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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Anyone want to start a thread on parenting issues? I don't feel comfortable posting anything personal in the other non-private MDC forums.

Anyway, in general I think my kids are great. But dd1 is driving me nuts lately with her provocation of dd2. dd2 will whine about things, or get in her space....but then I will catch dd1 doing something deliberately provocative and then she lies about it and denies it. This is seriously very triggering for me and it's like I see xh staring back at me. I feel ragey when faced with obvious manipulation....albeit a 9 year old girl. So I swallow the feeling and deal. This time it was dd2 squawking that dd2 ripped a picture of hers. And of course dd1 denying it. So then what do I see dd1 doing? dd2 standing nearby....and dd1 sticking out her foot and touching the dd2's colouring page with her foot. So obviously trying to get a reaction out of dd2.

I lost my cool, called her out on it, and sent dd1 to her room and the girls are quiet and separated. I absolutely HATE resorting to that kind of reactive discipline (as opposed to being more proactive and engaged and preventing stuff in the first place). But dammit I am tired. And I have been bleeding heavily for the past week (with no sign of it abating, and if anything it is getting heavier and heavier with clots), and have company coming to get ready for, going away a couple times. It's going to be busy and already I'm exhausted. The more the TV is on, the worse their behaviour gets and just perpetuates any discontent in the long run. So I am loathe to use the TV babysitter.

I never had any parenting issues when it was just dd1. One kid was so easy. How do you do it with multiples? It's the fighting that drives me batty. And makes me want to send them to live at their dad's. I'm tired. And tired of doing this alone.
 

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Hugs! Super normal sibling behavior, but a lot of times it's the 2nd kiddo who provokes the older one to get a rise out. Maybe you need to sit down with DD1 and find out why she's feeling resentful of DD2.

How long has this been going on? Kids generally sense when we're pmsing or low energy and for some reason their bad behavior tends to come out.

Dd1 probably needs to have some space in your home that is just hers. Does she have anything like that? Even if it's just a reading corner by a window, or something. The kitchen table during a certain time of day or something. A space that is off-limits to her much younger sister. And perhaps they both need some chores to help give them a sense of responsibility and something to be competitive about that is productive rather than destructive.

Also, find out who Xh favors the most in DD1's eyes. Could be that now DD2 is older, DD1 gets less alone time with her dad and resents that. Could be DD2 bugs DD1 when she's trying to sleep. Intentionally or unintentionally. Who knows? But seems like DD2 is probably babied a bit, being the youngest, and that DD1 knows DD2 is brighter and more capable (possibly more braggy when they're alone?) than she cops to, and so she feels it's her job to take her down a peg.

I had a complicated relationship with my sister who is 4 yrs younger because she was so spoiled and praised while I got zero slack and was kept to an extremely high standard of attitude and conduct. I know you're far more balanced than my parents were, but obviously your Xh is not, and him having a new girlfriend who likely dotes more on the younger/more trusting kiddo...with you being exhausted and at your wits end, plus the recent introduction of your boyfriend, DD1 may be feeling some anxiety that she's about to get shafted even more.

She's experienced a LOT of change in the past 2-3 years, whereas DD2 has only had this life as she knows it since she can remember.

DD1 may even resent DD2 for NOT being annoyed at the new partners in her parents' lives. Watching her just accepting that everything is hunky dory could be maddening! Maybe she wants her sister to feel as frustrated as she is, so she provokes her and wrecks her stuff to establish a kind of misguided rapport.

We human beings are so complicated. Maybe she needs some one-on-one time with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
How long has this been going on? Kids generally sense when we're pmsing or low energy and for some reason their bad behavior tends to come out.

Dd1 probably needs to have some space in your home that is just hers. Does she have anything like that?

Also, find out who Xh favors the most in DD1's eyes. Could be that now DD2 is older, DD1 gets less alone time with her dad and resents that. Could be DD2 bugs DD1 when she's trying to sleep. Intentionally or unintentionally. Who knows?

DD1 may even resent DD2 for NOT being annoyed at the new partners in her parents' lives.

