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My Challenge, My Love - Page 2

post #21 of 913
Boy- I was a little bit worried about that last post, I felt like I was speaking pretty strongly but you have been so wonderfully open and receptive that I feel like you do want to hear what piece I can offer. So- about over parenting... Think of it this way- some where in the universe when you and Bear make the spiritiual decision to join your souls, you knew that you each had exactly what the other needed to learn. You made a pact to do this together, to learn from each other, lessons that there were no other ways to learn. So you came to this place, wher you would be his momma and he would be your challenge but you kind of forgot that you both picked each other and that you were here to work through some tough stuff.

So- stop worrying about "making" him be anything. He is perfect and you are perfect. There is only walking through the rest of the story. There is this wonderful journey and you both have a lot to learn but not in the way you think of learning, not in books or in lessons but fully with your heart. Just be brave. Just love and honestly it really will be just fine. You just have to get to the end of the story.

One thing when you are feeling threatened might be to sit on the floor, all the way on your butt and just put yourself at his level... I don't know. I know that Bear is here to heal you and you must be making it really a tough job...get out of his way and let him do his magic. You both deserve that.
post #22 of 913
Thread Starter 
Maureen-I am crying. That's all I have to say right now. Thank you.
post #23 of 913
This MDC world is so weird. I clicked off the computer last night knowing that you were going to get the message and praying that you "got it". I feel how powerfully you love your child. I think so many of the mommas here can feel that in your words. How can so much love ever be a bad thing? The thing I think that is missing in so many parenting books and philosphies is that parenting is such a intense spiritual relationship. I have enormous faith that you are on the right path... across the web and across the country, that keeps coming through.
post #24 of 913
One of my children also hated to leave the house. Just not a transition person. It was awful as I recall. 3 other children ready to rock and this one wee one sitting on the floor just being miserable. Because of the needs of the other, I often did have to scoop dc up in my arms and just bring them along, saying as many soothing words as i could. I also did try to make other arragements for this one-- ad friend over to watch, or have someone else take the others to their appotintments etc. It lasted a good 2 years and was hard on all of us. This is the same little child who would cry and meltdown because they could not decide whether they wanted a popscicle or an italian ice from the ice cream truck at the beach. It was very sad and very diffocult.

It's not like that anymore, thank god. But it was terrible while it lasted.
post #25 of 913

I've been following your threads for sometime now and I finally just had to post to offer some support. I'm a yeller. A frequent yeller. I actually found MDC by accident one day last year when I was at the end of my rope (again) with my spirited son.- I should add here that my spirited son is a twin to my highly sensitive son. (complicated parenting, anyone? ). So anyway, my boys are now 5 1/2. When Cole (challenging son) was 3, I thought for sure neither he nor I would ever see age 5.

I think I was taking in all this energy from people that had placed unspoken expectations on us and it was making me crazy. In the end, I've really had to just relax and let him be himself. I cannot make him conform to any particular standard. If nothing else, he's teaching me patience one baby step at a time. The days of me wanting to throw myself in traffic come fewer and fewer now. :LOL
post #26 of 913
Oh Bears, I've been without a computer for months now and I have missed you so much. This thread is so important. I am right there with you on so many things. You know that you are an amazing mama and have survived an incredible amount with Bear.

I swear he and TEAK have so much in common. She woke up screaming in the middle of the night insisting that we were not in a house and that she is not a girl and that the sky is never blue. This happens sometimes just in the middle of everything; she'll proclaim that there is no couch and get hysterical about it. It can be so hard. I finally have a strategy that sort of helps. If she is NOT a girl today, I ask her if she is something powerful like the king of the goblins from one of her books. Or, if she has no eyes, then we become cave fish (this one happens when she has had too much stimulus). But, I dream of not having to worry about random hysteria all the time.

Anyway, baby is starting to cling to my leg, but I wanted you to know that all of this really resonates with me and I'm thinking about you.

post #27 of 913
I feel how powerfully you love your child. I think so many of the mommas here can feel that in your words. How can so much love ever be a bad thing?

I could never have said it better. As I've said before, Bears is one lucky boy to have you as a mama. I think you put more thought and effort into one day with him than a lot of children get their entire childhoods.

