The incident happened under semi-crisis circumstances. Finally at four years old, I have figured out that Connor is a big time gagger. If he gets into a major coughing fit, it almost always ends with him throwing up. There is nothing wrong with his stomach and the doctor finally straight up told me, "It is unnecessary to bring your son in here every time he throws up, he is fine. However, I am slightly concerned about you." I'm not quite sure what he meant by that, but I think it boils down to our real "jokey" relationship (the man has never once cracked a smile at my seemingly irresistible wit and charm). So with this history, I have now made Connor into quite the paranoid cougher. If it is more than a simple throat clearing, I have trained him to race to the toilet in case the urge to vomit strikes. I am sure that during cold and flu season, this little habit, along with the fact that his build makes a toothpick look obese, is really going to help him make friends at school.
So last night, from his bedroom, I heard the warning signs. A tell tale cough. It was around midnight and I let him have a couple of minutes to get over it on his own, but he didn't and so I hopped up and raced into his room because I knew the inevitable crescendo we were building up to was close at hand. I desperately did not want to change his sheets and go through that whole production so I yanked him out of bed and rushed him into the bathroom. He stood there for a few minutes, still coughing, and as I suspected threw up. I was now feeling pretty proud of my mothering skills, I had averted a major crisis. Connor was still about 80% asleep, so I brushed his teeth and got him ready to go back to bed, but he was still having some occasional coughing. So I made the executive decision get him some cough medicine. That is when all hell broke loose. For some reason on this particular night and in this particular mood he decided that he was vehemently against cough medicine. He was very vocal about this with me. I was totally surprised because I rarely ever give either of my boys any medication and so when I do, they usually act like they are getting some kind of reward ( Note, I didn't say we reward them with drugs, they just really enjoy it :). He completely and irrationally freaked and I ended up having to force the medicine down his throat while his dad held him down. It was totally bizarre and lasted all of one minute. After the hated medicine had been administered I started tucking him back in and he, still crying, told me that he didn't love me anymore. I thought surely that I had heard him wrong and said, "Excuse me?" Now in a much louder and clearer voice he said, "I said, I don't love you and I weally mean it."
What??? How could this be? I am his favorite parent! (Chill out Matt, we both know it's true). Here is the thing, my logical side was telling me that this happens with kids all the time (I can sense your head nodding, Mom) but it has never come out of my sweet little man's mouth before.
This part of motherhood really sucks. I am used to being the comforter. With both my kids, when they get in trouble and they do a lot, both as a team and as independent operators, they will be super upset while serving their time and then immediately come to me for comfort as soon as they are released, even though I was the warden administering their punishment. It took me awhile, when Connor was a toddler, to wrap my brain around this. They were loving me unconditionally because I was loving them unconditionally even through discipline. As adults it is so easy to hold grudges and hurt feelings against people when we believed we have been wronged but I have witnessed through my own kids that we are not born with this ability. This little incident with Connor ( which I have thought about incessantly) just felt like a glimpse into the future, a future where I am not always going to be the person who knows all the answers ( he already knows more about space than I do) and where he is going to be mad at me and I won't be able to make him feel immediately better just because I'm his mom and I am awesome (which I kind of am). I know my days of healing owies with kisses and hurt feelings with hugs are numbered and that has totally bummed me out.
So in conclusion, as most of you experienced moms probably already guessed, he didn't remember any of this in the morning. But I sure did . I even wrote it in his baby book "Age four: told mother he didn't love her and really meant it."
Hey, just because I love my boys unconditionally doesn't mean I am above administering a little mother guilt down the road and I am positive this little gem will be making an appearance during someone's tumultuous teenage years.