My Challenge, My Love - Page 27 - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-14-2006, 01:27 AM
 
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Maureen~
I was just coming on to respond to your initial post.
Much love to you all.
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Old 09-14-2006, 04:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bearsmama
This might be a little OT right now, but do you think that besides the fact that a child like Bears could make a saint want to tear her hair out, and besides the fact that I could be operating during these hard times under these shadow-y, childhood issues, Do you think it's possible to just have a post-traumatic response to these issues due to recent emotional trauma involving said child? Okay, admittedly, that was a ramble. And a big run-on sentence. But DH and I were just talking about horrible Bear's babyhood was. He was horribly colicky. No one believed me until they saw it. DH and I say even now that it's amazing that we all survived (it was nearly a year before I was about to get three consecutive hours of sleep, for example, and two years until Bear slept longer stretches). I almost feel that some of my anger during these storms (at least a piece of the puzzle of my sometimes disporportionate anger), is this sense of never being able to recover from the shear TRAUMA of delivering Bears (also horrible-involving a bad labor and birth as well as Bears having a health scare at birth). We've never been able to catch our breath (I say we b/c my DH who doesn't have as many childhood issues as I do, and whose responses are usually more clear-cut, feels very similarly about all this). We've never been able to get back to anything that more resembles our old personal space (extended nursing and bed-sharing, for ex). Anyway. This is a brain dump here. But we've never had a moment to recover at all from any of the challenges Bears has thrown at us. Could much of this anger stuff stem from more recent traumatic events-like birth-recovery from birth, colikcy child, literally no sleep, challenging toddler, challenging child?
I lurk in this thread every so often. I should probably keep up, but in my off time I like to escape and not read about what stresses me.

Anyway, I can so relate to much of what you wrote. Dd was Colicky with a capital C, was a challenging baby and I wasn't regularly getting more than 2 hrs of sleep in a row until she was 2 years old.

I definitely had a form of PTSD from her infancy. It wasn't until sometime in the last few months that I could hold a little baby and not feel terrorized. Holding a baby made all of these feelings WHOOSH back in.

I do think some of my difficulty with dd's aggressive behavior is my own baggage - I have a VERY hard time with the feeling of being phsyically assaulted, and even at the hands of a little kid I feel violated and horrible when I'm being attacked.

I think both factors are at play for me - the cumulative stress of a really unpleasant pregnancy, a barely survivable first year, and a grit-your-teeth toddlerhood as well as pre-existing issues of mine.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:02 AM
 
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So, yesterday afternoon my daughter short-circuited in front of the inlaws. First episode of its kind outside of our home. First full-blown meltdown in front of anyone but dh or me (aside from a couple when she was a toddler). There was no consoling her, no reasoning with her, no problem-solving. She wouldn't have any of that. All this over the fact that it was time to leave. I did all the right things, we had a plan before we got there. I allowed for extra time, gave plenty of warnings, she asked for "one more time" of hide and seek and that became 3 more times because she didn't hide right the first two and I figured no big deal I'll work with her. But in the end it was a disaster, and for lack of anything else that could help I ended up carrying her screaming to the car. That's when she threw, onto the rain-soaked ground, the beautiful doll MIL had just given her. I had to have mil and fil bring the other kids and our stuff outside.

You can imagine, I'm sure, the look on mil's and fil's faces. And then, of course, the phone call that came later. What happened? Does she do that often? Do you ever just give in? (what do you mean?) Do you ever just let her have one more time? Would that help? (um, HELLO!!!!!???? Yes, I do. I let her have one more time *three times* tonight, but that doesn't help. She'll keep asking for one more time.) I should add that mil does all this in a *completely freaked out* tone, because she has huge anxiety issues, and this freaked-outness does not help, now I have to reassure mil and frankly *I want someone to reassure me* thank you.

It was only a matter of time. It's always difficult leaving no matter how we problem-solve or make plans with dd ahead of time. No matter that we handle it in all the ways one is supposed to help kids transition. And much as I would love to stay until she's ready to go, we can't do that every time. And that is as much mil's and fil's choice as it is mine. So I'm left with no solution, beyond just not going over there anymore, and that just isn't right for any of us. Oh, and having them come here is no answer, because she has trouble when they go home from our house too.


I just would like one easy day. One day where every interaction is easy. I'm tired of trying to figure it out, what causes her to be unable to cope, what stresses I can alleviate, how to parent her. I'm tired of bending my imagination in a thousand directions to accomodate her issues. I'm tired of all this happening. I'm tired of everyone else suffering because of her demands, her moods, her inability to cope with anything remotely resembling adversity. I'm just tired.