It has often seemed to me that you hold yourself up to this gold standard of parenting that doesn't even really exist. No one is perfect and I would venture to say that you and Bears have a deeper and closer relationship in most ways than parents of 'easy' children have with their children. Sometimes I think the struggles and hardships we face with high-needs children bond us closer to them.

Anyway, just my ramblings on a Wed afternoon.

(((hugs))) to you...
post #28 of 913
Thread Starter 
Oh, ladies, Hi and thank you.

egrl-Thanks for your reply. I am finally realizing that DS is teaching me things that I just have to open myself up to. And patience is #1. And I have a feeling that it will be a lifelong process. Patience and acceptance. And those two things I really need for ME before I can ever truly give it to DS.

UU-Yes, DS has big trouble leaving the house. But we all go stir crazy if we're inside for too long without going somewhere. Maybe a day is fine, but by the end of day 2, we're ready to go somewhere. DS starts acting like a caged animal. And I get very cagey very quickly. I'm sorry it lasted so long for you. And I'm encouraged to know that it's over know and is hopefully a distant memory.

TEAK's & TLO-My old friends! Thank you both, as always for your support. TEAK'S-I'm amazed that TEAK and Bear are so similar. And even more amazed that there are OTHERS here with more children like ours-and struggling mamas. I really like what maureen has said. That we haven't gotten "to the end of the story yet". It's so hard b/c we don't have a crystal ball. And since birth I've said to DH that I would LOVE to have one so I could see DS at 18, 25, 30-whatever age-and make sure that he will be okay. And it's just not that simple ever, obviously. We're very familiar with random hysteria over here. I find that if I ever even remotely change my tone or start raising my voice when he is flippin over something just makes things 100x worse. It's such a delicate balance and dance.

TLO-Thank you. I really appreciate your words. I do feel that I think about the impact of my parenting a lot. Probably too much. In fact, don't they say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions? I'm hoping my *thinking* is not just intentions all the time, and I try to put a lot into practice, but sometimes, I'm off the mark. Okay, a lot of the time.
On the better days I can absolutely relate to feeling closer or potentially having a stronger relationship with Bear B/C of these struggles. On the bad days, however, I long for other people's relationships with their easy kids.

I am rambling a bit tonight as it's getting late. Today and yesterday have been much better days. It's almost like something has "lifted" from DS. Weird. More when I can.
post #29 of 913
Thread Starter 
Knock, Knock, Guess who???

Oh, Maureen, are you in the house tonight?

Bears has major issues with allowing us to take care of his basic hygiene. Tooth brushing, hair washing, bathing, hand washing before dinner, YOU NAME IT. I know with some other issues, his behavior has improved when we've stopped making it an issue. But how can we stop making his hygiene an issue? We've given up so much in terms of trying to parent him. We don't micromanage, really, we don't. But are we supposed to give up this basic stuff, too? Won't his teeth fall out? (BTW, these things have been issues of his for most of his life, and none of it has actually gotten better).

DH bathes the kids most nights, and tonight DH was with him for about 30 minutes. And when I went upstairs, he whispered to me, "I can't parent him". Which is something I've said to DH many, many times.

I just don't know what I'm supposed to let go of when we've already let go of so much. I am trying to be patient and as loving as humanly possible. But it still sucks most days. I just want to know that we're all going to get through this.
post #30 of 913
Yep- I am here... we are on the same wave length.

I will admit the horrible truth... Joey hasn't had a bath in weeks, nor a shampoo. When he got his hair cut this past week, the stylist said she really suggests shampooing every day. I smiled and nodded. No way was I going to tell her that I never wash his hair.

I use violence to get hands and face and butt clean. Well, not violence but sometimes I just grab him and do it fast.

The tooth thing we have been more successful with. He went to the dentist who told him how beautiful his teeth were and got him to promise to brush daily. He won't do much for me, but for her... anything. So now I brush while he sits on the potty (we are way behind on potty training too!) and I sing the abc's (which is too short but about all we can handle.) When he bites down or I can't brush, I stop singing so it takes as long as it takes.

