I have no idea how things got this bad.
My oldest daughter just turned four and since her sister was born 4 months ago, she's been terrible to live with---to the point I've been considering getting a job just so I don't have to be around her (and I feel TERRIBLE for feeling this way). She's usually fine. She adores her sister and doesn't show any aggression or anger toward her, but if I am unable to meet her needs instantly WATCH OUT. It is much, much worse when my husband is working out of town and I am alone. He's been gone for three days and I've been in tears for the past two.
This morning she was in the bath and her sister was asleep. Baby woke up (she had leaked through her diaper) and I went to change her and try to get her back to sleep. My oldest started screaming and wailing because she wanted me to sit in the bathroom with her while she took at bath. Note I NEVER do this. I haven't done that since she was old enough to play unsupervised in the tub. It has been YEARS since I sat in the bathroom the whole time while she bathes. I will check on her while she bathes. I will help her wash her hair, but I do not sit in the bathroom for an hour while she plays. I explained to her that I was breastfeeding her sister and when I was finished I would be happy to come and help her wash her hair. (The baby monitor was in the bathroom from earlier so we could hear each other). She continued to wail and cry----I continued to calmly reassure her that would be there shortly. This continued to the point of her walking into my bedroom, dripping with water----and screaming and crying from beside the bed where I was trying to nurse.
Now, I have a screaming wet child and a baby who is WIDE AWAKE.
I decided to try another path because being calm and reassuring her wasn't working. I asked her what she wanted me to do. She replied with the same answer, she wanted me to stop breastfeeding and come and wash her hair. I explained that I could not do that, because I was breastfeeding. This same song and dance continued. Me asking her to try and calm down (something we've been working on because of situations just like this one). Me growing more and more upset and frustrated because I have a crying baby who is tired and can't sleep because of her older sister. I threatened to take away her favorite toy---this doesn't ever work. I threatened to take away a trip we are supposed to go on for her birthday----this doesn't work either. I don't spank----because it doesn't work.
This continues for an hour (sometimes it lasts three hours).
I blow dry my hair---she's laying in the hallway, wrapped in a towel, crying and crying. Saying she's cold. I ask her to go to her room and pick out an outfit and I'll help her put it on...she just cries.
I tell her that she's in control of her own emotions and her own body and if she wants to not be cold all she has to do is pick out some clothes. Nothing.
At this point I'm about to break down into tears. It's been over an hour and my body is stressed and I'm feeling like I'm going to snap.
I tell her I'm walking to the mailbox and when I come back I want her to be in her room, calming her body down.
I go to the mailbox and walk around the yard, I sit on the swing outside on the porch. I'm gone for about 5-7 minutes.
She's still inside the house screaming and crying.
I don't know what to do. I've tried everything with her. She works herself up into such a HUGE fit of anger that it's almost like she can't calm down unless she explodes first. I'm scared and terrified of living the rest of my life like this. My mother went through the same thing with my sister and still does on occasion. I am worried about my other daughter, because I don't want her growing up like I did in a home with such anger and everyone walking on eggshells. We do not ignore her. I spend most of my time with her when I can. We do not have a television, so I am involved with her all day long. I involve her with helping with her sister, she helps me do chores, she helps me clean the house, we bake together. Recently I've been doing some homeschooling with her and we spend 30-45 minutes every day (while the baby sleeps) doing this. My husband when he gets home from work spends the entire time with just her! She is very, VERY intelligent---which makes it more upsetting that she can't understand simple explanations when she's upset. "when you are calm, then we can play."
I'm at my wits end.
What am I doing wrong?! What am I missing here?