Oh well. Just venting. It's another day and at least this one started out pleasant.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:29 AM
 
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First episode of its kind outside of our home.
Sledg,

Well, I'll just send some empathy. This happens to us periodically too, not sure that helps. But, it sounds very hard for you to tolerate at the moment. Could you benefit from some self-care and connecting with what you wish it would be and mourn how it isn't the ease you want? Do you just want the end of a mentally weary and long day to NOT have one more challenge, one more 'yes, but', one more 'I'm not ready', one more 'I don't want to'.........and just get in the damn car already?!?!


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Old 09-15-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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yes.

Thank you.
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:38 PM
 
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Well, as expected mil called dh at work today. She's all freaked out about dd. (It was an amazing tantrum, I seriously doubt that the majority of kids who are about to turn 7 years old have tantrums like this-and she's had 3 this week. Though recently I've seen her have worse than yesterday's scene.) So mil is all "There isn't enough discipline." Yeah, that's it. : : Then "well, is she being molested?" and so on.

MILs. : This is why I never talk to her about this stuff, though clearly not talking about it with her was a mistake because she was so shocked. She'll probably call her psychiatrist now and talk about us with him like she did when she saw dd masturbating as a little toddler. MIL needs to get a grip. (ETA that I know mil is worried about her granddaughter, I know. You'd have to know her to get why I'm irritated with her. But I sympathize with her too, I know it's hard to see a child you love freaking out like that and you want someone or something to blame or identify as a cause so it can be fixed.)
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Old 09-15-2006, 04:36 PM
 
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Do you ever just give in? (what do you mean?) Do you ever just let her have one more time? Would that help?
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So mil is all "There isn't enough discipline."
You are set up for being told "see I told you so...", one way or the other.

Glad she is so much help. :


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This is why I never talk to her about this stuff, though clearly not talking about it with her was a mistake because she was so shocked.
Against my advice. You will open yourself up to being undermined, imo. Armchair quarterback/MIL won't help anyone remain sane. Trust me on this one.

Do not own MIL feelings. She is shocked. Wow. Won't be the last time. We can not control our children. Any MIL who hasn't yet figured THAT out isn't one you want trying to control you and dh.

I'd thank her for her concern, help her to understand that dd has a hard time with transitioning from such fun to less fun. Has just started back to school where a lot of her life is scheduled, directed and it is HARD to leave grandma's fun house. She'll feel great, understand dd's perspective more and you'll gain brownie points for your compassionate and knowing response about your daughter's needs.

It'll be ok if MIL tells the psychiatrist that you all don't know what you are doing. ALL psychiatrists hear that from grandparents about their children.

Pat,

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Old 09-15-2006, 06:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scubamama
You are set up for being told "see I told you so...", one way or the other.
Yep. Sweet as she is (and she really is, that's not sarcasm), she sends all sorts of mixed messages so that she can always criticize. She'll say not enough discipline, even though the day before she criticizes us for too much discipline. Usually we don't get criticized (not to our faces, anyway), but when we do it's always a double-edged sword. So yes, talking to her to do anything other than reassure her is bad news. She takes a lot of things wrong, panics, leaps to the worst possible conclusion, doesn't really listen, doesn't understand what we're saying half the time, makes dire predictions, sends mixed messages.

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Originally Posted by scubamama
Do not own MIL feelings.
I don't own her feelings. I just get tired of her dramatics. And of her butting in. Fortunately, we are usually able to do a pretty good job of "we understand your concern, we're handling it, dd/ds/dd2 has a hard time with.....this is what they need, and it won't last forever." I let her know how much research I do, how informed I am, and am not afraid to quote experts at her. She responds well to that. And I always do her the courtesy of listening to her concerns/advice politely, which satisfies her too. Mostly she thinks I'm a wonderful mother. Which is good, makes my life easier. I know what happens when she thinks a dil is not a good mother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
It'll be ok if MIL tells the psychiatrist that you all don't know what you are doing. ALL psychiatrists hear that from grandparents about their children.
I'm sure they all hear it from all the grandparents! It doesn't bother me that her psychiatrist hears about it, that was really a comment about her level of hysteria which drives her to talk about these things with him. She really freaks out.

I just feel to tired to deal with her hysteria. Dh and I often feel like the only adults when we're dealing with his folks, and we don't have the energy or desire to parent them too right now. It's all panic-control with them, and I think right now we'd both like some support. I love them dearly, but sometimes they're just too much.

Thanks, Pat.
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Old 09-15-2006, 07:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sledg

I just feel to tired to deal with her hysteria. Dh and I often feel like the only adults when we're dealing with his folks, and we don't have the energy or desire to parent them too right now. It's all panic-control with them, and I think right now we'd both like some support. I love them dearly, but sometimes they're just too much.

