Saturday, July 18, 2009

Get ready for some serious stream of consciousness

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.

Change me.

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?!

41 comments:

Katrina said...

Oh man. I am sorry. Normally I would say don't give any attention to the bad behavior. Stick him time out and leave him alone until he's calm and then really up the positive attention whenever he's not having a tantrum. But it sounds like you already did that. I have no idea. Last summer Grace, who is usually the easy one, turned into demon child. She was 5 and had serious crying tantrums every day. It was exhausting. I swear she spent the entire summer in time out. Eventually she got over it. Now she's back to her usual sweet, easy self. In fact, she hasn't had a single time out since we've moved back here.

SO said...

First off I'm sorry you are struggling with this right now. How difficult! Especially when you are in a new home and area and haven't had the chance to make any friends.

Secondly what I have been known to do is throw a tantrum myself. A screaming, crying, kicking on the floor tantrum. It has been known to shock the kid into being quiet when they see how crazy I'm acting. And I keep on doing that as soon they start throwing a fit. When they are quiet then I try to talk to them about how I acted was it good? Did they like it? Etc.

My kids also have been put into their rooms as soon as they start screaming with the phrase "It sounds like you need a little bedroom time." This is done as calmly as possible although. And they are informed that they are to stay in the room until they can come out and talk to me in a normal voice. If they come out of the room still in tantrum mode I calmly (as calmly as I can) take them by the hand and lead them back into the room again using the phrase "It sounds like you need a little bedroom time." And keep doing that until they have calmed down enough to come out and discuss their behavior. They are given warnings that they are heading towards "bedroom" time but only if they don't go full on into tantrum mode. No matter what if they go into tantrum mode they are sent to their room for bedroom time. Automatically. Do not pass go, do not collect $100. This whole idea comes from a class that I took called "Parenting with Love and Logic" And is has worked.

That said I am also a screamer. So I have had to work and work and work at not yelling at my kids. I usually fail miserably.

My oldest son has autism and can't stand it when anyone is in trouble and getting yelled at. He has taught me much.

Good luck with your OB and your other two! It sounds like he is testing limits and trying to understand all this newness. I hope that sickness stays away from your house and that you can find something that works. Good luck!

Happy Mom said...

I've been reading along for a while, but don't believe I've ever posted, so here goes.

Oh, I remember the day!!! The guilt, the desire to get a job, the feeling that you can't do it anymore, I get it all.

My number five was simply born ornery. No health problems, just ornery. By the time she was two, I was at my wits end! My husband pointed out to me that I was being too patient with her. "What!? Too patient? You've got to be kidding me! I turn into the witch mom every single day! Often multiple times!!! What do you mean, I'm too patient?!" He calmly explained that I was trying to reason with her and talk her into acting appropriately. "She's only two. She needs you to make her act appropriately."

It was a new thought for me and after some long discussions, flushing it out, I decided that my new approach was essentially this. I asked her to do something. If she didn't immediately do it, I simply said something like, "You can choose, do it by the time I count to three, or your in the corner." And I started counting. If I got to three, she was in the corner. It was something she hated, and so I'd been doing what I could to prevent it. But, no more. I showed no mercy. She did what I said, or she was in the corner. She was only two, so it was only two minutes, but she HATED those two minutes with her whole little soul.

This was not my nature. I'm not a "my way or the highway" kind of person. But I was going nuts, so I was willing to try anything. And very soon, she started acting appropriately. Not all of the time, mind you, but enough to give a mother some hope!

Eventually, she was livable again. But, still, everytime I started easy up on her, inching away from my drill-seargent personae, she reverted right back to the terror child. The stricter I was with her, the happier she became.

This may not be any help to you, but it was a life saver for me!!

Good luck!! You'll figure it out. And at some point, this will all be a distant memory.

Deb said...

First thing: every one of us has been there. Really. Don't allow your idea of other people's perception of your family to make you feel worse.

Second thing: it will be okay. Establishing an entire new routine is really hard, it takes time. You haven't even had a chance yet. The move combined with the illnesses means that you guys still need to find "normal." OB will get there, you just have to endure.

