I woke up at 6:00AM today - SATURDAY - just so that I could check my email. Which I haven't done all week. Which completely floors me.
Got a few emails from some friends - wondering if I had, indeed, died, despite my insistence to the contrary. Makes me feel very warm and fuzzy. Makes me want to blog, too.
I'm having a hard time, Bloggy World.
Since we moved (has it not even been a month?), my three children have been ... difficult.
Wow. Understatement of my life.
Of that month, they've been sick for three weeks. Pink eye, ear infections (two! each!), majorly nasty stomach flu. If I haven't made many friends in the ward, I have in our pediatrician's office.
Not surprisingly, being constantly sick and MOVING COUNTRIES has sent my kids for somewhat of a loop.
For one solid month, I have considered getting a job and just throwing them all in daycare.
(did i say that?)
I'm especially frustrated with Ouro Branco. He'll be three next month. He's always been a little stinker, but he's the sweetest stinker you've ever met. Until now.
People, I don't know what to do. It's like living with my own personal demon.
I try to step back from the situation. I did, after all, get a degree in Family Science. I'm supposed to be able to TEACH PEOPLE how to deal with kids like OB. So here's my professional assessment:
He's disoriented and confused.
Probably misses Brazil, but can't articulate his feelings.
Doesn't feel well.
Completely and totally bored (our house is still EMPTY. And I do mean empty.)
Wants consistency and security and love.
Wants attention. Majorly.
I really and truly feel that he does everything he can to get me to blow up. And he does a mighty fine job.
Yesterday. We're making pumpkin bread. We're actually having a very pleasant time. Happy. Cooperating. Reminiscent of the old days.
Then it's time to lick the spoon.
Apparently there was a sliver of the spoon showing, and he wanted ALL of it to be covered in batter. He immediately threw a World Class Fit - but I couldn't tell at first what he was going on about.
I'm speaking calmly, asking him to tell me what the problem is ("use your words") and in the meantime starting on the dishes. Well, by the time I figure out that he wanted more batter, I'd already rinsed the bowl.
The tantrum escalates.
I'm praying and trying to talk him down simultaneously, but he threw the spoon, splattering batter all over the kitchen. He got a time out.
I'm walking away, breathing in and out like a bull - attempting to not lot myself get upset. Then I feel a Thomas the Tank Engine shoe pelting my back. He's now throwing everything he can get his hands on. Including the nearest chairs.
I storm over to him and restrain his arms. Speak harshly but softly. And he kicks me in the face.
And then I blew up.
I screamed and shook and acted, essentially, like a two-year-old.
Of course the guilt overwhelmed me within minutes and I went crying to the bathroom. Afterward I apologized and we cuddled on the couch and read books, as is our habit.
(Sidenote. It's occurred to me that he instigates these fights because he likes the make-up time. Maybe he likes that closeness? I've tried majorly stepping up loving contact throughout the day - lots of kisses and hugs, verbal affirmation, etc. So far, no difference. I've even tried hugging and cuddling him in the middle of a tantrum. No joy.)
I feel like I've tried everything. I've tried speaking reasonably. I've tried singing. I've tried whispering. I've tried walking away. I've tried just locking him in a room til the tantrums over.
And I'm telling you. He WILL NOT CALM DOWN UNTIL I'VE SCREAMED AT HIM. He keeps upping the tantrum, doing more and more and more and more until I've completely lost it. And as soon as I turn into Monster Mommy, he stops. Instantly. But he WON'T STOP until then.
My record is two hours. I kept my evil half at bay, hoping OB would finally diffuse on his own. But nope. He finally won.
Lately I feel like, "well, I might as well blow up at the beginning and get it over with." But it's exhausting, screaming at my son all day. (Because it's seriously all day that's he's like this. All. Day.) I don't like the mom that I'm turning into. I'm not like this. Or, I WASN'T like this.
Funny thing is, I'm not angry at him. Really. He's not even three, for Google's sake. (Because I don't know any Petes.) Truth is, I'm angry at MYSELF. And horribly, crushingly guilty.
I feel so ... trapped lately. My kids are so on edge that I can't do anything - anything! - I want to do. (Is that not the most selfish thing you've ever heard?!) I have an entire house to decorate and make mine, and I can't even run to Jo-Anns without causing a scene. I can't go ANYWHERE without being so humiliated by my terror children that I never want to go back. I try to get out of house, do something fun with them, make some changes - but it doesn't seem to help. I try, every morning, to think, "today's going to be a good day. I decided! I will be cheerful today no matter what!"
Some days I last longer than others.
It didn't used to be like this. I swear. I mean, of course my children were not perfect angels before. They fought. They bickered. They threw tantrums and disobeyed and, yes, embarrassed me sometimes.
But not like this. This is ... not normal. Not my kids. Not ME.
And a MONTH, people. I've been on edge for way, way too long.
.... Kids are awake. I can hear them upstairs. Crying. Of course. It's 7:20AM. And the house is already in crisis.
I can't do this.
So help me, Faithful Bloggy Friends (if I have any left - I've been extremely faithless lately). What do you do when your kids are doing everything they can to explode you? I mean - what do you DO?!