Thanks, Pat.
Have you heard of my special recipe for "Mother's Tea"? See, you make up this "special tea" with RESCUE REMEDY in it and you ask everyone if they would like to try this old secret recipe that you received from a friend. Everyone will love it! And you'll actually have received their consent. :

Seriously, it was invented for just this type of 'sharing'.

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Old 09-17-2006, 02:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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sledg-Many, many, I would love for you to have an easy day. I think you deserve one (maybe even two! Gasp!). And I second scuba's suggestion of Rescue Remedy tea. But I'll tell ya, I think sledg needs a little something stronger right now

It's late, and bed is calling, but sledg, I think you're doing all that you can. And it's still so damn hard. I also wanted to tell you that I understand. I really do. I get it. I understand much of the IL stuff you mentioned and although Bears is only 4.6, we wonder how long this craziness will go on. I'm just sorry that you had such a lousy experience today and that your dd is going through such an awful time.

More soon...

Oh, and Dechen-Thanks for joining us here. And I'm sorry you had such a rough time during your DC's infancy. It really did shape a lot of my interactions with Bears for a long time. I'm really thinking that a colicky infant (no matter how long it lasts, really) can adversely affect so much. And now perhaps we're realizing that even years later we haven't gotten over that trauma.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

Just posting for some moral support tonight. We have some good days with Bears and somehow feel that maybe he's mellowing out, getting better, learning to talk about his feelings, etc. Then, there are times like tonight, when he seems to resort to these old behaviors, almost out of habit (like so many other things we talk about on this thread). Tonight, our dinner started with me placing plates in front of the kids at the table and going back into the kitchen, where I can't immediatley see them, for a few moments to finish cooking the rest of the meal. My DH walks back into the dining room and sees my older son fling sourcream and pierogies across the room. Of course, my little one then does the same thing. Food on the windowsills, in the plant pots, etc. This puts DH over the edge. Shouldn't we be able to have 15 minutes of calm, good 'behavior', etc., at dinner, we ask? Of course, we know the answer to that.

Well, then Bears decides to leave the table. If he asks me to leave the table while eating, he can if he's done. But the up and down, wandering around, and then purposely spoiling the rest of our meal is what gets to me. He starts shooting rubberbands, pointing them at my face. 10 minutes later, after we're clearing plates, he starts flipping out, "Where's my meal?". We thought you were done (he had two pieces of the meal left on his plate). He then goes into grand-mal tantrum mode. Screaming, crying, hitting. The first hit was sort of a tap at my arm. I said to him, "I'm going to pretend that you didn't do that. Can I get you something else to eat, a piece of fruit, etc?" I wanted to make sure it wasn't about really being hungry. Anyway, then he comes at me from across the room with an open palm and slaps me HARD in the face. I grab him (gently, actually),and sort of scoop him up in my arms and carry him to his bedroom. I close the door behind me and he proceeds to trash his room, books everywhere, etc.

So anyway, we tried to just let him calm down, but he's like a predator sometimes, stalking us. I try to give him a hug, tell him I can hold him, he decides to kick at me. I tell him, I'm sorry you're having a hard time, but I don't like being hurt.

Anyway, it just gets so crazy here with him. Sometimes I get these glimmers of a maturing Bears, a happier Bears. We had loads of mommy and Bears time today, even more than usual. So, I can't even see a pattern. I just want to see a pattern sometime. Man.

Thanks for listening, mamas.

And Pat, I think my Bach's Holly is what got me through tonight's tantrum without completely losing my mind.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:06 PM
 
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And Pat, I think my Bach's Holly is what got me through tonight's tantrum without completely losing my mind.
Oh mama, that is not strong enough. Here is some brandy. I totally do not know how you kept your cool with being hit in the face. I'd have lost it. I am trying to get there. But, damn, being physically assaulted is my trigger. I am trying to see beyond the behavior. I just have for now.


I am sorry you all are experiencing such anger tonight.

The only thing that I find a pattern about is food intolerances. Check into nutritional supplements too. There is a product called Natural Calm. It has magnesium. It really is critical and often deficient and related to our ability to cope with stress.

You can give Bears some Cherry Plum in juice, milk or water and it'll help him be more rational and in control of himself. (you know I hate dairy, the bane of our health, don't you?)



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Old 09-26-2006, 12:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Scuba-Well, I didn't say I I handled things perfectly, but I didn't go on a tirade, and I didn't say much that I regret. Which are two of my usual M.O.s. I did angrily tell him to never hit me again. Which doesn't really help him understand the WHYs of hitting/hurting people. I made it a bit about me this time. And heck, it WAS about me. Physical stuff is a HUGE trigger for me. HUGE. I have to actually say to myself when things like this have happened before, "Gentle hands, gentle hands". Meaning, I have to remember to watch how tightly I'm grabbing him, or moving him, etc. Sad to admit, but true.

