Saturday, August 25, 2007

The semi Usual

A couple of nights ago, I got a phone call from a woman who was in her very first month of placement with a 10 year old boy who will hopefully become her son.

She was going BONKERS.

That is truly the best description I can think of.
I swear I could hear her vibrating through the phone.

Over fifteen years it has been just her and her husband and now, suddenly they are living with a kid with ADHD and a raft of other stuff that can come from being in the system.

We talked for nearly three hours and one of the things I came away with was a reminder of just how exhausting and overwhelming things were around here in the early months of placement.

I had honestly forgotten a lot of it, until I heard her describing the behaviours her kids was doing.

Still it isn't all gone either.
Yesterday I reminded the family at the dinner table that in about three weeks I was going away with friends and spending two nights away from home.

Monkey looked like I had slapped her, but only for a moment and then the blanked eyed mask dropped in place.

Are you okay with that? I asked her.

Mmmmhm. She nodded and concentrated on her food.

Then she was clingy all evening, distant at bedtime and came into my room and woke me up no fewer then four time in the night because she had bad dreams about some lady not being nice to her.

Yeah. Sure she is okay with it.

That combined with a few other things means that I am REALLY tired today and boy do I suck at this parenting thing when I am tired.

I'm embarrassed to admit this but I get mad.
The two of them have been here over a year and I expect them to change more in the way they handle stress and fear.

(Yes they have come a HELL of a long way but this isn't that kind of post, this post is about whining and complaining and feeling hard done by and wanting a nap and to lie in a tub full of warm, scented water, eating cream puffs and then sleeping through the night.)
* * * * * * * *
One thing that stands out in my mind from the phone conversation with the other struggling Mom, is that she asked me what we did for punishment in our home.

I was stumped because we don't punish.

Now don't get me wrong, I do yell, carry on, stomp, thump things and in general behave like as ass on what seems to be a semi-regular basis but we don't have a system where by if you do this and you are not supposed to, then you will have your favourite toy taken away.

On days when I am not tired I can go into, very eloquently, why punishment doesn't work.
Days like to day, I can tell you that I think it has to do with my incredibly short attention span and the fact that my kids' are even shorter.

And yes, on days like today, I prefer spending time with my older kids more than with my younger kids.
I'm so tired - of the constant high levels of neediness, of paying for mistakes that I didn't make.

And I am scared that I will be getting back into that awful cycle where I won't ever get enough sleep and I will never be good enough.

Of course, today, neither of my older kids happen to be in the throws of hysteria of any sort, hormonal or otherwise, if they were,
I think I might have to run away from home.


hw said...

Oh my goodness. We just returned from summer camp today. We're you in my daughter's bedroom when I tucked her in? Because that blank eyed look is the one I've been getting all night and I don't know why!

Bacchus said...

I'm really glad you write posts like this. When I have really bad "Daddy Dearest" days I feel like such a s#!t. I know every parent has them but knowing that someone as patient as you seem to be has them helps. I know it doesn't help your situation but I'm glad you write.

I think bath tubs, creme puffs and quiet should be prescribed for every parent.

ipodmomma said...

oh my goodness can I run away with you? :))))

every day is something new and on occasion I think, right. after all these years I should be gaining some wonderful insight.

but no.

if nothing else, much love is sent you way. If I could add sleep as well, it'd be done....

cloudscome said...

You know it took a really long time for me to connect "not enough sleep" with "I suck at parenting" in my mind. Glad you made the connection!

Now I really want to ask you to tell me about no punishing in your house. Even though you are too tired to talk about it, I am full of questions. How does that work? By no punishing do you mean no natural consequences or anything?

I am reading 1,2,3 Magic now and it is helping me a lot. Basically he says the key is the parents don't talk too much or get emotional when kids misbehave. You just count them down and then send them to their room for time out. So far it actually works a lot better than me going off about how disappointed I am, etc. I guess you don't have to send them to their room - it could be "time in" or whatever works for your kids to get them back on track.

I haven't read the second half, about how to get them to do what you want them to do, like get ready for school on time. I need that strategy!! I am really anxious about how the new school year is going to start, seeing as how it takes us an hour to get out the door to the grocery store.