We human beings are so complicated. Maybe she needs some one-on-one time with you.
Thanks! All these thoughts help me to think and process. Much of the equation is just me. I'm exhausted. dd2 woke me up last night again, after almost a week of no wake-ups. I'm not yet caught up on sleep and my body is still used to being woken up, so I'm still waking up on my own, then falling back asleep again. I'm pretty sure that's the progesterone in the Mirena, because the only time in my life I have ever had trouble sleeping (other than when dd1 was a nightwaking baby) has been when I am pms;ing - and it's only a day or so....and only on particularly strong cycles (a few a year?) Otherwise, insomnia has never been an issue for me. So my body is going through all kinds of adjustments. And I think my ferretin levels must be dipping low again (I had almost no reserves before and was having palpitations, bleeding gums, anemia symptoms last year before I went on iron and started doing the ibuprofin routine when I bleed....which I'm still doing and on day 4 of ibuprofin every 4 hours to try to slow the flow - not good!). And I'm recovering from a bad cold (which could have been influenza as that is what the kids seemed to have had - but I'm vaccinated).

I wish I had some physical parenting support here - someone to swoop in and take the kids out and give me alone time. Just knowing I could have it would probably help! I'm irritated by xh not being more proactive in taking his parenting time. I also goofed on noting an incorrect return time this weekend in an email (Sun evening instead of Monday morning)....so now I'm waiting to hear back about confirming the correct time from him. I could really use that extra overnight to myself! And he has been radio silent about the summer, other than asking for ONE weekend for a holiday. So far anyway.

3 straight weekends in a row with only one brief overnight reprieve (when I was already sick and that break got wasted) is just not enough with a needy night waking 4 year old, going on 14! I think I am still recovering from 3 straight years of 24/7 parenting without any nights off. (edited: make that 8 straight years with only 4 nights off - 2 for my medical appointments out of town - a holiday....and 2 for getaways with xh which were not actually any fun). I've been single parenting since she was only 1 and still night nursing 1-3x/night. I know it gets easier, but I'm feeling the impacts of burnout.

So I broke down and turned on the TV. I need some outside adult "time"...albeit internet I guess. I don't have a close confidant IRL friend here. Lots of acquaintances, but the people I could be friends with have busy lives and so I assume they aren't looking to add more friendship in their lives - we can never seem to find mutual time to get together! So those closer female in-person relationships are just not happening. My bf is away right now, so I'm not going to interrupt his fun with my sucky mood.

I guess it helps to write this out. I've always done processing of feelings on paper, then feel better afterwards.

As for the questions about the sibling and xh and gf/bf dynamics....I don't honestly feel like the gf and bf are having much of an impact. If anything, I think the kids really like my bf, and they really like xh's gf. Neither actually seem to impact direct time with a parent much (they have had minimal time with bf and it's been great so far, and likewise, the gf time seems to be less now - she is a teacher and probably spends EOW lesson planning). I know I feel much happier and a better parent when I spend more time with my new bf.

I don't know if xh favours one over the other....but I think if anything, he is favouring dd1. He has asked for 1:1 time with her before (and was going to do that on her birthday but she had the flu so they didn't go skiing afterall). I think dd1 resents all the attention dd2 gets. And I try to get 1:1 time with dd1 by leaving dd2 at daycare and spending a couple hours with dd1 once a week. I remind dd1 that when she was that age, she got me all to herself....but that dd2 has had to share from day 1. It used to seem to help, but I don't know.
I'm sure dd1 does not wake dd2 - dd1 wants to sleep and doesn't like middle of night wakings herself and doesn't want to hear me grumbling about being woken up in the middle of the night! Hopefully this was just one blip last night, and dd2 will go back to some semblance of independence. She also finally totally weaned earlier this year. So yeah, lots of changes for her too.
 

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I hate to say it but the #1 hardest part of parenting for me HANDS DOWN is having more than 1 kid. The fighting, bickering, annoying each other is so obnoxious and draining. Each kid on their own does not annoy me. I love hanging out with them all 1 on 1 but when they are together they fight and pick at each other. Totally annoying. No advice - just commiseration.
 

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This is where I love my kids and am so grateful for them. They get on really well with each other, as in they don't argue at all. They aren't best buddies, but they interact well with each other, will ask each other for help, or ask to do something with each other. Middle and youngest (15 and 11) walked to walmart together today as it was so nice out. They will play games together, and help each other with homework. I don't know why, it's just the way they have always been. My favorite photo's are candid shots where I have caught all three doing something together. My all time favorite is when one evening they all climbed into my bed and fell asleep, not quite touching each other, but really close. All three also missed the terrible twos. I was very grateful for that!!!

