Recently, Little Guy has been driving me crazy. When he gets stressed he becomes either really touchy or really needy. Although he is excited for the semester of culinary school to begin, he's nervous about the new classes and new people. He has mantras that have expected required responses, and if he doesn't get them, he becomes upset.
For example, he'll say (twenty times a day):
"You're my baby."
I'm expected to respond with, "No you're MY baby!" (I'm not sure if this exchange is just rote on his part, or if he really needs an assurance that he'll always be my baby).
If I don't respond correctly, or if I'm on the phone or distracted and don't hear him, he gets frustrated and acts like I've deliberately set out to mess up his day. He'll silently stand there and shoot me hairy eyeballs until I get it right. Even if it takes a half hour. I'll be obliviously loading the dishwasher and he'll be silently standing behind me glaring at me. When I turn around----gah! There he is with the ol' stink eye.
Another one is his constant use of the word "sorry". He picked it up from a peer in his transitions class a few years ago and hasn't stopped since.
Every time I ask him to do something---put the folded towels in the bathroom/let the dogs out/put the milk away/whatever and he'll say:
"Sorry, Mom. Sorry."
Zillions of times I've explained to him that he doesn't have to be sorry, he did nothing wrong.
Wrong answer. I'm supposed to say, "It's ok. I forgive you."
Well, I'm not going to do that. So it's another 20 rounds with the glare for the day. He'll even stand in the hall when I'm in the bathroom and shoot me the stink eye through the closed door.
And now for the cherry on top. Constantly he asks, "Do you still love me?" or "Will you always love me?"
The expected answers to these questions are "absolutely" and "forever and ever". Any deviation from that earns the double stink eye.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out where the heck that came from. Hubby and I have never ever threatened to withhold our love from our children, yet this seems to be a constant worry for him.
I recognized how darn tired I was with all of this the other day when Little Guy and I were in the grocery store. We were shopping and minding our own business, when I noticed a woman giving me the hairy eyeball (by now I'm an expert on that). I looked down at myself, wondering if I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe or a bit a lunch on my shirt.
Nope. Then I thought about the exchange she must have overheard between me and Little Guy, who is actually a 6'1 inch 200-lb man.
Me: Honey, could you reach up and get that muffin mix? The blueberry one? I can't reach that far.
LG: Sorry Mom. Sorry.
Me: Thank you!
LG (glaring at me): You're supposed to say you forgive me!
Me: No, I'm not going to say that.
LG (changing tactics): Do you still love me?
LG: You're my baby!
Me: No, you're MY baby!
Then he happily marched around a little as this woman looked at me like I was a lunatic or a really bad mother. I barely noticed that little conversation with my son as we have it 20 times a day, and it must have sounded like a critical, controlling and withholding diatribe to a complete stranger.
I've tried to redirect him a gazillion times over the years, with no luck.
Anybody have any ideas?