About dairy-We don't do milk in our house (we have always used soy), but the kids both love yogurt (and I do, too). I remember reading YEARS ago part of a book my Marilu Henner (remember her?) about how awful dairy is to our systems. Clearly, she is not a nutritional guru, but she was the first person I remember to get my attention about dairy. I worry abotu Bears's nutrition all the time. He eats little protein, besides the yogurt. We are a vegetarian house and he is a very picky eater and will very rarely try new things. Very tough for us b/c I cook a lot and my DH and I are adventurous eaters and eat lots of different, veggie things. I often wonder about the right supplement for him. He eats peanut butter, some soy faux meats, but that's it for protein. And if you looked at him, it almost jumps out at me that he needs protein. Although I realize that there is controversy about this, too. We limit things with dyes, but I get worried about limiting dairy, b/c that would mean that his daily menu would shrink to pasta with butter, cereal with soymilk, pb&J, and maybe some apple slices.

Okay, total digression. I'm sorry.

Anyway, tonight we were laying in bed, reading stories, and Bears was still upset. Like finally letting down the barrier of WHY he was upset in the first place. He said he saw something scary in our neighbor's house (it was a poster of one of those body chart things. His friend has it in her room). Well, I remember being completely freaked out about body stuff as a kid, too. So, we talked about it, about how it's hard b/c we can't control what other people have in their houses, but that we can always look away, or choose to not look at things that disturb us for some reason. And that he can always talk to us about it. That sharing your sadness/fear is always the bravest thing you can do. Then, I also told him that I understood why he was uncomfortable with it.

Anyway, thanks for being here, ladies.
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Old 09-26-2006, 01:42 AM
 
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Hey dear Bearsmamma- Wow doesn't it all sound familiar? I strongly suggest you stop trying to find a pattern here... just because it is a way of feeling you have some control over what you have no control over. Think about it like a thunderstorm. Now of course thunderstorms are somewhat predictable but there are huge schools and technology and hundred of years of data that go into making those predictions... and they still aren't that accurate.

Bears is a system of chaos... even more than most of us are. The predictable thing is that if he blows- it is going to be you most often, he is going to explode and it is going to be aggressive. As much as you hate that, you can't keep acting like you are shocked. Of course he hits you. He is enraged and he has no impulse control. Think about what you would do to him in those minutes if you had no impulse control. I certainly know the thoughts that come to me aren't anywhere near loving and forgiving when I get smacked.

If you could completely remove the personal (and of course you can't) then you would handle these like a seizure. You would sit by him and hold him and keep him safe until it passed. You would understand that things might get messed up or broken, and in the mix, you might get bumped. I honestly think they are seizures.

All of this to really say what I always say- I think you are doing wonderfully, I think things do sound like they are getting better, you are way ahead of me when Nate was this age. Hang in there, enjoy the scotch and Bach essences... whatever it takes. This is a serious marathon.

More later- love and prayers for all parents of challenging children out there.
Maureen

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Old 09-26-2006, 11:27 AM
 
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Wow, Bearsmama, I admire how you handled it. I do. Staying calm is fantastic.

I wanted to say (and it's just a neat coincidence that Maureen mentioned doing this) that I have stopped trying to find a pattern to my dd's behavior. I don't think there's a pattern, I also don't think there's a cause that is under my control. I mean, I do know her triggers in a general way (meaning, we know that when something doesn't go the way she had in mind, odds are she's gonna blow. Or if she's anxious about something, she might blow), which is kind of a pattern, but I have stopped trying to find a cause that I can control or a pattern that will explain it all. Because that's so stressful, it takes the focus off of just dealing with it in the moment, it places so much focus on something that I cannot attain--which is control, or a "fix" for her problems, or both (do some foods seem to make things worse? Does lack of sleep make things worse? Does anxiety make it worse? Etc.? Yes. But those aren't the cause, those are stressors that exacerbate the problem. We can avoid them, and things can be better, but we'll still have problems). So I'm focusing now on just responding and modeling. Not on fixing. Only partially on understanding--in the sense of the "pathways" talked about in the explosive child, what skills does she have a hard time with (impulse control, staying calm, coping with anxiety, communication), not what makes her have a hard time with those skills. I'm working on connecting with her more, enjoying moments with her more, because that helps my attitude and behavior, which in turn helps her relax and not get so discouraged. And you know, I feel more relaxed.

