Until recently, I didn’t really understand when people said, “So-and-so and I are just alike. That’s why we never get along.” Then there was Evan.

It’s horrifying to see all my flaws and weaknesses mimicked and thrown back at me by a four-year-old. Beyond that, it’s aggravating. I know I’m to blame for a lot of Evan’s bad habits and unpleasant behavior. I have a short temper; Evan escalates just as quickly, and within minutes we’re both furious. He shouts that he’s not my friend anymore and I mutter that I don’t care as I stomp off to lock myself in the bathroom for a brief moment of privacy.

Parenting is hard. And lately I feel like I’m doing it all wrong.

I have been making an enormous effort this past week to stay calm and patient when Evan is being his normal belligerent self. It’s exhausting! I’m crossing my fingers that persistent effort will pay off eventually, but for now I still have a surly kid on my hands. I think Jarom is both amused and frustrated by how similar Evan and I are.

Today was Evan’s checkup, and we always do ice cream afterwards. Because his appointment was at lunchtime I decided to use a little of my spending money to get Happy Meals for the kids and let them play for a while at the play area, with the condition that they could only open the toys when we left – and only if they left without fussing. When Evan went to go play, he told me, “If you call me, I will come with no fussing because I’m a good listener.” We’ll see if that actually happens. I’ve been trying to praise more than correct, which I hope will help mini-me be a little nicer in turn.

Any other advice? I’m struggling mightily!