Go Away, Stupid Regression

Dear Regression,

Please crawl back into whatever hell-hole you came from and go away. Forever. What in the name of all that is holy is this regression nonsense? Who in their right mind decided that this was something parents needed to deal with? Was it you, Mother Nature who decided this was a good idea? God? Darwin? Someone else? And if one more person tells me, “it’s just a phase” or, “she’ll grow out of it” I’m going to regress to my angsty teenage years and scream in their face. Not really. But maybe. There are some forms of regression you can prepare yourself for. Like when you have a potty trained 2 year old and you bring a new baby home. That toddler is probably going to pee on your floor and poop in their underpants more often than they would have pre-baby. That’s expected. Their attitude will probably change too. Sometimes the 2-year-old will all of a sudden seem (and actually become!) more mature now that there’s a new baby in the house. Sometimes the exact opposite will happen and your 2-year-old will become some weird stranger that lives in your house and causes you to say all the four letter words before 9am because they are insane and irrational and ridiculous little humans that won’t be told what to do or helped in any way so-help-them-God.

I say all that to say this: regression sucks. It’s stupid, draining, frustrating, and it brings out the worst in you as a parent.  We have been battling this with our third born for over nine months now. Nine long months of feeling hopeless, helpless, and like a failure every day. I know it won’t always be like this, but honestly, that doesn’t help at all. I don’t care that “this too shall pass” because I’m living it right now, every day, every night, all the time. I don’t want to hear that tomorrow will be better because all I have the energy to focus on is trying to make sure I survive the “right now”.

My kids used to be easy. I mean really easy- I paid my babysitters $10/hour to watch three very young kids because they were “easy” to take care. This is how bedtime literally was in our house:

Adult: “ok time for bed lets get our pajamas on”
Kids: “ok!” And 2/3 of them would go do it. The other 1/3 needed a diaper change and help getting her pajamas on. And that was it. They peed and brushed their teeth and then they went to sleep. The End. That was it. Oh my how the times have changed in my house.

75% of my children (we added another) go to bed easy(ish). The last 25% of my offspring (also known as the 2-year-old) feels like trying to put an entire kindergarten class to bed at the same time. (I’ve never actually tried to do that but it seems like it would be easier than the ringer this 2 year-old puts us through). Yelling, screaming, getting out of bed, screaming some more, waking up the baby, waking up her sisters, coming into our bed at all hours of the night. It is non-stop and it makes me want to cry. I wrote a poem about it. An actual POEM because I was so distraught one night that making a bunch of sentences rhyme sounded like a better idea than dealing with her. I’m telling you, regression messes with your brain. It made me regress into my high school English class, apparently:

Who invited you, stupid regression?
Does this momma really need more forms of oppression?

Staring at my child who was once considered cute,
Now I wish this kid had a button that could mute.

Putting on your shoes, going potty, getting dressed.
I should have known better than to have asked, I could have guessed.

The fits and screaming would come down like a typhoon,
How many would judge if I had just one drink before noon?

You used to be easy and chill and fun.
Now I look at you and think I can’t do this. It’s too much. I’m done.

Bedtime? Oh please don’t get me started.
The panic attack comes and I fret, for these waters are uncharted.

Yelling and crying for what I can only guess.
I’m trying to do what’s right, trying to do my best.

Just please don’t wake the baby, he’s just a little guy.
I close my eyes, say a prayer, and send it to the sky.

I ask for patience and love and wine.
I can do this (maybe), I’ll be fine.

Nothing works- no changes or time or reason.
I hate this part of parenting and I hate this season.

My heartbeat races at the thought of another meltdown.
Can I survive one more? I feel like I’m going to drown.

The joy is gone, the anxiety is high.
But what is that I see out there in the sky?

A horizon perhaps? An answered prayer?
I catch a brief glimpse, enough to get me there.

It goes away in an instant, but I saw it for a second,
A life past regression where the pain of it is lessened.

Do you like my attempt at optimism there at the end? I wrote that poem a few months ago when I was right in the thick of this nonsense. I am happy to say that the 2 (now 3)-year-old has mostly moved on from those dark days. And man, were they dark. I have no advice, no words of wisdom, no tricks or changes that made her chill out. She literally woke up one day around her third birthday and decided she could be a reasonable human being again. So if you’re in the darkness of regression right now, try to hang on. Take it one step at a time. Your kid put their shoes on and didn’t throw a massive tantrum? WIN! Your kid screamed for 20 minutes because you asked her to go potty? Not a win. Hang in there.  You’re a strong parent and you sure as heck are stronger than any regression nonsense your child can throw at you.  

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