Third thing: it's okay to not be supermom every day. Every summer I go from hardly seeing my kids at all to seeing my kids all day, every day, and it's hard. We have blow-ups, we have fights. It's difficult.

Ideas that worked with Princess when she was so, so terrible: When he's calm, talk to OB about the screaming fits. I used "spoiled brat" and "good princess." I explained that the "spoiled brat" gets time out, spanks, and other punishments. The "good princess" gets rewards, special time with mom or dad, etc. When she would start a fit, I would sit her down and say, "Do you want to be the spoiled brat or the good princess?" then send her off to think about it.

Don't reward the bad behavior. If you're going to punish, punish. He needs to learn to apologize and feel bad for bad behavior. At least, that's what has worked for me, but I don't have your expertise.

I wish you luck and send you love. I know it's not easy, but I'm always here.

Julia said...

i'm so sorry. i'm a very unpatient screamer mom. i have no words of wisdom for you (although i really like the thought of throwing an all out tantrum myself, might have to try that.) my kids are really struggling this summer and i think right now it is the heat. they can't even step outside so they are miserable. good luck and hang in there!

janae said...

I'm so sorry. I really am. Because I'm in the same boat. It's two year-olds. Moving throws them off worse than it does anyone else. I know this because I moved with a two year-old (nearly three, but still two) last spring, and then I did it again this spring with a different two year-old. (Oh, the blessings of having kids so close together!) It's hard. And, unfortunately, it takes a good 3-4 months before they feel secure again. But each month is progressively better than the last.

Not that you need my advice, but here it is: prevention is the best policy. Use distraction, use games, use whatever you can, but try to keep the fits from happening in the first place. You'll start noticing that certain things will cue you that he is losing control, so jump in then. Give up cleaning, give up cooking, get by on the bare minimum of house keeping. And give the boys all the love and attention you can possibly muster up. Oh, and be a consistent as you can with morning routines, lunch time, bed time, nap time, whatever you do every day. The more things they can count on, the faster they adjust.

Good luck!!

Vanessa said...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could say what works w/one kid would work with another? Currently w/my two year old, I have to give her choices: "You may choose to lick the batter I gave you, or go to your time out spot if you are going to cry." But, I"m no expert.

Hang in there! And I am sure it is hard to have to be inside all day w/the hot AZ heat! That probably doesn't help!

Kimberly said...

First: Sorry.

Second: Been there. Majorly. Went through the same thing with Emma when we moved from Oregon to BC. It took me more than a month to ask for help (err, about 8, I think it was), so kudos.

The answer for us was for Mommy/Emma time. A specific set aside time just for us that was articulated as such. I changed the nap schedule so the girls didn't nap at the same time anymore (cringe) and spent time with Emma while Becca napped. It was exhausting, but the pay off was huge (eventually...results were not immediate...at all...). Also, lots of spontaneous cuddles and reading spurts and help-me-make-cookies-Emma throughout the day. I pretty much smothered her with attention so she didn't even have the chance to ask for it.

It wore me out. Majorly.

Eventually, she didn't need it as much...there was a sort of weaning process. She's now one of the most independent kids you could ever meet.

Don't know if that helps. I imagine having your stuff and a routine and all kinds of other things that are lacking right now will also help, but a month is a LONG time to be stressed at such an intense level. You must be so exhausted. ~hugs~

Brittany Ann said...

I don't know if you want company right now, but, we are going through much the same thing with our oldest son right now. He's barely three, he's telling me "No," he's being spiteful, he's being vindictive, and he's tearing up the house. Our goal right now is no yelling, and it's been hard to stick to that, all I can say is keep praying, keep reading your scriptures, it'll I can do right now, and I can usually feel it at work in my life. Good luck!

Danielle said...

