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Motherlode: Who Died and Made Me Not Boss?

parenting_post Matt and I found out that income we were depending on — related to his books — fell through. We sat for hours going over the figures. A day earlier, we had asked a real estate agent in Rockland County, N.Y., to visit a property. “Can you hear the noise from the Palisades Parkway?” we wrote. The rent was a little higher than we had wanted, but it was on a cul-de-sac, and after apartment living I imagined the kids being in heaven there.

Earlier in our planned move from Jerusalem, I was the one with reservations. But now Matt expressed doubt. “It’s one thing to have financial pressure, but moving with financial pressure is too much,” he said.

I felt helpless, and the feeling reminded me of something that happened last winter. Mari, our 2-year-old, was biting in preschool. She wasn’t the only one, but she started biting several times a week, and other parents were complaining.

At the time I was absorbed by researching schools for our son, Cai. We were trying to home in on the right district and then find a rental according to our school wish list. I took a break and shifted focus to “toddler aggression”, reading what early childhood psychologists wrote on the subject, speaking to preschool teachers and consulting with parents who’d had this problem.

We tried different strategies but nothing worked. Then too, I had felt helpless and ashamed. Unsurprisingly, those feelings did not help Mari either. We met with her teacher, who said: “I think Mari bites because she’s one of the smallest in the group. She does it when she feels powerless and out of control.”

I nearly cried because I knew just how Mari felt. Having no control stinks. (Or, as we said in the ‘90s, it bites). When powerlessness extends to your kids, it’s unbearable. How can it be that I created life and now have so little say in what happens to that life? Who died and made me not boss? Read More

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