An Unkept Promise

As I was putting Reagan to bed last night, I heard Grayson’s little voice wimper for a hug. Over and over again, he cried, “I want hug. I want hug.”

Earlier that evening, he refused to eat dinner. Reagan and I will sit down to eat whatever mush I’ve managed to cook up, and she sucks it down while happily discussing her day. Grayson, on the other hand, has stopped eating all together it seems. He refuses to eat even his most favorite foods. It drives me crazy. If he doesn’t eat breakfast or lunch, he turns into a moody mega-beast. If he doesn’t eat dinner, he doesn’t sleep at night. (Sleep is a terribly sensitive subject for me. I don’t need much but after so many years of sleepless nights, my patience has worn down to the bone. I’m done spending my nights awake with children.)

So when he doesn’t eat, others suffer. Greatly. We’re all unhappy when Grayson skips a meal. Which remarkably sounds like my childhood experience, now that I think about it. My brother was horrible if we didn’t feed him on time. To this day, you don’t want to be around Nick if he hasn’t eaten. I suppose this is a glimpse into what Grayson’s future holds. But I digress.

Battles over food have reached a level of biblical proportions. This isn’t any different than all of the other battles though. He puts up constant fights. About food, about playing, about changing his diaper. All he does is fight me. When I complain, people like to point out that he’s in his terrible twos stage. To which I respond that he’s been in the terrible twos stage since birth. Seriously. This child has fought me from the moment he took his first breath. He has an extremely strong-willed personality and I’m currently in the way of it, trying to keep him alive and all.

Last night, not only did he scream at me when I told him dinner was ready but he started throwing food. I turned into a bear and forbade him to touch another toy or book. I yelled at him every time he even made a peep. When I told him to sit down while Reagan and I ate, he refused and wandered around the house with a furrowed brow and hands under his armpits, resembling chicken-wings (which I’ve come to realize is his version of hands on his hips). This went on for two hours. Who has this sort of stamina?

When Brendan came home, Grayson was relieved. He must have thought that surely daddy would see how unfair mommy was treating him. When I recounted what had gone on though, Brendan told him to eat or he wasn’t allowed to play. I ran upstairs to take a break from the drama but could still hear the arguments and crying. Grayson lives for that short 30-minute playtime between when Brendan comes home from work and we start our bedtime routine. And honestly it isn’t even 30 minutes anymore because Brendan’s job keeps him later and later these days.

They ended up skipping it. Grayson didn’t get any time to play because he wouldn’t eat. When he finally did take a few bites, it was time to go up to bed. He screamed and cried during his bath, as his teeth were brushed and while putting on his pajamas. When I came in to say goodnight, he wouldn’t even look at me.

While I was putting Reagan to bed, I heard him crying. He regretted not saying goodnight. I finally cracked open his door and asked him if he wanted a goodnight hug. He picked himself up and from his weepy state he whispered, “Yes, please.” My heart sunk. Mom guilt set in. I hate yelling, and do so entirely too often. I scooped his little body up in my arms, sat down in the chair next to his crib and felt him trying to catch his breath from crying.

As we sat there together, I promised him I wouldn’t yell again. I rocked him and told him how much I loved him. He hugged me tighter. I lost my breath. I had broken this poor little boy’s heart as much as he broke mine.

And now here I am. Getting ready to start yet another day. How do you power through without cracking? I promised I wouldn’t yell at him again but that seems nearly impossible. Parenting can be so damn hard.




  1. Lisa

    March 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

    I’m sitting here in tears reading this because this was our house the other day with dinner. Ethan had such a strong will. I wouldn’t let him up from the table until he had eaten, and he sat there for the hour and a half until it was bedtime, refusing to touch a single bite. Then there was bedtime last night when he cried and cried because I wouldn’t sit in his room for the hour and a half it took him to fall asleep. With the new one on the way any day, I need him to get used to his own room and putting himself to sleep like he used to because I won’t be able to do it all. I hate those guilty moments when I feel like I’m robbing him of something he needs or truly wants in order to feel safe and comfortable. I have such guilt about having another child right now. But, he woke up this morning and called for me instead of crying. Then he told me “I happy Mommy!” and gave me a big hug and kiss. Now if only those moments were enough to help me get rid of the guilt….

    1. Gina

      March 5, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Aww, Lisa, don’t feel guilty about having another baby!! I felt the same way for the longest time but wish I could erase all the guilt I felt for all of those months (or maybe years) because watching Reagan and Grayson play together now makes my heart sing. Now that he can interact a lot with her, they laugh together all of the time. Ethan will be okay! As for guilt for all the other stuff, I hear ya. Meals and bedtime are so stressful!!!!

  2. Joseph Macko

    March 1, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Very well said.

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