So- maybe the reason I am a low stress momma is I really do chose no battles. I figure he will grow out of all of these weird things... but I do want him to still have teeth when he outgrows them. Picking my battles means mostly I have to feel it is something that has a lifelong impact. Shampoo not, toothpaste, yes.

Keep on hanging in there, he is growing daily... and so are you.
post #31 of 913
Thread Starter 
What are we, cyber sisters? Thanks, Maureen.

Okay, maybe we *thought* we had given everything up and we haven't. We do sort of make it a priority for him to take a bath and get his hair washed. Primarily b/c we co-sleep (oh, we've encouraged him to sleep in his own bed, but do I have to tell you how that goes?). I read some of your words to DH tonight, and although he agrees, he is in such a funk tonight b/c of DS that he thinks nothing will help. THANK GOD I have a partner to do this with. B/c on the nights when he's had it, I can offer a tiny, smidgeon of hope. And vice versa.

It's so hard to give things up and really, really mean that it doesn't bother me. I've given up sooooo much in terms of what I thought I could do as a parent, so much of what I thought he can do on a daily basis. That thinking about giving up more, well, I start to take it personally. And I know that's one of the number one things NOT TO DO. You know, if your kid has a tantrum, you sort of have to remove yourself from it and try desperately to not take it personally. Well, with our DS it's so hard to detach.

Anyway, I'm going to try to give up our bathtime battles and see what happens. Let go, let go, let go. That needs to be my mantra.

Oh, have I mentioned that he starts preschool in 2 weeks?
post #32 of 913
Thank you so much for this powerful thread.

Someone receintly said to me that they cant remember the last time they got angry. That blew me away. I cant even count how many times I get angry in one day.

This thread has so much powerful food for thought. I am reminded of a time last year when I came to the realisation that my anger was the direct result of my fear. I started asking myself one question when I felt like yelling and lashing out at one of my children; "What am I afraid of"

For me, I have an overwhelming fear of raising unhappy, un-adjusted children who fail in life. If they fail it means I have failed. When one ds is aggressive twords the other, I fear to raise a bully. When I ask ds to help and he angrly refuses, I fear raising a selfish uncaring adult. When my children become angry, I fear their anger, fear they will become angry adults.

This is also all about my collective memory. One instance would never cause me worry. But years worth of fears realy adds up.

MsMoMpls, thank you for your beautiful posts. I know that when I can embrace that my children and I chose each other. That we are suppose to be together for all of us to grow and learn. During these times I can trust that the children I am blessed to call my own will grow, slowly, into the adults they are ment to be. We are walking a path together. I must let go of my fear. My family will be better off if I love and trust who they are right at this moment.

Thank you for this gently reminder.
post #33 of 913
Thread Starter 
Mich-Thanks so much for your reply and wonderful words. What honest, great mamas we have here at MDC. And Maureen's words have been such a help to me in dealing with my challenging DS-I can't even tell you. Keep reading her words and maybe we'll both be in a better place on a daily basis.
post #34 of 913
To all mommas- Bearsmomma knows this but I want you all to hear, I know some stuff but believe me, I didn't learn it in grad school. I learned it from Nate. I learned the hard way, the way you are all learning and boy are Joey and Zach lucky for that.

People who really know that their child is different will understand. Nate was horrible!!!! He was insane... really. His anger and anxiety and self hate were so bad that he was hospitalized multiple times and on meds for years... and he is wonderful now. He just grew out of it. I have no other explaination. He just grew. And while he grew I did all I could. A lot of yelling, some threats, a lot of frustration and pain for both of us. I regret yelling, I regret threats, I regret many of the decisions I made and the blow ups that happened but I do not regret just hanging in there and loving him as much as I could every day. That is the only thing that mattered and the only thing that lasted. He holds no grudges and neither do I. We lived through it and love each other enormously today.

I've told Bearsmomma that if I could give her one magic gift it would be to meet the adult Bear. I wish you all could. But you don't get to read the end of the story, you just have to get there. If there is anything I can do to help, I owe it to all the mommas who kept me sane through my journey.
post #35 of 913
Thank you, Maureen, I have enjoyed reading your words so much. Bearsmama and I have said many times that we wished we had crystal balls and could see our challenging sons as adults and know they turned out OK. It is reassuring to know that your son did just that!