I've never posted before either, but I love Brazil too and I've loved following your blog. We have a really tough two-year old. I'll leave at that and spare you the details. I was a Family Science major too and taught Elementary School in inner city schools, yet all of that training still didn't prepare me for this! They day-in-day-out, nighttimes included, HARD. I've read tons and the one I go back to again and again for this category of "hard stuff" is The Happiest Toddler on the Block. And like one other commenter said, when she hits a stage, I forget everything else. I have minimum routines to keep the house going and to keep the kids on a consistent schedule, but otherwise I set aside projects, major cleaning, everything else, and just focus on all of the kids but especially her. I also change naptimes so that the kids nap on different schedules and she and I can have some quality time together. Good luck and hang in there!

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

I wish I had advice for you, but you've been offerred lots of that. So here's what I can offer:

I'll pray for you. I put your name on the prayer roll at our temple.
I'm praying you find a way to get through to your boy and that you feel supported as you make changes. I'm praying you make a friend, because it sounds to me like you are a woman in desperate need of of girls night.

Have you had your husband give all of you a blessing? That might help to.

I know you can do it. All the girls who love Harry Potter are stronger than they think.

Floyd said...

You need to call Reva. We're going throught the EXACT same thing with our little one. The move has been harsh on her. Two words- TV. Seriously. Call me a bad parent if you want, but you can't argue with results.

Wendy said...

We've all been there sometime... happens all the time in our home, I am lucky enough to have 6 kids (10, almost 9, 6 and three 3 years old)lucky is not how I always feel, 3 tantrums all at once is not fun.
As others have said you just have to wait it out( the age not the tantrum) our kids usually get a choice stay here and have some fun or go to your room until you calm down and then we can talk about it. That said I think we've had to come up with some different coping strategy for each child. Good luck just hang in there, try to remember you love your children, no-one ever said we always have to like them all the time, just love them....

Sarah said...

I love it when you post about normal things like this because then I feel more like you ARE normal and I am too.
I scream at my kids way too often, I admit, but sometimes I just have to let it out. It's something I'm working on. And the terrible 2's is a terrible name. It's the 3's that are the WORST.
I would say two things: first, it's ok, give yourself a break. It'll get better because you clearly want it to get better. Second, just give it some time. The kids are very unsettled, you're very unsettled. Once you have your "stuff" it will feel more right. Your kids are probably bored and scared, not a good combo. Creating a new normal takes time. Last - did I say 2 things? - I love you. We love you. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it - even if you haven't made friends yet. Giving someone a chance to serve you might just open the door.
<3

Mrs. M said...

So sorry. Yes, I think we all have an evil twin, as I call myself when I yell (or worse) at my kids.

I was going to suggest some serious outside time every day to wear them out, and then someone else mentioned the AZ heat, so maybe that's not an option. Is there a swimming pool? An indoor bouncy place that you could get a membership to? Is there a local MOMS club to join? MOMS club saved me when my boys were 3 and 1.

When does school start? I know OB is only 3, but maybe there is a weekly or bi-weekly preschool he can participate in, a co-op maybe? (Less expensive) Or a class at the local YMCA or Rec Center? OOH, check the YMCA for family memberships - those usually include 2 free hours of childcare every day while you are in the building. And they don't care WHAT you are doing in the building. I used to go every day, sometimes exercise, always shower and often read or write in my journal. It was my ME time.

Anyway, good luck! Things will settle down, I'm sure.

Michelle said...

I feel your pain sister! My daughter will be three next month and I go through that EXACT thing mulitple times a day. To top it all off, we're trying to potty train AND nap time has been eliminated (NOT my choice, by the way!) all at the same time.

Part of it I already know is somewhat my fault because I am NOT consistent at all...in anything. WIth keeping a schedule, but wow the fits this kid throws!

I've been reduced to tears on more that one occasion in just the past couple days.

And here lately it has not helped to have people tell me to be more Christlike and patient. It reminds me of a part of one of my favorite movies:

Princess Mia: "I lost it. Sometimes you just lose it!"
Queen Clarice: "Other people 'lose it.' We're supposed to find 'it.'"

However, it does help to know that regardless of what my friends know about my "discipline" they still tell me that I'm doing the best I can with the situation. I'm being the best mom I know how to be. I know that I have PLENTY to work on, but for some reason, having them tell me that does not make me feel guilty. It does help.

