Getting Angry with Each Other

So it finally happened – Calvin drew on the wall with his crayon.

The background story is this – the day before, both Calvin and I had a really late and long nap, separately. We were both sleep deprived from his night awakenings a couple of days ago. He slept through his video time and I slept till dinner time without preparing dinner. We had dinner almost an hour later than usual and Calvin ended up sleeping after 11pm. And then he started waking up and calling for us for no other reason than to see our faces. He woke up about three times in the middle of the night and somehow still managed to wake up at 7am in the morning and started crowing excitedly that it was morning. Ugh…talk about a bad start for me.

In the afternoon, I needed my nap. He didn’t seem inclined to sleep and was busy puttering about. When he woke me up later, he told me to come see his room. That’s when I saw that he had redecorated his room. The wall clings have been moved onto his playground and room door; there was tape all over the wall together with odds and ends taped on like a little plastic spoon. And then there was an odd circle on the wall written on tape. On close inspection, I realized the writing wasn’t on the tape and started to peel it. As I had feared, there was the black imprint clearly on the wall. I was pretty mad and told him so in a harsh voice to show my anger. When he started to tell me it was an accident, I got more furious because it was clearly a deliberate circle he had drawn. (When I questioned him in detail later, I found that he confused accident for “things he didn’t want to happen” instead of “things he didn’t intend to happen”. I guess the concept of intent is still too abstract for an almost 5 year old)

The most infuriating part is that when I am angry with him for doing something wrong and not admitting or apologizing for it, he starts to get angry too. He still does not know how to control his anger either so will start shouting at me, throwing things at me (albeit this time it was a used tissue paper ball) and saying mean things like “You are the worst mama!”. Surprisingly the mean words from him didn’t really faze me since I know those are just angry words. I made him help to clean up his room while I scrounge the internet for crayon-on-wall remedies. The good old baking soda saved the day again and the wall is once again pristine.

Maybe if I was more rested, I would be able to handle it better and could talk it through with him instead of getting angry.  When Calvin finished his snack later, he asked me, “Mama, are you still angry/upset?” It is hard to stay upset with the little man. I did tell him then that I wasn’t angry anymore that I’m sorry that I was so mad. I guess he gets worked up and feels insecure when I am unhappy with him and starts to lash out too in defense. I’m glad we sorted it out in the end. He promised me that he will never draw on the wall again. I’m hoping he will learn to be more honest with me next time instead of trying to hide but I think that will be a lesson that will be difficult to teach. It is only human nature that we do not want to disappoint the people we love or respect even if they do not get angry with us.

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