SS, I am sorry you are low on energy! I wish I could come babysit and give you at least a few hours reprieve! You too Ag!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Send those lovely boys too :). The girls usually get along, so I have been spoiled, but lately there's this phase (again wondering if it's to do more with me?)

Spring, how are your nights going?

My bf called out of the blue (he doesn't know I was having a bad day). That, the support here, and texting with my sister who is travelling to visit me, significantly cheered me up. Still bleeding and still tired, but all is peaceful at the moment, touch wood!
 

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my boys go back and forth with the bickering and fighting - one moment hollering, the next curled up in the bottom bunk together.

I've gone so far from my parenting ideals as far as TV/computer time, and though I wish it could have happened differently, it's just how it had to be for me to have some sanity doing it all myself. the end of the day is the worst part for me, always has been, so we do very little besides have dinner and watch TV (kids play computer games, or watch with me or oldest does homework) and they have a fairly early bedtime (8pm).

I dropped bedtime stories years ago because they'd be too crazed, now I just send them to get ready and come in at some point to give them kisses & "tuck" them in - bare minimum of parenting in the evenings, just enough to get them in jammies, teeth brushed & into bed. I'd rather have a relationship with them where I am not feeling like screaming all the time than take on more than I can handle mentally.
 

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I'm sorry you're feeling this but I am glad you posted because I relate very much to this. Having two high energy, loud boys is so contrary to my nature honestly. I'm a librarian. :) I crave calm, quiet, peace. I get running, hollering, fighting. I like doing arts and crafts and cooking with the boys and they have a few minutes attention span for it generally before they are off tearing through the house like it's an episode of Jackass. Before I had kids I spent hours reading, gardening, decorating my home with hand painted murals, belly dancing, yoga- I can't even focus long enough to do these things now it's like I've developed adult onset adhd in the midst of their chaos. My anxiety levels are through the roof.

DS1 is on the spectrum and so is abrasive and doesn't like physical affection or contact (other than rough play with his brother or sports), fortunately DS2 is a snuggle dude and pretty much still attached at the umbilicus. As delightful as that is, and I do revel in it, at times admittedly it can be stifling. I keep trying. I take them camping and hiking, to botanical gardens, planetariums, farms, museums, fairs, and sometimes to zoos (and don't even leave them there with the other orangutans)!

I too have given up the good fight and handed over the remote control. I guess we all need that mindless down time in a world that overwhelms us in different ways. DS1 reads most nights and DS2 has his bedtime story most nights.

I'm like a cat with a porcupine and a golden retriever as unlikely life companions. A cat that probably needs medicating.
 

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One of the most helpful things for me, long ago, was reading the Five Love Languages. I think kids sometimes, maybe often, bicker when their "cup" is empty...figuring out the best way to fill it up again benefits everyone. Knowing their love language means you can fill it up quickly and efficiently. Sometimes we give and give to our children (and others) thinking we're investing and it will make a difference, but we're giving the wrong thing and it just wears us out and doesn't help.

My eldest needed (still needs) one-on-one attention. SUPER hard for me with four close-in-age kids. I realized that it wasn't enough for him to sit on my lap while I read to all four, or give him my attention while multitasking. He needed ONLY my attention. Once I figured this out, I could find small ways to give it to him, he would be more happy and content, and it would go a really long way. Rather than me trying and failing all day long.

My second-eldest needs physical touch, and when he was younger, I just needed to pick him up, tip him upside down, and bounce or shake him until he laughed, and he was good to go for a long time. No amount of one-on-one made a difference in his particular cup.

My #3 needs words of affirmation *and* a different kind of physical touch. She needs a sort of massagey/drapey kind of contact, laying in my lap or whatever. She also needs to hear positive words about herself. Doesn't matter to her if she's sharing me.

My #4 is a gifts kid, which is baffling to the rest of us, because we're all so nonmaterialistic. But it turned out that she'd be THRILLED with a wrapped-up penny or a special pebble. She is heartbroken to not get a birthday gift from a sibling. It's just who she is. She doesn't need words as much as some little thing she can carry around.

