Our Journey

2002 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #1

2003 1st consult with an RE, you know, just in case

2003 Got Married (at 37 (me) & 34 (DH) years old)

2003/2004 Naturally conceived pregnancies BFPs #1, #2, & #3 and miscarriages #1, #2, #3

2005 Uterine Fibroid Surgery #2

2005 IVF #1, BFN #1

2005 IUIs #1 and #2, just because, BFN #2 & #3

2005 FET from IVF #1, BFN #4

2006 Exploratory surgery to remove scar tissue from fibroid sugery #2

2006 IVF #2 (w PGD), BFP #4

2006 Emergency cerclage for IC @ 16w6d (5 months + 1 week of complete bed rest at home ensues)

2007 Our son is born @ 38w by scheduled c-section

2007 IVF #3 for baby #2, BFN #5

2007 IVF #4, BFP #5, miscarriage #4

2008 IVF #5, BFP #6, miscarriage #5

2008 IVF #6, BFP #7, miscarriage #6

2008 DE IVF #7, BFN #6

2009 DEFET #8, cancelled, embryos don't thaw

2010 Decide to adopt domestically

12.17.10 Profile is live with our agency

November 2011 Consult with RE re: donated embryo cycle

Early January 2012 Cleared to proceed with deFET

January 2012 Freeze our profile

1.20.12 deFET begins
2.12.12 eSET of one compacted morula
2.22.12 BFN

3.23.12 deFET #2 begins
4.14.12 transfer 3 embryos (1-8 cell, 1-5 cell, 1-4 cell)
4.22.12 + HPT
4.24.12 Beta #1 = 48.4
4.26.12 Beta #2 = 125.7
4.30.12 Beta #3 = 777.8
5.11.12 1st U/S - Singleton!
7.12.12 It's a Boy!
12.26.12 C-section: Baby G is born, 9#5oz, 20.5"




I have posted before that I am parenting a strong-willed child. As he has gotten older, now 4 1/2 yrs, his tantrums are fewer and farther between. However, in their place has emerged a more difficult and more challenging (as if I ever thought that possible) set of behaviors that I call ‘red-zone’. It generally starts with him being bratty, ornery, or obstinate, and if he can’t be distracted or negotiated with, it quickly escalates to spitting, slapping, pinching, and, now kicking, all whilst screaming, crying, and red faced. If I meet his aggression with aggression (meaning we have a stand-off) it feels like all out war waged against me. This doesn’t happen often (twice/month) and rarely happens with his dad, one, because they aren’t generally alone for hours at a time, and two, his dad is much more accommodating and less likely to say no repeatedly.

When my son was an an infant, only full of cuddly sweetness, I used to comment to my husband that I feared that other kids would bully him. I was projecting far into the future, but given how sweet he was, it was a legitimate concern, I thought. My husband’s response then, which proved astute indeed, was that, given his sheer size, we should worry about him being the bully. At the root of that, though, was my fear that, if true, if he did have physical responses to things he didn’t like, there would come a time where he would be strong enough to hurt me.

This weekend we crossed that threshold and I am still trying to wrap my mind around what happened, and, blame myself for it. There are things I know about parenting him: don’t even bother having an outing if he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed; when out, make sure he is fed and don’t let him get too hungry; make sure that the outing is for a couple of hours and give him a countdown so that he knows to expect to leave, and try not to meet his aggression with aggression.

My husband had to work all day Sunday and a friend was going to the zoo. At first, I wasn’t inclined to go, just because it was going to get hot and crowded. However, I presented the idea to my son who resoundingly wanted to go. In an effort to beat the crowd, once we decided to go, we went, which was my first mistake. I should have packed our small cooler with water/juice box/snacks. Nevertheless, the zoo has a number of places to eat and buy snacks so we set out unfazed. I decided that we’d do what my son wanted to do and that we wouldn’t have an agenda, per se; go where he wanted to go, see what he wanted to see. We’re zoo members so it doesn’t matter what we do or how long we stay.

Things started off fine and we enjoyed the first few exhibits. He started to behave in a slightly bratty fashion, not wanting to do this or that, but, after a brief protest, skipped happily along. We got there ahead of our friends, so we decided to take the Safari Shuttle around the zoo, something we’d never done, but something my son was revved up to do. We looped around the entire zoo and by the time we made it back to the start our friends were there waiting. My son wanted kettle corn so we bought a bag and I thought that would tie him over to lunch which we planned to have at the zoo cafe, which was mistake #2. I should have taken his cue and gone straight to lunch.

Unbeknownst to me, our friends had never been to this zoo, and I now wish I had waited to meet up with them at the entrance to show them around, but I digress. We strolled along from exhibit to exhibit. My son started to get slightly unruly, not that anyone else would have necessarily noticed, but I did. I knew that it was because he was hungry but we were now far from the cafe.

In the midst of our walking, another friend texted to see if we wanted to meet up for an afternoon movie, which is exactly what I had planned to do with our day originally. I knew that we’d be free after lunch so agreed to meet her and her daughter for a later afternoon movie and I also knew that I could use our it as a bargaining chip if I needed to. It was precisely at this time that things started to go downhill. I am not sure in what order they began, but I believe it started with my son whining in the back and forth way that he does. He didn’t want to go to lunch, he wanted to go home, but when I agreed that we should go home, he didn’t want to leave and wanted to have lunch and when I agreed with that plan he did an about face and demanded to go home, “Right now!”. I knew that we needed to begin to head toward the entrance, which was quite a trek from where we were and we hastily said good-bye to our friends.