Also, did I mention a bubble bath and LOTS of chocolate? Trust me, there is NOTHING wrong with a little "me time." Or as my OB?GYN says to me "You're still young! Be a chick!" (LOL) Put out an email for a babysitter and have a date night! :o)

I hope this random rambling made sense and that it helps. I hope you find comfort in know that you are NOT the only one in this position. (It helped me to read others advice from this blog too. See? You're STILL helping others too!) :o)

Kazzy said...

Oh man, those tantrum days are soooo tough. Have you tried disciplining him in Portuguese?

When my kids threw fits over small little things like that I would come very close to losing it. So sorry.

You have friends and support here. It will all settle down.

wonder woman said...

First: I love you. I really wish I could give you a real hug and say that this WILL pass. Eventually. And I have been there.

Second: One commenter mentioned The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I read it because The Happiest Baby on the Block changed my world as a parent. Toddler wasn't as great, but one thing I learned has honestly helped me so much with my boys.

They need to know you understand EXACTLY what they're saying. I repeat almost everything my boys tell me. "I'm spiderman!" "You're spiderman? That's awesome!" They need to know I know what they're saying. This also heads off the tantrums. When the Hulk (aptly names because he's like OB) I have conditioned myself to figure out what he's saying before it escalates. He's only 3 and I don't understand every word, but I try and repeat it till I get it right.

One other thing the book mentioned that I tried was matching the level of intensity. It sounds like you're doing this and it works. After reading that I should matche the level of instensity, I tried it a few times, but it just made the Hulk madder. Obviously not everything is going to work for every kid, but it sounds like that's what OB needs from you. He needs to know that you know how mad he is. When you respond calmly, he may think you aren't getting him. So the yelling not only gets his attention, but it affirms his feelings. (Make sense?)

So my advice in a nutshell: Make sure he knows YOU know what he's saying. Use the same words, same tone of voice.

I wish I lived close to you. I'll bet just having some other boys to rough around with would help a lot. Keep looking for friends within the ward. There are people there who will be so blessed to call you a friend. Look for other little boys and slightly frazzled mommas. And remember, this really won't last forever. ♥♥

Tamra Watson said...

Girl,

I know I'm not a mom, and I don't have a degree in family or child development or any of the above. But I am (insert your last name here); and if its one thing about our family is we don't do change well. I think it runs in our veins along with that faith DNA.

Still, in my last months of change I've noticed some things that help me, especially in my recent life change.

1-Finding familiarity: Ponies, Temple, Church, etc; Things that make me emotionally stable, bring me comfort.

Remember you always said that OB is a reactor to your emotions? Have you ever thought that he's stressed, because you are? Maybe you're feeling out-of-balanced too, but trying to figure out what's wrong with him, when he's really just trying to tell you that your stressed: stressed about creating order within the house, not blogging, being far from friends in a foreign country, stressed in adjusting to a new place. Just a thought, and it could sound totally goofy, but try to give some more time to yourself. (Even if that means giving Squishy to Your Man for Relief Society)


2-Music, soothing music--it invites the spirit and helps me to stay off edge. At the same time the words of hymns and other songs often are the answers to my prayers.

3-Priesthood; bless the house, bless the kids, bless you, bless the word. (dude now I sound like a preacher) Still, it works, use it.

4-Buy a brand new plate at Walmart and drive to a weird place and bust it. Its an amazing way to get rid of frustration :).

5-Take a random trip to Oklahoma :) and stay up the whole night talking with your sister-in-law, go horseback riding and swin in a pool :).

Melanie J said...

Oh, boy.

I'm bookmarking this post because we're moving next summer when our little one is almost three and I'm going to need all this great advice, too.

I think getting over the illnesses will help and I think giving it time will help too.

Since I lose my patience on a regular basis, I'm going to refrain from offering any advice. I have none!

Megan said...