And Bearsmama, please forgive me if I've suggested this before, but I sometimes wonder from what you write if Bears might not have SID. I know all kids his age are prone to disliking hygiene from time to time, but it sounds like Bear dislikes it every time and to the enth degree. I have done a lot of reading on SID because for a time my dh and I thought that our own ds might have it (and sometimes I still think he may have a mild case, but knock on wood he seems to be outgrowing a lot of the things that gave us concern). Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there. And I know, like me, you hate the thoughts of labeling or diagnoses, but if treatment could help, even just a little...
post #36 of 913
Originally Posted by The Lucky One
And Bearsmama, please forgive me if I've suggested this before, but I sometimes wonder from what you write if Bears might not have SID.

Oh, good point... they actually didn't have this when Nate was little... boy am I old, but one of the earliest signs he was "different" was that he hated the tags on his clothes, hated the seam on his socks and hated how loud the toilets flushed at the mall. Funny thing is that now he goes to raves but can't go to the mall... too intense. I try to remember that with Joey who seems to love the mall but only for 30 minutes or so.
post #37 of 913
Hi Bearsmama! I have been away on one last glorious vacation before my sweet, challenging baby starts kindergarten tomorrow after having grown up way too fast!

Way back on this thread you asked
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Do you mind me asking if the decision to have a third was more difficult for you b/c you have a challenging child??? Or is the third the challenging one?
I don't mind at all! The decision to have a third child was not at all difficult, partly because I always knew I would have 3 kids and partly because our challenging child is our firstborn. Dh and I have said that if our first had been easy-going and our second had been challenging like dd1 we would've probably stopped at two, because we would've been so shocked at how difficult parenting can really be. But since our very spirited and challenging dd was our first, we didn't know better. We thought all kids were like her and I thought the reason it was so hard because I sucked as a mother. I didn't actually think it was all that hard until she was about 2 1/2 or so, and our second was crawling and showing his easy-going nature-that's when it started getting really rough, and still it was after that we decided to have a third. That's when it got tough and I started questioning my ability to parent and thought she'd be better off with someone else as her mother. Our third child is somewhere in between easy and challenging so far-she is not quite 2.

I have read mountains of parenting books. I have read mountains of information on SID and various other possible disorders while stopping shy-on instinct-of having dd1 evaluated by professionals. I have blamed myself, blamed her, blamed food, and blamed an unnamed "disorder" that must exist within her for all the difficulties we've faced. I have blamed my childhood, I have blamed it all on a lack of "goodness of fit" between myself and my daughter.

What I see today? I see that there is nothing to blame. She is who she is and I am who I am. I have unrealistic expectations at times, and she is sometimes unable to contain her emotions. We are both strong-willed and like to be right and get our way. I get a little too caught up sometimes in what I want or what I feel, and fail to see that she's doing something inappropriate/annoying because she's upset about something else entirely and just really needs a hug and to talk. In other words I am merely human and so is she. On the eve of her going to kindergarten I am really grieving the time I've missed while I worried so much and tried to make both myself and her perfect. All those struggles, those frustrations, the fighting with her. If only I had just relaxed a little, trusted her, trusted me, not allowed myself to get so caught up in believing her behavior is a complete and accurate reflection of the good-ness or bad-ness of my mothering. While she is by no means grown up, she's not really little anymore either and she never will be again and I really do have some regrets. But she is beautiful. I have lots of good memories and look forward to making more good ones. We have arrived at a point in time where she is helpful, mostly cooperative, able to talk about her feelings even if only to say "I don't know how to say it, but I feel bad". I can see now so clearly how some of the things she does that I've found so challenging are such great assets for her and will continue to be as she grows. I have learned by now how to help her calm down and how to communicate with her better. She has grown and I have grown.

