According to commiserating folk, every child is difficult.
If I’m going off their actual, real-life, sighing, eye-rolling, judgy-face reactions, however, my child is the only difficult one. Those reactions, and what their kids are doing.
At a park full of happy faces, sand castle builds, a brother pushing a sister on a swing, and a group of giggling girls with Barbie dolls; my son is the one flinging sand or chasing his brother with murder in his eyes.
Mine’s the one hiding on the sidelines at the first grade school performance, while his peers sing the song they are supposed to. Later on, he’s the one who slaps a cute girl who tries to get him to come out.
The kid in a store who won’t stop screaming? Mine.
The ones brawling in the hallway after a religious lesson on love in the home? Also mine. All of them.
How about that one rogue boy who, when Nature called, couldn’t be bothered to find his parent or a toilet? He was my child, and was at a public splash pad when he dropped his swim pants.
Others get calls home from school about awards or examples of leadership. When I see the school’s number on my phone, I have a near-panic attack. And, rightly so! Before addressing my second son’s behavioral issues in first grade, he was sent to the office at least once a week.
“All kids are like that,” other parents tell me. Their child sits nearby, calmly playing with a toy and smiling and saying, “Please,” and “Thank you.”
“I’m not so sure they are,” I reply, with a bit of a nervous tic to one eye. Looking over at my offspring, I have to immediately rise and pull one out of the mouth of the other, while the little brat yells, “I hate you, Mommy! You love him more!”
I’ve tried to accept what I have, and (despite what they yell) I love who I have, but I’ve decided to accept a more obvious truth:
I actually have difficult children.