What a difference a year can make.
Last year this time, right after Kaiden turned 4, I was getting ready to ship him off to China to an orphanage for terrible toddlers. Kaiden had the worst tantrums of any kid we knew, as in hour-long, kicking-and-screaming-on-the-floor fits. I have racked up enough stories to tell about the embarrassing places Kaiden has spun out of control – from the disgusting floors of public bathrooms to airport restaurants to airplane aisles during major turbulence – to write a book about it. I already have a title: “My Life on the Edge: Three Years of the Terrible Twos.”
The pinnacle of Kaiden’s bad behavior occurred last August, the night after his birthday party. Around 10 p.m., just when we were all getting ready to go to bed, Kaiden descended into such a tailspin that we couldn’t even calm him down enough to get him to eat, which we knew was probably the source of the problem. We were such at our wits’ ends that Siig did the only thing left to do at a time like this – he wrote to the TV show “Supernanny” asking for help. Still, by the next day I was ready to throw in the towel and trade-in my son for a new model, but my girlfriends somehow convinced me that, as his mother, I had a responsibility to get to the bottom of what was causing his tantrums. This was easy for them to say as they all have polite little girls.
So I listenedto my friends and that little voice in the back of my head that said, “Melissa, you do love him despite the fact he can make your life a living hell, and he is adorable when he is not completely freaking out,” so instead of leaving him by the side of the road for a nice family in an RV to pick up and adopt, I made an appointment with his pediatrician.
That was one of the best decisions I have made as a parent.
I took Kaiden to the appointment and he sat quietly on the floor while he listened to me and the doctor talk about him. I think that affected him more than anything else I could have done – listening to his mother talk to an authority figure about how much his tantrums were out of control. The doctor felt that Kaiden was not exhibiting anything out of the ordinary and didn’t have any chemically-caused behavior problems. While I was disappointed the doctor didn’t tell me that there was a Toddler Boot Camp in Kentucky that would turn my son into the perfect child in the span of one week, I swear from that point on Kaiden gradually improved. Whose to say if he just grew out of it or if listening to the doctor really made an impact – it doesn’t matter and I don’t care. As long as things got better, which they did.
Of course, right when things got better is when Supernanny called. OK, it wasn’t Jo Frost herself but one of the show’s producers. I about shit in my pants. Our call for help has been answered! Our 15 minutes of fame has arrived! Hallelujah! But when it came down to documenting how awful Kaiden was, I just didn’t have the fire in me anymore. He actually was starting to become, dare I say it, good. Figures that after three years of throwing the most intense tantrums, Kaiden would finally start improving right when our chances of scoring our own reality TV show were at our finger tips. That’s my son for you.
Needless to say, we didn’t hear from Supernanny again.
We were disappointed, but on the plus side Kaiden was improving all by himself. And a year later, his tantrums are down to a minimum. In fact, a whole week or more can go by without a fit.
And now that my first baby has just celebrated his fifth birthday, I think it’s my right as his mother to reflect on his birth. I’ve thought about it a lot over the last five years, because as some of you may know, it was an emotionally painful experience for me. Kaidenwas a breech baby who stubbornly refused to turn despite multiple efforts by doctors, acupuncturists and chiropractors, resulting in an unexpected c-section at 37 weeks. The full story is actually much longer and more involved than I feel like writing about here, but after his birth I fell into a deep depression for six months and truly didn’t heal until Kaya was born two years later, at home and naturally.
But now that I know my son’s personality and who he really is, the events of his birth completely make sense to me. He is a stubborn child who likes to do things on his own time, according to his own plan, so of course why would he want to cooperate and turn into a head-down position? I also believe he wanted to come early to be a Leo, the sign of a leader. For my bossy son, being a Virgo just wouldn’t do.
So five years later, I think I may have finally come to terms with Kaiden’s birth. And the fact that he made us lose out on an opportunity to be on “Supernanny.” But that’s OK. Now we are gunning for “The Amazing Race: Family Edition.”