Just a tip I received from a friend... and I thought it was bogus until I moved with a toddler:

Figure out what day marks 6 weeks from your move and prepare yourself. At about that point, our psyche realizes that something's permanently changed and it manifests itself. I've moved twice since then and experienced the death of my mother and by golly if it's not accurate!

Julie said...

Dude, I so totally love you. But you already know that.

Rachel Sue said...

1. Pray

2. Priesthood blessings

3. Pray

4. Eat ice cream. As much as you want.

5. Pray

6. Stop feeling guilty. You are doing the best that you can and you know it.

7. Pray

8. Never, ever give up on him.

9. Know that all your blog friends out there are praying for you. Good luck.

Erin said...

Last year I was living in an upstairs apartment in Iowa and the work-from-home-single-lady who lived below me and knocked on my door and told me that my kids were jumping too hard on her ceiling made me cry. Because I knew it was going to be a long winter. With a woman below me who had no compassion over the fact that I had two young boys who like to run and play in their own house. I had to remind myself that this was only temporary, and that I had to do whatever I could to survive those difficult moments. Even if it meant allowing them to watch four hours of television in one day. Or go to Wal-Mart and run up and down the aisles during the winter because there was nothing else to do. You just do what you can, don't feel guilty because you know you are doing the best you can AT THAT EXACT MOMENT, and it will get better. Good luck my dear!

Becca said...

I know your first attempts at socializing was a failure, but maybe you should try and set up play dates for OB. Go for the mom that has 5 kinds under the age of 8 and looks frazzled. They will probably say yes to getting the kids out of the house for two hours. Then put them in the backyard with a sprinkler. You don't need furniture to use a sprinkler. It will give you a break from the one on one tantrum action, and give your kids something fun to do. Maybe OB just needs some kid socializing? It might at least make him less likely to throw a tantrum while they are there.

In fact, I would guess in my totally not family sciences degree, that it might be a good idea to just buy some kind of furniture. Any kind. Even if its an inflatable bed that you turn into a couch for the last few days/weeks/eons until you get your furniture. Or close to free, or completely free, not that great of quality furniture. (You should check out freecycle in your area. You can always put the things up there to give away after your stuff finally comes in.)

Square Root of Family said...

They should never have named it Family "Science", should they? What a misleading name!

You know how when someone is about to get baptized, or go to the temple for the first time, it is as if everything combines against them at once to make life miserable and keep it from happening? I think the same thing hold true for anything we do that represents an important step in the right direction. So, while there may be no logical explanation for it, your family experiencing so much adversity throughout this whole moving experience has got to be an indication of how strong your family is an how much a disturber to the adversary you all are. Whether Your Man is about to become Bishop again, or you're about to become Relief Society President, or whether there are other significant blessings you'll bring to your neighborhood and community, it seems pretty clear that all forces have combined to make it all as difficult as possible.

Your poor kids--so much sickness, transition and everything else. If it were my kids, I'd just be glad they still remember how to walk and that they didn't regress so far that they needed to be potty trained again.

In the field of family therapy, they talk a lot about loss and how when it is anything other than a death or divorce, we sometimes don't realize how powerful losses are in our lives. That goes for young kids as well as parents. Some people handle loss by pretending it isn't happening until they suddenly break down and crash one day. Others, especially kids, handle it by becoming aggressive and difficult. Others withdraw. Especially when we aren't able to put words to it, loss can eat us up. Trying to get someone (adult or child) to "behave" who is being torn apart going through significant loss is a losing cause. It's like asking someone who is being electrocuted to hold still and stop twitching.

What heals loss for children? Time, patience, making new friends, playing, ice cream cones, crying, screaming, ripping up some things, kicking, remembering happy memories, pictures, special blankets, coloring, singing, and slowly starting to feel secure in their new environment. What heals loss in big kids/adults? Lots of the same things.

Good luck, and hope things start to feel better soon!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

With all due respect to the previous commenters, I ignored them because I didn't want it to influence what I might say. :) I read this post earlier today and I've been thinking about you all afternoon (really)... not in an oh-how-I-pity-her kind of way, but in a boy-do-I-get-it-and-I-hope-she-knows-how-universal-this-is kind of way. So here are some of my thoughts and testimonials.