Now, that's not to say we aren't working on anything. We are. When we can see that something's happening that will likely cause her to blow, or we can see her gearing up, or when we know in advance that a situation is coming in which she might blow, we work on problem-solving it with her. Once she begins to blow, we just do our best to stay calm and ride it out because it's rare that we can stop it. Have I told you that the math that was helping her so beautifully is now something that no longer works and maybe adds to the whole storm--"that's too easy" or "that's too hard" no matter what I say? So now I'm just back to staying calm, not talking and feeding into it (apart from letting her know I'm there to talk when she has calmed down). Sometimes she'll ask me to help her calm down, and then I know that I can help her calm down. And then later on, after she's calmed down, we can address the problem. If she can't tell us ahead of time, she'll blow and she can't tell us what's up when she's melting down, so we have to wait until she's calm. The best part about handling things this way is that I'm so much calmer, so much more relaxed about it. And being just a calm presence seems to help her more than being a talking, problem-solving, analyzing, and sometimes anxious presence.

And you know, even though my dd's stuff hasn't gone away (and is sometimes really bad) she really has come a long way. It just doesn't stay all good and easy permanently. It's like Flylady says: Progress, not perfection. And in a zen sort of way, there is really only understanding in the moment (sometimes, sometimes there isn't even that) not some kind of understanding of the whole thing and all it's causes.

Anyway, that's my musing for the day. Big to you.

And Holly is one of my Bach remedies too. Boy has that helped.

ETA that I saw something elsewhere, regarding living with challenging children, that living with these kids, parenting them, is like living with a big old pink elephant in the house. The elephant's right here in the house with us, we want it gone (maybe we don't even want to see it), but we can only get rid of it one spoonful at a time (and first we have to accept that it's in our house). Working hard, helping our kids a little bit at a time, slow and steady, marathon-style. Isn't that some saying from somewhere? When eating an elephant, eat it one spoonful at a time?
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah, my mamas, my mamas

Maureen-Your words, as always, as such a help to me this morning. I absolutely agree with you that I should stop acting shocked when this stuff happens, b/c, you know, it really ain't a shock! We've been dealing with Bear's challenging behavior since birth. And on an intellectual level none of his behavior is shocking. We've been hit, punched, kicked, spit at, yelled at, had many things broken, and been terrorized (that's the feeling, anyway) by his behavior for 4++ years. But I think on an emotional level it still somehow feels shocking when it's happening. Like, a happy dinner can literally change in an instant. Not just into a normal tantrum, or "misbehavior" for lack of a better word, but from 0-60 in an instant. I am trying hard to not have any expectations. Really. And if stuff starts to happen at dinnertime it infuriates DH. He comes from a very food/meal oriented family. And although he understands that the kids will be kids, when Bears flips out at dinner, and literally no one can enjoy a bite of food, or any family time, it realllllllly irks him. DH and I also need to work on remaining calm. Taking it in stride. We often get caught up in the chaos ourselves and get into crisis mode. Which is hard not to do, but we sort of feed Bear's energy by doing this.

About two weeks ago we got the kids bunkbeds. We have been a co-sleeping family from the start, but we thought that having a cool bed would encourage Bears to sleep in his own space for at least a few hours/night. We have no expectation of the little one (he's just two) or even Bears, really, immediately warming to this idea. However, the good news is, they've been both starting out at night in the lower bunk together (upper bunk is off limits until they're older). Anyway, Bears has been waking at about 1am. Fine. But last night (like many other nights since this started), he yells for me, I enter his room, and he says, "I need you". And I say, "Okay, sweetie, come into the big bed", and he starts to scream bloody murder. I tell him calmly that I cannot sleep with he and his brother in a bunk bed, it doesn't work for any of us. But that he can just come into our bed. He was screaming so loudly that I had to grab the little one and bring him in our room. I said again to him, "Come on in". And he continues to cry and scream and then when he finally gets to our bedroom, he kicks, punches, screams, squirms, at us. Fun, fun, fun.

This morning, he pinched his finger on a toy and he literally cried for about an hour. He was still whimpering and holding his hand on the way to preschool. There's clearly something going on with him right now. I think he is getting a cold and doesn't feel well. He's a bit sniffly.

Sledg- I agree with you about trying to enjoy the good moments with our CKs. And yesterday we had loads of snuggly, sweet, playful moments. That's why, I guess, that I didn't see last night's storm coming. But there's another comment about expectations, right? I should expect nothing. I know that, I'm just trying to learn it in my heart.

And yes, this is a marathon. I think I've said this before here that I had a professor in college who had this quote above her desk. It actually was a real picture of what should have been a race finish line banner, but instead it said, "There is no finish line". And really, there isn't.

