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I just locked my three-year-old out of the house. It's not as bad as it sounds, and it is. I can see him and hear him, because he is screaming and kicking the sliding glass door. And he's in my fenced in back yard, so fortunately, or maybe in this case UNfortunately, no one can come up and kidnap him, or stupidly offer me money for him.

He kicked me repeatedly at the grocery store, deliberately dumped a cup of Bryce's breakfast fruit cocktail juice on to the living room floor (because he thinks that's funny, and so does Bryce) during the five minutes I had to put the groceries away before leaving for the soccer game, ran away from the soccer field (where the coach was attempting to let him play, because he said he wanted to and we must give His Highness whatever the hell he wants at all times, except of course for when he's saying he wants something and then bolts half a mile away for no reason other than to make his minions jump, yet again) and refused to come to me while Bryce played soccer with no one watching, screamed in my ear for half an hour while I held him for the rest of Bryce's game, refused to stay in his bed at nap time, walked into Bryce's room while he was sleeping, banged his fists and kicked the wall during a ten-minute old-school stand-in-the-corner punishment, and the final infringement, the one that landed him locked in the back yard to keep me from breaking his neck and sauteeing him for dinner, bolted up the stairs screaming that he was going to wake Bryce up, then banged on his door maniacally.

In the three minutes it took me to write the first half of that paragraph, he moved from crying and yelling at the door to grabbing the nearest plastic toy and using that to "knock." He's back inside, staying right next to the living room door way, threatening to bolt upstairs again. This is his attempt to get me to play with him, which I refuse to do during nap time. If he doesn't take a nap, he has to find something quiet to do until Bryce wakes up. He shouldn't be rewarded with a snack or a movie or mom sitting down to play a game with him. But who the hell needs any of that, anyway, when you can just torture the household, wake up your sibling, disrespect and defy your red-faced, flashy-eyed mom with spittle in the corners of her mouth, and destroy the house? I mean, movies? Snacks? Screw that.

I'm about to lose it. I've come close to losing it at least three times. It was the back yard or call 911. I don't know how to fix this. Yes, yes, fullness and life. I know. But it really seems like fullness and life should be different from fear and desperation and guilt and failure. For instance, I don't picture Catherine running like an idiot across the soccer field to get a defiant Birdy back to watch Ben's soccer game. I don't picture her holding a kid screaming on her hip who is perfectly welcome to join in the game but simply won't because now that the opportunity is there, the desire isn't. I don't picture her, even after a day of record-breaking challenges from normally happy Birdy, losing so much a sense of reality and control that she would grab Birdy's shoulders and violently lift her eye-level and growl into her face, "I'M JUST NOT GOING TO DEAL WITH THIS DO! YOU! HEAR! ME? DO YOU?!" And I certainly don't picture her doing it two or three times in one horrific day, one five-hour time period. I don't picture Birdy, while refusing a nap and being told to find something to do quietly until her brother wakes, screaming and whining and slapping Catherine's arm while she types, because I don't picture Birdy being incapable of entertaining herself peacefully for 15 or 30 minutes. I would think if this were the case, we'd hear more about it.

That's the logic that confounds John and me. Why don't we hear more about this from other people? I don't hear anyone referring to these types of problems recurring so very regularly that if they had a blog they'd be writing about it every other post. I'm not picking out the bad highlights here. I'm talking about what goes on all the time. I'm talking about why I'm almost out of my mind. I'm talking about the fact that while I'm sitting here typing, my blood pressure is going up again, Quinn is kicking and making moaning sounds next to the sink because I've told him his options are quiet play in the living room or the back yard, and that doesn't meet his bratty little expectations of the world bowing down to him and serving him peanut butter straight from the jar, which is what he's demanding right this second. When I do hear stories like this, they are told as sharply singular negative experiences, not as typical day-to-day, hours-long struggles. I don't hear about them in the context of the parent questioning their value as a human being and questioning every life choice ever made.

And this is why it feels so lonely on the Fringe most days.