I hear Eric’s incessant screams: “momm-mee!” from across the house. I cannot ignore them. I cannot react. I just want to make it stop. I need to wait him out but he will not stop screaming for me.
I have nothing. He is already on the bench in a time-out. All I am asking for is five quiet minutes. He has been screaming for seven. Make that eight. Okay, quiet for one minute. Nevermind.
I feel so trapped because no matter what I do, I feel immediately that I have (again) made the wrong choice. If I do nothing, that, in itself is probably the wrong thing to do (or not do). My heart is being squeezed in a giant hand. Every time he screams the hand makes a tight fist.
I resolve to not give in this time. I can never seem to wait to the point where there actually was a point. The amount of time spent suffering through his endless screams (almost fifteen minutes so far this time) far outweighs the initial infraction. What even happened?
Am I just supposed to be happy with no screams for twenty seconds? And fly out and congratulate him on not screaming? I only have a few seconds before he catches his breath and starts again.
So I step out onto the porch and breath deep cleansing breaths. I inhale and exhale ouder and louder to drown out his cries. Eventually we both calm down. Has he passed out? He is too quiet.
When I step back inside to check on him his cheeks are flushed and wet with tears. I hug him and he folds into me, his body limp with exhaustion. He appears ready for a nap while I feel refreshed.
Next time I will try to remember that I am the one who benefits more from time-outs.