More when I can, mamas. Much love to you both and the rest of the great mamas here.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:34 PM
 
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We've been dealing with Bear's challenging behavior since birth. And on an intellectual level none of his behavior is shocking. We've been hit, punched, kicked, spit at, yelled at, had many things broken, and been terrorized (that's the feeling, anyway) by his behavior for 4++ years. But I think on an emotional level it still somehow feels shocking when it's happening. Like, a happy dinner can literally change in an instant. Not just into a normal tantrum, or "misbehavior" for lack of a better word, but from 0-60 in an instant. I am trying hard to not have any expectations. Really.
Is it possible to have *no* expectations? I think maybe my best days are when I don't try to have no expectations and I don't have expectations that are really fantasies about how I'd like things to be, but when I have realistic expectations. My best days are when I'm aware that anything can happen, and I have some sense of what's typical (including the typical unpredictability and sudden change of mood), and I have some strategies at hand to cope with whatever may come up--for managing whatever situation arises and mostly for managing myself. And yk, as my expectations become more realistic and I give up more of my fantasies, it all does start to feel less shocking. It's so easy for me to have a good day with dd and then start to think that maybe now everything is wonderful and will stay that way at least for the rest of the day, but that's not really realistic given her history. It's a fantasy. And when I cling to that fantasy, that's when I get shocked. So when I can let go of that, and just enjoy the good moments without attaching the fantasy (whether the rosy fantasy or the doom and gloom fantasy) to it, I have an easier time staying calm when things change suddenly. And likewise, when the difficult moments do come, if I can deal with them without attaching the stories to it (oh, this is so terrible, so shocking, will it ever get better, I can't take it anymore, I'm miserable, she's so unpredictable I can't stand it...) then it's easier to remain calm, respond more helpfully, and recover from it quickly. Less shocking doesn't mean it's always less exasperating though.

The waking up and screaming thing stinks. There is little worse than dealing with that in the middle of the night. Dd had a whopper of a night last night (actually, most nights for a couple of weeks she's been screaming in her sleep starting at about 11:40 pm, but it usually doesn't last too long). For a few hours, off and on (starting at 11:46), she just yelled and screamed in her sleep. Calling for Daddy, yelling at her brother, all sorts of noise both words and nonsense. Woke her sister (who shares the room), woke us, woke her brother. It was awful. But despite her calling for us, she is not awake when this happens. Can't talk to her, she'll get worse. Nothing we can do. So we're all very tired today. And you know, she's been like this since just before she was a year old so it's really not surprising but every time we're like "can you believe what an awful night she had?" Humans. We're a funny bunch.
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sldeg-So funny what you & DH say after one of your DD's bad nights. We do the exact same thing.

I have much more to say (as always!), but not much time...

OH, the piece about the nighttime trouble we had last night with Bears I left out was the kicker. This morning he said to me, "Mommy, last night you left me in my room allllll alone". Which 1) Was not the case. AND 2) So ironic, b/c he's so worried about being left out of things, or not being with us, but when I try to include him, try to comfort him, try to bring him into our bed, he lashes out, hits, kicks, punches. And then of course, it's all MY fault in the morning. Mothering's a b$*ch!
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:29 AM
 
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Sledg, you comforted me so many times and given me so many good ideas that I could not read your post about your MIL and not send hugs, although it is a bit late (15 days late) ....
It stinks to be criticized... I get criticized sooo much..

The thing is to (try and) parent without rewards and punishments is like creating a bubble of anti-culture. It is bound to get reactions from others. We need to stay secure in our bubble and expand it through friends and through mothering.com. It is really hard. I got this idea from a link I got from another mom (AmyMN) on this forum recently.

http://www.enjoyparenting.com/dgn/intro
(click on "needs and desires")

The link deserves a discussion of its own and I would like to start one, when I have the time to organize my thoughts about it.

But anyway, returning to your MIL, the fact that your dd NEVER threw a tantrum in her presence before is huge and should really send MIL a strong message that you are doing a terrific job parenting your children! It is not true 7 yo do not throw horrible tantrums. You should see my niece when it is time to do her homework...

You know your idea of additions really worked with my dd for awhile and then now it does not work any more.. now we are on another trigger "talking in reverse" (like please do not put on your shoes b'se it is not yet time to go home) We are also doing a lot of "exceptions".. like there are some "rules" in our house : and when we have a hard time with them we "make an exception" and we have a good laugh... I have noticed this actually and to my surprise reinforces the rules rather than bending them...

