I started this post last night and the direction it was taking was not where I wanted it to go. It’s still not where I want it mostly because I don’t know where it’s going other than out of my brain. All of these things have happened over the past few weeks and they are all related but also maybe not related yet swirling around in there in need of a purge.
So, here’s the flotsam:
1. Joshua has stopped napping.
It’s brutal. As the week progresses he gradually starts waking up earlier and earlier in the morning and then by the weekend, he’s a bear. An under-slept, grumpy, wired like he’s on kiddie crack bear. It makes everything incredibly emotional for him and he doesn’t understand that if he slept he’d feel better.
I can’t make him sleep. I try to make him lay down and rest or do quiet activities every day, but I can’t make him sleep.
2. He spits when he’s angry or upset. Or he hits. Or kicks.
No idea where he learned this one. But Tuesday he spit at his teacher because he was frustrated that I left him at school when he asked to come home with me and said he didn’t want to be there. Spit. At his teacher.
Last weekend he spit in the floor in Home Depot while screaming his head off in the paint department and crying “don’t leave me here! DON’T LEAVE ME HERE!” like that was something I would do.
One day he spit all over the checkout at Target because he was mad about a sticker.
Mortified is my new middle name.
3. He started OT this week.
The OT said he did great and he tried everything she asked him to do. She assured me that his issues are minimal. We will see results quickly. But he’s not very aware of what to do in certain situations. He doesn’t know when to ask for help. He doesn’t always react appropriately to frustration.
4. I withdrew him from school.
This has actually been building. He’s been having some really bad days there, like the one above. The fluctuation in his routine contributed greatly, I think. Home with me where the structure is loose, school with a definite structure the next day, home, school, home home home. He would nap there but not here which screwed up bedtime and wake time here. But then he would act out there in ways that he wouldn’t here. (There were plenty of good days, to be fair.)
It just built and built to the point that I wondered if he was being more of a distraction to the other kids in his classroom than anything else. Since he wasn’t going every day, the academic impact of being there was lessened and the benefit was mostly social time. I can find other social activities for him to do for the next few months while we wait for pre-k to start in August.
When I got a phone call letting me know that he had spit, my heart sank a little. He wanted me and I left him. And as a result of leaving him, he spent the entire day frustrated and angry and not really sure how to communicate that except for lashing out at people.
He’s had a lot of days like this lately. Days where he’s full of piss and vinegar and ready to explode on the person who crosses his path.
And I wonder how much of his reactions are because of my reactions.
How much of his tiny 3-year-old rage is a mirror of my own anger when I’m frustrated? With him? With myself?
I know that it’s important that kids see a full range of reactions to situations. That they understand the vast array of emotions that exist. But if I’m being honest, there are definitely times over the past 9 months of having him home when my reactions have been less than awesome. They’re not the kind of reactions that I want him to emulate.
I mean, I don’t SPIT at him, and quite honestly have no idea where or when he learned to spit. But I don’t always use my words when I’m mad. And if I do, they’re harsh words, bitten off. Angry.
Thursday morning he said “I don’t wanna go to school, Mama. I want to stay here with you.” So that was it. I didn’t send him.
I couldn’t send him on Thursday knowing how Tuesday had gone. I couldn’t risk putting him through that again. So I didn’t. And then I took it a step further and decided that instead of submitting him to the back and forth, I’d just keep him home with me.
And then on Friday he asked to go see his friends.
Parenting isn’t easy, in case you hadn’t noticed. It’s full of second guesses and what ifs and hoping beyond hope that you’re making the right call. That you’ll be able to do it without screwing up.