dylan? It’s over. We’re breaking up. 

Psh! Yeah right. But if this were anyone else, I wouldn’t take:

  • Always losing control. Something doesn’t go Dylan’s way and instantly he pops off on those closest to him. He’s smart enough to behave nicely toward strangers but unpredictable enough to lash out on mom in front of them. Red flag alert. 
  • The dramatics and the back and forth. Dylan poo-poos my presence until I show an interest in something else. Oh, moms on the phone? Suddenly he’s going to jump off the coffee table, test his lung capacity, and/or dig through the trash. 
  • Threatening me into submission. I’m not subservient but watch me quiver as Dylan picks up his Leap Frog and raises it in the air to chuck it at my face, making sure I get a good look at what he’s about to do. It’s as if he’s saying “Don’t make me…” as I remind myself that it’s not my fault.
  • Unrealistic expectations. Just because you see me drinking coffee, doesn’t mean you’re going to get coffee. Dylan’s expectations are pure insanity. He thinks fruit need not be washed, trucks need not pass, and car seats are optional because mom isn’t in one.
  • 24 shades of mood swing. One minute life is the best it’s ever been with raspberries galore and high fives up top- but the possibility of a flash flood forever looms. A toy caught beneath another toy will ignite a tumultuous storm of disgruntled toddler screams that likely terrify my neighbors.
  • Violence. Sometimes I see it coming and other times it’s a side swipe. He runs past and rips my ponytail, he kicks me as I try to dress him, or he slaps my cheek on any given day for any given reason. This is classic abuse and yet I stick around and try to make this relationship work. 

If Dylan were anything other than a 1 year old, he wouldn’t get away with bashing people me in the face and I certainly wouldn’t stand for all the break-up to make-up sagas. But what can I say? I LOVE HIM! He’s my son, he’s super cute, I can’t imagine life without him, he does give the best apologies and…he’ll grow out of it. Right? I can change him! I swear!

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