And me -- (wouldn't you know, we'd all be different, ugh) -- I'm "acts of service," which means I get depleted and crabby (bickery?) when I don't get help or appreciation for the work I do around the house. So over the years I've talked openly with my kids about these things, and especially about how I need their help with my needs, that a helping hand with the dishes or someone thanking me for a meal means I'm happy and content for a long time with only a few minutes' effort on their part.

These days, if there is bickering, it's my 12 & 13 DDs, and I will sometimes just say "Enough!" and let them know I've had my limit of listening to it, and give them options -- take it outside, disengage from each other, maybe I'll give one or both separate tasks to focus on, or remind them of things they need to go off and do. Or (more when they were younger) I'd say 'Stop! Let's have a snuggle.' and we'd sit on the couch, one on either side of me, and I'd just try to be funny and get them laughing together to break the mood.

Anyway, I feel bickering is a sign of unrest, and unrest usually comes from having unmet needs, and if we can catch it and remedy it, we can stop it for awhile.

Good luck!! Parenting is super hard. Try to keep your own cup as full as you can, so you have patience available when they fray your nerves.
 

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Worthy, you are so right! I had never thought of it before, but I do the same with my boys. #3 likes to hear praise, he has Prada Willi and ADD (there is NO hyper in this boy!) and really struggles at times. At 16 I can not ask him to slice a carrot as he will slice his finger, we know, cause we tried again about 6 weeks ago. He is very very affectionate, but has never liked prolonged physical contact. He likes a quick touch, a short hug, a pat on the back, and words. He loves to discuss politics, so we have long conversations which we both love.

Middle son loves one on one time, he goes grocery shopping with me 4 out of 5 times, actually, probably more. We chat, act silly and just enjoy each others company. If we don't go for a couple of days, then we will sit together in the evening and have a game of cards. He's the child that tries to pull us all together. He and I often are the only ones who want to go eat out, but sometimes he will throw a fit at his brothers and get them to join us. He's the one who gets the most out of us all sitting at the table to eat at night, though we all enjoy the time together.

Youngest loves to snuggle and cuddle and have physical contact. I find it hard at times, I used to hate being touched, so I have to remind myself at times that he needs the contact. Though he is almost 12, he really is the baby of our family. He is holding on to that for dear life! We usually sit and cuddle and he reads to me in the evening. When I tuck him into bed we do "Highs, lows and ugh ohhh's". Recently I have been worn out by the evening, so I haven't been as good to him as I should be. I need to buck my ideas up and give him more of what he needs.

My older two have started to look for what makes me feel happy, and have really been good to me. They will give me unexpected hugs, tell me thank you when I do something for them, my middle son will make me a cup of tea (best thing to do to show love to me lol) and both will do jobs for me without moaning or arguing. One major thing is my eldest son will say he is sorry when he does something wrong. Middle son is determined not to, he sees it as a bad thing still, but I think he is catching on to the idea that apologizing is good thing. It is saying you see you have done something wrong, and want to correct it, and try to not repeat it.

I don't know how I have such great kids. I'm a mess and their dad is an ass hole.
 
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Reading this is making me happy I stopped with one kid. :) I knew it would be too much for me to handle two kids without solid help.

My main concern is dd is starting to keep more from me. I feel it's good she's finally getting some independence. She had her chore list and is doing them more without me nagging. She comes up to me to give me hugs and kisses when I'm tired, etc. The good news is she is telling me a lot of things she doesn't want me to share with XH and others we know. They are all pretty harmless things for the most part such as a kid playing with a toy she wants, not liking her homework, etc. The only one I found interesting is that dd thinks Diver is nicer than FG. Diver and FG both try to help pitch in for me so it's nice to have some help. I remember when I first divorced XH and how I had literally no one in my life.
 

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stop organizing your effing shoes and go to bed right now! It's all I had left in me after an hour of this bedtime debacle.
 

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Fighting drives me batty too. It is not the most difficult aspect of parenting but it is the most aggravating, in my experience.
 

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The fighting here goes in spurts. For the most part, mine get along pretty well. It's been easier as they get older.

It's still hard being the only adult at times.
 