I lurk on this thread a lot but never post... thanks everyone who does and bearsmama for starting it and contributing so many good ideas it is my favorite thread..
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:59 AM
 
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Thanks so much, gaialice. I'm actually, after taking a nice long break from the ILs, going to give it a go tomorrow (providing all the kids are feeling reasonably good and are not overly tired). I'll bring with me my mental bubble of supportive friends and family. And I'll do my best "bean dip"-ing. (familiar with "bean dip"?: "how's she sleeping?" 'oh, fine, thanks, want some bean dip?' "has she been having tantrums?" 'oh, she's doing fine, have you tried this bean dip?')

I like your idea of "exceptions." I might have to give that a whirl. And thanks for letting me know that other 7 year olds still have tantrums. That does help.

Bearsmama, my dd is currently blaming me for everything as well. "you didn't let me put my shoes on! It's your fault!" (wtf??? It was my idea for you to get your shoes on, and I did try to help you do that.) "It's your fault, you ruined it and now we don't have time to finish!" (wtf??? you just had a 50 minute tantrum despite my best efforts to help, and it's MY fault that now it's too late to finish??)
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Old 09-27-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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The "it's your fault" is a colloquilism. Don't let your childhood baggage give it more meaning than 'it is just a phrase', or else you give it power. Ask for clarification of meaning, examples of concern, address the underlying need. Perhaps, she wanted a different pair of shoes? "You aren't ready to go" could be the response to 'you ruined it.....'. By offering (instead of telling) another way to look at it, perhaps, she'll assume positive intent next time. Maybe not. But becoming defensive doesn't address the underlying issue that prompted the 'it's your fault'. The phrase has power to incite in our culture. It is something that I see our son gleaming from the tv. We don't use the phrase in our home. Ever. But, he is 'trying it out' to see what context elicits the reaction that he has observed elsewhere. Treat it like a 'dirty word'. Fault and blame serve no purpose....it is like the lettuce. So, don't get caught up in the process of feeling defensive, the "fault" doesn't have power. Understanding has power.

HTH, Pat

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Old 09-27-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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Hey all, I wanted to extend an invitation to check out our Consensual Living yahoogroup. We discuss a lot of creative problem solving that honors each's needs: children and parents.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Consensual-living/

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Old 09-27-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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Can't speak for anyone else, but personally I get the whole "it's your fault thing." I think "It's your fault" is not much different than a child saying "I hate you", it's just an expression of feelings they don't know how else to express. Handy words. I actually just think it's...well, I was going to say funny or amusing but that doesn't sound right. Because it's not really funny when it's happening, when dd says it she's hurting or angry and I do feel for her. (And when she does this, most of the time I handle it without reacting to that phrase and instead do the empathy thing.) I don't actually take that phrase seriously at all (in the sense of giving it power and taking it personally, it is usually a serious attempt at communication) coming from her or anyone else.

I guess it's just that at some point you've gotta laugh. This gets so exasperating. It really does. And so at some point I have to just lighten up and laugh at the whole situation, post about it in commisseration and tell someone about that little "wtf??" internal dialog that you don't take seriously but that nevertheless happens. Not because I take pleasure in her pain or mine, but because sometimes you need to take it a lot less seriously and find a way to laugh. I have to find the lightness and joy and humor in it in order to keep on going.

eta that it really is a good reminder, though, Pat. What you said applies to a lot of other things too, I realized as I read it.

Warm squishy s to all you ladies today. You are my lifeline sometimes. Okay, often.
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Old 09-27-2006, 05:47 PM
 
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sledg,

I believe I hear you saying the "absurdity" of the meaning of the phrase ("It's your fault!") in context to your actual efforts is : crazy-making. And one has to laugh or go insane? The raw intensity of her feelings is so "real" that it could sting, but the idea of her 'faulting you' seems...... (*ridiculous* is the word that keeps "fitting" here)?

I misread you to be hurt by the phrase and wanted to offer suggestions at diffusing the impact of the words. I am hearing that you understand them to be expressions of feelings without reacting to them personally. I have a tough time stepping back and observing without evaluation when ds says/does some things which are 'hot buttons' for me. Like the hitting that Bearsmama experienced. I feel 'wounded'. For me, it takes a lot of effort to *be*, without reacting to this experience. When I 'rationalize' it, I am more able to be in the experience without feeling 'triggered'. I see that you already have the perspective to just sigh, breathe and laugh......

I need to do that more: "Just smile", as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests.

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Old 09-27-2006, 08:00 PM
 
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I believe I hear you saying the "absurdity" of the meaning of the phrase ("It's your fault!") in context to your actual efforts is : crazy-making. And one has to laugh or go insane? The raw intensity of her feelings is so "real" that it could sting, but the idea of her 'faulting you' seems...... (*ridiculous* is the word that keeps "fitting" here)?
Yes, that's a good description. There is a lot of wonderful absurdity and ridiculousness here, which is good.

