Want to send you such a big hug. We have been going through a really rough patch with our son, just turned four. I've actually said out loud two different times that I thought the decision to have children was the worst decision I'd ever made - I actually said this! I LOVE my children, and everything about being a parent! But man, is it ever tough with an unhappy four-year-old around. They can seriously make every moment feel pretty hellish.
My son has taken to screaming, "NO!" in this creepy, devilish voice. Punching us. Hard. Punching his one-year-old sister. Grabbing her hands and feet and squeezing them as hard as he can. Mocking back to us every thing we say. Screaming as loud as he can every time she enters the room. (Yes, every single time - she just learned to walk.) Running away from us. Just in general being absolutely intolerable to be around.
Near as I can tell, it's based on this rule: If a child feels right, he will act right. With a heavy dose of I miss my mama.
Feeling right, physically: My son has a dairy intolerance that, as an infant, caused acne. As a toddler it caused tummy aches. Once he turned three, it caused horrible, violent behavior. I now believe he cannot even ingest a hint of it, and that he's also intolerant of corn (including corn syrup). Each ingestion causes four days of non-fun.
Feeling right also includes, for us, a routine. Even weekends are rough for him. Also included are bowel movements, sleep, and just plain ol' eating enough. Keeping his blood sugar level ... level ... is key.
And yes, he misses his time with me. Before his sister arrived it was just the two of us. Now the baby is here, and my husband now works from home. DS rarely has a moment alone with me. His days go so much better when I am the one to put him to sleep, and if he has just a few seconds alone with me when he awakes.
I tell you all of this to say: Yesterday and today were relatively good for us, and it all involved work. A lot of work. I have to stay three steps ahead of him, all day long. A couple times I failed: When I found him hitting his sister in the face repetitively, I looked at the clock and realized he ate breakfast 2 hrs prior. Convinced him to eat waffles and maple syrup, and he was back to his old self. In the afternoon, he raised his fist to hit me. I realized he needed time alone with me and a book, which fixed him right up. But otherwise, he was just a sweetheart. A lot of it was my reaction. Instead of getting upset when he slammed the door, raised that fist, snarled his lip, I just ignored it and excitedly changed the subject, picked him up and hugged him, etc.
We talk a lot about what he can do when he feels angry, what do to with that hand when he feels it turn into a fist. He has yet to pick me up on my suggestions (hit a pillow, take a deep breath and blow into his thumb to open those fingers) or suggest anything of his own, but at least he knows I understand what anger is, that it's okay, and that it has to get out, somehow.
We just went on vacation, where he spent many hours with my husband, who only reacts by sternly saying, "Stop. You may not hit. People are not for hitting." Which is exactly what all the books say, but only makes my son hit harder. The only things that works with DS is to ignore it and fix the underlying cause. For us, it's more mama time, more food, more sleep, more routine, less Papa. This last part sounds horrible, but at least for now it is true. DH knows his reactions (such as quite dramatically pulling the car over and pulling DS out and to the side of the road to "talk to him" after he repeatedly screams and kicks DH's seat) do not help at all, but DH cannot get himself to act differently.
Anyhow. It will get better! You will figure it out! Again, sending hugs. It is *not* easy!