We started making our way toward the shuttle stop and things just spiraled out of control. He wanted to play at the zoo park, which we had to walk by in order to get to the shuttle stop. I calmly explained that we weren’t going to go to the park and that angered him. I kept ushering him toward to the shuttle stop. When he figured out that we were leaving, it became a 3 minute blur of my son calling me an idiot, me telling him that that was not OK and that we were leaving, him then launching a full fledged assault (I was holding his hand) where he whipped around and tried to slap me, pinch me, and eventually landed a full on kick to my shin, the knot from which I have to show for it. It all caught me so off guard that I barely had a chance to get out of the way of his further attempts to kick me. I managed to wrangle him to the shuttle stop, where he was in all out tantrum, screaming, crying, yelling. I was pissed, believe me and I knew it was best for me to get some physical distance from him so I had him sit on the curb (and thankfully he stayed there) and I went six or so feet away to sit on a bench. He proceeded to cry and scream such that passers-by, including zoo personnel, stopped to make sure he was OK and in the care of someone. I was almost in shock, feeling the growing knot on my shin, seeing the welts on my forearm where he grasped my skin and slapped me yet angered that it had come to this. I was willing the shuttle to pick us up so that I could get the hell out of the zoo and the throngs of onlookers. It was at an at least 10 minute wait, all the while, my son was crying and yelling and any attempts at interaction from me only exacerbated the problem.

By the time we boarded the shuttle, he had calmed down, but I was still shaken. I was mad at myself for many reasons, but more than that I knew we had crossed a threshold. My son is strong and impulsive enough that he can hurt me. I do not want to meet his force with a show of force of my own, but in that moment at the zoo, I had to. I remember sort of clutching the back of his neck between my thumb and forefinger in an effort to turn him away from me (so that he could no longer kick me) and to sit him down on the curb. I, myself, was fuming that he actually hurt me and I was embarrassed (something I rarely ever am because I do not care what others think) because so many people were watching.

We high-tailed it home where he did a complete about face, apologized many times over, and kept telling me he was in a nice mood. He knew he couldn’t watch youtube because of his behavior at the zoo and that we weren’t going to go to the movies with our friends. He felt the knot on my shin and apologized for kicking me and I know he feels bad. I need to review the tape in my mind and ensure that we not put ourselves in the way of this perfect storm again. I need different or other tools so that I divert situations like this from happening and not contribute to their escalation. But, at the end of the day, he can and did hurt me, and we have entered a new chapter.

To be continued…

The trouble with learning to parent on the job is that your child is the teacher.
~Robert Brault

9 comments to Threshold

  • Lut C.

    Definitely one of the harder episodes of parenting.
    I have no advice whatsoever for you. Your concerns seems entirely justified to me, and I hope you do find the way through this.

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for talking so openly about this. So many people would not be so open about their feelings.

    I think you handled it the best you could!! I know so many others who would have snapped!!

    Happy ICLW

  • It sounds like you were in a total no-win situation. I don’t have any great advice, but I can offer virtual ((hugs)) and prayers for peace for your hearts and minds.

    ICLW #20

  • Oh, my. I’m having deja vu. I could have written your first paragraph (and much of the rest) with just a few detail tweaks.

    It’s so hard to deal with such big emotions from little people while also dealing with your own. I know the arc all too well, the rapid escalation, the falling off the cliff, the rage-rage-rage, the abyss, the remorse.

    Not sure if I’m talking about the kid or the adult ;-).

    I can tell you that in our case, things have gotten less frequent, less intense and more brief, if that’s of any consolation.

    A big hug for you.

    ICLW #28

  • Oh man, I am so sorry to hear that. While my daughter is close in her verbal tantrums (& the signals to the on-set), she is nowhere near a match for me in strength. Of course, she has great speed and if she were told to sit down, I suspect I would spend the next 10 minutes trying to catch her.
    I give you great credit for handling it the way you did, especially under the ever watchful and critical eyes of complete strangers who have NO idea what is truly going on. I hate the all-knowing critics, the ones that point & whisper but never offer a hand – just passing judgement.
    Try not to beat yourself up over it too much. Chalk it up to a lesson learned.

  • Sorry to hear you had such a terrible experience. My 2 year old daughter has started to bite me whenever she throwing a fit. I have no idea what to do about it. I have tried time outs. I have tried squeezing her cheeks. Nothing seems to work.

  • So sorry to read what you’re going through. I won’t proclaim to be any sort of parenting expert, but we’ve had success taking our son off of dyes and preservatives (Feingold diet.) We started it 4 years ago, and the difference is amazing. He seems like he’s outgrowing it to some degree. Yet we’ll see a different side of him (anger and hyperactivity) sometimes when he eats the wrong thing. Whatever helps, I hope you find the tools and support to get you both through it. (Visiting from ICLW)

  • How miserable. I’m sorry. Not my area of expertise, but I have a close friend with a son who threw similar fits at that age. What ultimately worked for them was physically restraining him until the tantrum ceased. Which took some physical strength… I know she delegated to her husband when ever practicable. But I guess it worked.

  • Sounds awful on all fronts. Public parenting, aggression from your son, all of it. The perfect storm of Parenting Suck.

    I wish I knew what to do with my own son’s anger. I want him to acknowledge it and understand that he’s angry without hurting someone. And honestly, one of my rules is that no one gets hurt. Period.

    Hugs. You handled it as best as you could – please be gentle with yourself.


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