I can totally see why you read me as being hurt by it. I used to think I had a wonderful (okay, pretty good) command of the english language, but the older I get the more I realize that I often communicate in ways that are clear to me but clear as mud to others (or maybe it's just this whole written internet communication with it's lack of physical cues, or my sleep-deprived brain, or the human tendency to mostly perceive things through the lens of our own experiences, etc.). I also have this feeling that my last post sounded defensive, when I wasn't feeling that at all. I am very grateful for and deeply appreciative of your sharing of advice and perspective, and though I wasn't so much in need of suggestions for diffusing the impact of those particular words, I actually did find your words very helpful as applied to some of my hot-button issues that do leave me feeling sort of wounded.
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Old 09-27-2006, 08:28 PM
 
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One more thing...
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Originally Posted by scubamama View Post
I have a tough time stepping back and observing without evaluation when ds says/does some things which are 'hot buttons' for me. Like the hitting that Bearsmama experienced. I feel 'wounded'. For me, it takes a lot of effort to *be*, without reacting to this experience. When I 'rationalize' it, I am more able to be in the experience without feeling 'triggered'. I see that you already have the perspective to just sigh, breathe and laugh......

I need to do that more: "Just smile", as Thich Nhat Hanh suggests.
What I want to say to this is "seriously??" The reason I feel the urge to say this is that I picture you as this very calm, serene, smiling, unflappable kind of mother. Like a bodhisattva (spelling?) of compassion, and brimming with equanimity. I realize that no one is like that all the time, but it's always both surprising and kind of comforting to hear you say things like this.

No particular point beyond just sharing that. And I can't actually say why I want to share that right now, but I share it with love.
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Old 09-30-2006, 11:42 AM
 
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Just wanted to drop in quickly this morning and say hello to you all ... it's been a few weeks since I've been able to post but as always, I'm trying to keep up with the reading.

We are in a really really good place right now. I don't know if it's the plethora of activities, his wonderful teacher, the concious effort I've made to just relax, or the combination of all that has made this possible but whatever it is, it's working for the time being.

I don't recall exactly where I read this, but something struck me a few weeks back that I just wanna share. I seem to think I read it on someone's blog. Anyway though, the writer was talking about her challenging child and how she felt so much pressure to fix things, the way many of us have described. She was very open about her child and I kept thinking how much she'd enjoy our thread But she went on to say that she finally realized that as the mother of this child, it was not her job to fix him. It was her job to guide him through his life ... to help him. I read that and felt as though I'd been smacked on the head. I spent so much time trying to fix Cole. And although I had managed to change how I looked at things in many ways, some of those feelings I couldn't shake. From that minute though, I have felt differently. We have still had some moments but we're just experiencing them and going on. So maybe it's really been more about me all along ...

Of course right now we have so many other things happening. It will be interesting to see if the good times continue past the football season. Which he adores, by the way. It has truly helped him in a way I could not. Same with his teacher. And, I think the fast pace of our schedules right now is helpful to him as well. His brain moves at such a rapid pace it has always been a challenge to keep up with him!

At any rate, I hope everyone is doing well. I shall return when I get another minute ... hugs to everyone.
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Old 09-30-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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Here is one of my favorite articles about not trying to "fix" our child. It is called "I AM WHAT I AM", by Anne Ohman. http://sandradodd.com/special/anne


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Old 09-30-2006, 02:04 PM
 
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One more thing...

What I want to say to this is "seriously??"
Yes. For me, it takes a lot of effort to *be*, without reacting to my experiences. I grew up living in fear, it was used as a means of controlling me. I see now how I allowed Fear to invade, infect, consume and control me even as an adult. The paradox is that *I* chose Fear. Choosing to live my life with Trust is a struggle, everyday. But, it is getting easier the more I focus on living in the moment, not fearing the future, nor regretting the past. Living mindfully brings me joy instead. Trust is a choice. Fear is a choice. This awareness has changed my life. But, it is hard to Trust when I am triggered by physical impact. I work to observe without evaluation in order to try to understand, instead of react.

Being aware in the moment to Breathe, Pause.........

is work.


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Old 09-30-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Well, as expected mil called dh at work today. She's all freaked out about dd. (It was an amazing tantrum, I seriously doubt that the majority of kids who are about to turn 7 years old have tantrums like this-and she's had 3 this week. Though recently I've seen her have worse than yesterday's scene.) So mil is all "There isn't enough discipline." Yeah, that's it. : : Then "well, is she being molested?" and so on.

Oh for goodness' sake! I'm sorry you now have to deal with your MIL I'm sure she does mean well but it can't be helpful.
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