- Get a blessing. We don't have to be sick to acknowledge our struggles before God and seek some immediate comfort and advice. Do it. It will help.

- Talk openly and honestly with your spouse about it. Pray together. The two of you together were equipped with everything OB needs. Draw on your teamwork and covenant power.

- Create some really intentional OB time, even if means getting a babysitter for the other two, and taking OB on some of your errands with you as special mommy time. Mix in business and pleasure... Joann's and Dairy Queen.

- Start each day with an expression of love for him and some cuddle time. End each day the same way. Even if there are lots of mess-ups during the day (and there will be... it's okay), he will end and begin each day assured of your love.

- How is FHE going? There's no rule it can ONLY be once a week. Bring the spirit in as often as you can. It will help.

- You can do this. Absolutely no one else in all eternity is better equipped to be OB's mother. No one. Flaws and all. They are part of the package that was designed for his good. "I can do all things through Christ who strenghteneth me." Lots of prayer... sometimes pleading for help, sometimes pleading for forgiveness... it's a process that sanctifies us.

- Know that you're not alone in this kind of struggle. It is the dark, secret side of motherhood-- the refiner's fire that helps us to discover the parts of ourselves we don't like and didn't know were there. But knowing they are there helps us realize how much more we need the Savior, so ultimately they are a blessing.

I've said way more than you or your readers needed to hear I'm sure, but thanks for giving me a chance to reaffirm some truths that are becoming part of my "motherhood testimony." Love you.

InkMom said...

I'm e-mailing you right now.

And don't you love the idea that somewhere, in a temple, the name "That Girl" is on the prayer roll? I love it. We don't know your name, but we know you enough to pray for you by "name". Beautiful.

Sharon said...

Wow. You have received so much good advice that I don't know what else to add. Except that this too shall pass. And it'll be the summer you look back on and laugh. Or shudder. Probably both. I agree with the amazing previous posters. I especially second the "get a blessing" suggestion. Print out the comments and pray. You can find peace even in the Arizona heat.

Take care,
Sharon

Tobi said...

My husband is deploying again in November. Your blog describes my future.

With my kids the tantrums and bad behavior lasted two months before we settled into our new "Daddy-less" routine.

It's hard. It really bites and you don't want to do it. I get you. I'm really sorry.

gina said...

Adjustments are rough, for your children and for you. You may still be grieving over loss of friends there, or be uncertain about your future here, or stressed about all the changes, all of which your children will pick up on. (no guilt here; it just happens!) Plus they are going through their adjustments as well. I remember you posting on Brazilians accepting an wider range of behaivor from kiddos, and that it was very different from the States. Could that have anything to do with it? Other peoples expectations? At least when out it public. The culture here is very different( I don't need to tell you!) and maybe they are being expected to conform too soon. Or I could be totally off; if so just ignore me! Either way, it sounds awful and I hope it gets better for you soon. Hang in there and know that you are not alone; we all feel like monster mommies sometimes.

zannyzoozoo said...

Wow, what inspiring advice from your incredible friends in the blogging community. I cannot add much to their advice but I can relate to your experiences.

We're preparing to move across the country next month and I can already see a change in my children's behavior as we adjust to the idea of leaving our beloved home in Tennessee.

Thanks for sharing. In doing so, you have allowed so many to provide service and so many to be uplifted besides yourself. What an incredible tool the Lord has provided in allowing women from all across the world to support and uplift each other through the modern conveniences of the internet.

And always remember, you are not alone. You are loved. Make sure you find some time each day to allow the spirit to tesitify of this to you. The spirit will sanctify you and that alone can get you through anything. I know - I've been to h*ll and back in this life!

I too will add you to my prayers. Hang in there...

gigi said...

Praying for you and your little family. Change is hard. Hang in ther and know that you are really not alone in this.
Blessings...