I could go on and on because I'm feeling really sentimental today The bottom line is that I have learned to put down the books, to stop trying to be a perfect parent, and to stop expecting that being a good enough parent will result in my children being any different than they already are. I have learned that my ideas of how things should be bring a lot of trouble, whereas accepting how things are helps me be a more calm and compassionate parent. I won't find the answers in a book or in an evaluation of my child (that is a statement about me and my child, not anyone else) or in the suggestions my therapist has. The answers are all right here, within myself and within my children. All I have to do is listen, even if sometimes it's really hard to hear the answers. We still have bad days, I still yell sometimes, but not nearly as much as I used to. We have more good days than bad, many more. And most important of all, my dd is just fine. She is happy, she is brave, she is confident, she says she loves herself. She is giving and loving, she loves her brother and sister. She trusts us and she knows we love her. She is smart, she is creative, and I do really trust that she is strong and will keep thriving.

You and Bear will be fine, I really believe that. You love him so very much and you try so hard. Isn't that all any parent can do? Isn't that everything a parent can do? He will grow and you will grow and someday you will look back on this as a distant memory. You will remember as many good times as bad, probably more good times.

On a practical note, some things that helped us cope during the toughest times were:
-no processed or artificially colored foods
-very little sugar
-no soy
-massages (for dd, though going for a massage myself was helpful at times and I'd highly recommend a massage for any mom)
-brushing dd's skin with a soft nail brush. She hates tags, has trouble with how socks and underwear feel, can't wear 3/4 sleeves, and other sensory stuff. We always knew massages were relaxing and decided to try brushing after reading some stuff on SID. Made up our own brusing routine, and she loved it-if nothing else it relaxed her and gave us time to be at peace with each other.
-baths and showers for relaxation only (no washing-we wash as needed but kids can shower/bathe to relax daily or even twice daily if they need it)
-a weighted blanket to lay under when she was really having trouble with her clothes
-reducing stress as much as possible: predictable routines, frequent snacks (she didn't always seem to either know or be able to communicate when she was hungry), plenty of sleep, plenty of touching/hugging/playing
-messy activities
-plenty of excercise
-school. Things got easier in many ways when she started preschool. This is also a big part of the reason she's going to kindergarten. Homeschooling is my ideal, but I just don't see it working for us right now. Dd enjoys having her "own" place and a change of scenery/activities/people, I need a break from the intensity. There are other reasons also, but these two were biggies. Preschool may be a great blessing to you once he's settled in.
post #38 of 913
Ahhhh. I could have written your post! I don't much time to answer right now, but I'll come back to this thread. My dd is 3.3 yrs and is the biggest challenge of my life!
post #39 of 913
Thread Starter 
Maureen-Once again, thank you for your beautiful, honest words.

TLO-Thanks for your reply. And the reminder on the SID. I've thought of everything with DS-ADHD, SID, diet stuff, etc., etc. I DO think that he has some of the aspects of this. He is extremely sensitive to bathing, especially getting his face washed. He won't wear certain clothes, shoes. Doesn't like the seams in socks, etc. He's definitely "spirited" and perhaps something else. But I don't know what that "something else" is. And maybe I never will. I will certainly keep this in mind as he grows to see if anything lessens with time.

And sledg-What can I say? Your words, like Maureen's, have helped me soooooo much in the past AND again today as I read your reply below. There is so much in your post that I'd like to reply to that I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I will say, however, that your bits of advice on what's worked for you and your DD is incredibly helpful. Much of which, on the good days, I'm paying real close attention to. I will pick out one of the elements of your post that stuck out to me tonight. I, too, am sort of grieving this past year. I see other people with their kids-their easy kids. And I think about all the good times they've probably had this year (clearly this is just an assumption on my part). And honestly, it's hard for me to easily pick out the really good times of this past year. It's been the hardest year of my life. I think with these very special, challenging kids the good times are really just the tiny moments when things seem easy, when the stars seem aligned to allow things to just FLOW. And flowing isn't something that happens around here. At least not much. I've said before (and I think at the beginning of this thread) that I feel that this past year has been LOST. Just lost. So many mistakes, so many challenges, so many ugly moments that probably could have been avoided. All I can ever say is that I'm trying every day and I'll never give up on my boy-even during the hardest times. And b/c of all these mamas, especially Maureen and you, sledg, I have faith and hope that the adult Bears and the older Bearsmama will both be okay.
post #40 of 913
Thread Starter 
Oh, crafty-I'm glad this is helpful to you!
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