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I'm sorry you're feeling this but I am glad you posted because I relate very much to this. Having two high energy, loud boys is so contrary to my nature honestly. I'm a librarian. :) I crave calm, quiet, peace. I get running, hollering, fighting. I like doing arts and crafts and cooking with the boys and they have a few minutes attention span for it generally before they are off tearing through the house like it's an episode of Jackass. Before I had kids I spent hours reading, gardening, decorating my home with hand painted murals, belly dancing, yoga- I can't even focus long enough to do these things now it's like I've developed adult onset adhd in the midst of their chaos. My anxiety levels are through the roof.

DS1 is on the spectrum and so is abrasive and doesn't like physical affection or contact (other than rough play with his brother or sports), fortunately DS2 is a snuggle dude and pretty much still attached at the umbilicus. As delightful as that is, and I do revel in it, at times admittedly it can be stifling. I keep trying. I take them camping and hiking, to botanical gardens, planetariums, farms, museums, fairs, and sometimes to zoos (and don't even leave them there with the other orangutans)!

I too have given up the good fight and handed over the remote control. I guess we all need that mindless down time in a world that overwhelms us in different ways. DS1 reads most nights and DS2 has his bedtime story most nights.

I'm like a cat with a porcupine and a golden retriever as unlikely life companions. A cat that probably needs medicating.
I have not laughed so hard at a post in so long. The "tearing through the house like it's an episode of Jackass" had me hysterical. My kids are all high energy and just need to move constantly - pair that with a very high tolerance for pain and a need for adventure and we have 3 kids full of bruises and wild stories. Every night before bath time we play a game called "dirt or bruises" where we look at the legs of the kids and decide what is dirt and what is bruises because their shins look like black and brown spotted bananas. I usually say my house looks like it is inhabited by dingos and my kids look like they woke up, rolled through a bowl of oatmeal, wove twigs into their hair, dug through a bag of potting soil, then used a pumice stone to scrub tiny holes and snags into their clothes. This is before leaving for school. I do not think we have once gotten to school with everyone clean.
 

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Wow. Ladies, I am really really happy with pink princess tents and arguments over which books to read.

Wanna hear a funny not so funny? Xh called last night w/DD. She wanted him to get on MineCraft (they screenshare and collaborate on what to build, etc. MM had just arrived, and we're making out discretely when suddenly MM & I hear DD announce she's living in a Women's Shelter because she doesn't have a home and is staying there, and then she says she's calling the police because her daddy showed up at the shelter and the police will kick him out.

:eek: I have not told DD anything but she may have heard me say to someone else that we stayed in a shelter once and got lice. But she has never EVER heard I called the police on her dad.

She may have overheard me talking to a mama we know who called and told me her stbx has been hacking her emails and FB acct, and I told her to file a report with the police.

So anyway, I went in and asked DD some questions. Where did she hear about Women's shelters and why did she think she should call the police because she was pretending her dad was there? I told her that men sometimes help at a women's shelter, like bringing in food for the ladies. So if her dad was there, I'm sure he was there to help her, and she wouldn't need to call the police. Lol

The shock in Xh's voice when he choked on her saying "I'm calling the police to kick daddy out." Oh my. He said he didn't want to play that scenario. Then when I came in and talked to her...lol I'm sure he knows I have never said anything like that about him to DD. Though he may think that now the custody trial is behind us, I'd spill all the beans. Anyway, after I explained to DD, she "Ohh. I'm sorry, Dad. I won't call the police to kick you out." LOL.

Omg I love her. Lol she sounded so confident about calling the police. I don't think she'll ever need to on her dad. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What a funny story!
So your xh was listening the whole time when you clarified with dd? I'm glad you caught that and prevented a big drama of your xh trying to spin alienation stories (well I'm sure he will try anyway).

I've finally had some kid-free time. This week has been a 50/50 week and I could get used to this and I'm enjoying dd's a lot. They seem to do well with rotating every 2-3 days (and so do I as I can fill that time and not miss them too much). dd2 has been pretty consistent in her sleeping in her own bed for the past 2 weeks, which has helped a lot. Sometimes I start to think that 50/50 would be nice for me and would help me look after myself so much better. Too many other issues though that make it not a good idea.
 
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