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

Oh, I so know how you feel. Your #2 sounds an awful lot like my #2. Just think if they were to get married and have kids?! Aaahhh!!! My #2 is so sensitive...to my feelings, environment, change in routine...everything. I'm not a big fan of parenting books, but there is one that has literally changed my life and brought me back from the brink of a very bad place. It's called Raising Your Spirited Child. But the most important thing is that you really are doing your best and that is all anyone can ever do. And, to be perfectly honest, with #1 the 3's were much worse. Which makes me absolutely terrified for #2 to turn 3....but I try not to think about that....

I hope things get better for you soon soon soon. And I agree with whoever said to print this out and refer to it. We all need positive reinforcement.

Also, my word verification is bless. That's got to be a good sign, right?! OK, I'll stop now...

JustRandi said...

I am so sorry. All my early childhood classes told me the ezact things you've already figured out.
I wonder if getting out of the house might help?
You could go swimming, or to the mcDonalds playplace, or just anywhere.
That's all I've got. Oh, well that and a prayer and a cyberhug!

Christa Jeanne said...

Oh, honey - I just read this post and want to give you the BIGGEST hug in the world!!! I'm totally devoid of any advice on this one, but I do want to affirm that you are such an amazing gal, and I can infer from your posts that you're also a wonderful mother. Hang in there, friend. I hope his Terrible Two-ness / Middle Child need for attention shakes out before your sanity and patience run out. Meanwhile, I'll send some prayers your way. Love you!

DeNae said...

I didn't read anyone else's comments, so I don't know if you've already been given this advice, but mine is...medication.

You're overwhelmed. You're depressed. (I know, I haven't met you, but I'd wager anything you've got you're dealing with depression) And I guarantee you, you're running on empty.

Your kids sense this, and they're acting on it.

See a doctor, get some meds, and get on top of what you've been going through over the last five-plus months. This pre-dates the move. You've been emptying your well since your husband first started looking for another job, and the solution is filling back up and letting time pass.

I really have been there, Rebecca. E-mail me. We'll commiserate.

The Watsons said...

I swear that it was me that wrote that post not you! Macee is acting the exact same way and I am at my wits end! I will definitely be reading all of these comments trying to get some good ideas on how to handle her!

Hel said...

So, I am in Mesa for two more weeks. My mother-in-law has a pool. Would you like a play date? And if you think I am trustworthy you can give me your kids for a day.

Because I KNOW exactly how lonely it is when you move. And I KNOW what it's like to not have anyone to dump your kids on.

PLEASE let me do this for you, because one day I will need it from someone else.

Melissa Bastow said...

So it took me forever to remember that you switched blogs, now that you're all moved and stuff.

I wanted to say that I can completely relate. Except blowing up at my button pushing child doesn't even work. And he was born like that, so it's always been what you described and will probably continue to be so until he moves away as an adult. 'Tis not cool. Not cool at all. So yeah, I get it. And sorry - no insights other than GET OUT. GET OUT NOW! (Not as in, leave your kids and run back to Brazil or anything, but make your husband watch your kids, every evening if need be, so you can do whatever you want to do. Otherwise you'll seriously go crazy - which is where I am. Obviously.)

Tami said...

Being a military family, we've moved. . .ALOT! I remember 3 being the most difficult age to move for my oldest. I think they are old enough to know they miss something, but don't have the insight or words to express it.
You have gotten some great advice. I think the biggest thing is to acknowledge his sadness, but don't let it be an excuse. I know you are sad, but it is not okay to throw shoes at mommy. Then tell him what is an acceptable way to handle his anger/frustration.
I completely agree with children picking up on our stress and acting out. So do let your husband take over with the kiddos from time to time, and hit JoAnns alone or with only one child as a treat.
Another thing that helped me was a gratitude journal. Each night I would sit down and write 5 things that I liked about my son or my life. You know when it really helped me get a better attitude. When you are stuck with dealing with all of the tantrums you forget the cute sweet stuff they do, and those are the treasures to cling to. This will pass. Remember how lonely you were when you first moved to Brazil? Remember how long it took to feel at home there? Hang in there, you are not alone. I'm in the middle of another move, and once again have a 3 year old. You are a great mommy, don't forget that truth.