The idea of maturity is essentially denying the instinctual reactions we feel to substitute a proscribed societal expectation. Nothing brings this awareness to the front of my thoughts like raising a toddler. And yet when adults behave like children there’s nothing more reviling to be around.
My son is going through an interesting stage right now. He’s having a bit of toddler FOMO when faced with decisions and it’s nothing short of exhausting. Offer him a thing, and instinctively, he refuses it. Respond by removing offending thing, and he freaks out. Oh okay, you think, I’ll offer it again since he’s changed his mind. But to no avail. The Schrodinger’s toddler both wants and does not want the thing. Maybe it’s just me, you wonder, placing the item on the ground and turn away slowly. This only escalates matters. The child, you realize, wants one thing, inescapable chaos from your baffled inability to act. You stare down this tiny creature, trying to comprehend if he truly has such awareness. He can barely grasp the bathroom, and yet he manages to grind onto the existential burden of the impossible paradox.
This is the exhaustion. More than sleepless nights, more than figuring out what the string of nonsense sounds they’re shouting like you should just know. This, the final breaking point of the parental reality. Demons run when a good man goes to war. And these days this behavior is the thing that pushes me to my limits. I’m told he does this at daycare too, which is not as reassuring as I’d like.
Meditating on this phenomenon brings awareness of how adults will pull this same behavior, albeit on a more subtle level. Whether it’s beneficial or not remains to be seen. I still have no idea how to match this strategy with a consistent workable solution. At best, it only draws my ire at how a grown person would be so immature. Perhaps feeling some jealousy that I’m holding up my end of the expectation of maturity and can’t wallow like a baby too.