I've had plenty of guilt incidents, most of which I've gotten over and some that I still think about and mentally kick myself in the butt over.
But yesterday was the first time I felt like I was failing my child. This incident happened very quickly and then was over, but it left me feeling horrible, depressed, like Mateo was never going to amount to anything wonderful and lovely and smart...and all because of me.
I made our dinner early so we could try to eat dinner with Mateo instead of after he went to bed. I gave him his favorite - hash browns - first along with some spicy pizza bits from his lunch. I let him have at that while I cut up the dinner I made into smaller bits for him. I told my husband to come to the table, gave Mateo his portion, and my husband and I ate salads while Mateo started in on his "moooorrr" as an indication he wanted to eat what we were eating until he got a taste of it, and then he didn't want to anymore. Unfortunately he kept doing this even though we were eating the same salad with the same salad dressing, but I guess he thinks every time we put something in our mouth, it must be new.
Once he was convinced we were giving him the same thing over and over, he decided he was finished. Never once did he try the food I gave him. All he did was wipe it all over his tray, mixing it with the remainder of hash browns and pizza bits. He kept repeating "all done" until I just gave up on him actually trying the food. I cleaned him up and let him down.
I think this was when the effects of poor mothering started to kick in. I'm getting more and more frustrated that I can't get that kid to eat anything more than fruit, hash browns, yogurt, more fruit, sometimes creamed corn, and pizza bits. Sure, he'll eat other things here and there, but that's his staple. He goes through phases where he loves American cheese and peas, then goes through phases where he won't touch either unless it's to drop peas on the ground and then exclaim "uh oh."
The logical side of me knows this is all per norm with a toddler, and that he'll eat when he's good and ready to eat. And it's not like he doesn't eat - that boy is a good eater, but only when he feels like it and not when I want him to. And the big, round belly on him says it all: he is not starving.
But the worrisome, irrational mom inside of me feels like even though I'm trying daily to provide him with simple foods I think he'll like, it's all my fault that he won't eat more than his normal food items. And that he'll grow-up only eating hash browns.
While I was thinking my crazy thoughts, Mateo was running around the living room, trying to drag a baby bumbo around (I just realized this weekend that he likes to sit in it even though he can't get himself out of it) and making a lot of noise and havoc. My husband grabbed his doggy and put it in the bumbo chair, which tickled Mateo and made him want to sit in it. My husband put him in the chair and started dragging him around. Then he wanted up, so my husband helped him up.
The whole time this was going on, I was sitting staring at Mateo, thinking how I'm failing him. It was then that he decided to pick up his doggy and throw him at Zoe (a cat), hitting her and knocking her up against the wall. Zoe shook her head and crept off.
An immense sadness washed over me. I know that he's only 18 months old and doesn't get what he's doing to Zoe, but I feel like when he does these things, it's my fault because I'm not teaching him well. The me in rational land knows this is not true because every time he does something to Zoe, I tell him he's hurting her, to be nice, gentle, etc., but there is only so much an 18-month old will listen to or understand.
My husband looked at me and must have seen something on my face, so he told Mateo, "Mom's really tired."
Tears welled up in my eyes. My husband asked me if I was okay, and I said no, and I left to go hide in our bedroom. Two seconds later, here come my two men, my husband concerned for me, Mateo acting the goof.
I looked down at Mateo and he looked up at me and smiled and did one of his famous Mateo goofy moves, making me laugh.
My husband told me to lay down and rest for a bit, but, me being me, I just got Mateo's bath stuff together and then gave him a bath. I might be irrational at times, but I'm still dedicated to my boy. And I like him to smell like baby soap.