Ever since Joshua was a baby, it’s been clear that he’s a deeply emotional kid, prone to outbursts of the epic variety at the slightest provocation. Or sometimes without being provoked at all.
I’m trying to get our days more organized and scheduled since his therapist recommended that as a way to help him out a little, but I’m kind of floundering a bit. I feel like I’m failing.
I can’t seem to come up with a schedule that meets the needs of all three of us. Someone is always getting the shaft and in a lot of ways that can’t be Emma right now. She’s the most demanding physically and requires the most redirection. But that means that Joshua isn’t getting the attention from me that he needs. I could use her nap time to give him that, but then I can’t shower and take care of myself. And probably 4 days a week, I don’t shower or take care of myself. At least not when he’s awake.
I’m almost a year into this and I’m still fighting the same battle. It’s beginning to feel never ending. That there will never be a moment where I feel I’ve hit my stride and I’m capable of balancing them both.
Compounding everything is the fact that he’s given up his nap. I can’t even really make him lay down and rest most days and he doesn’t understand why resting is good for him. And for me.
And if he does understand, he’s doing an amazing job of pretending he doesn’t.
Everything has gotten worse since he stopped napping. Way worse.
So much worse that from 2:00 p.m. on, we’re pretty much trapped at home because I’m navigating my way through an emotional minefield of rage and tears. His and sometimes mine.
If we do venture out of the house, say to the playground like yesterday, he screams at the other kids who come near him. He thinks they’ll try to touch his bubbles or his sister or they’re just too close and SCREAM!
Or he falls down more often than usual and it’s the end of the universe even if he’s not visibly injured. And when we’re at the playground, or even outside in the yard, I’m also chasing a now-mobile baby, usually in an opposite direction.
I feel like a neglectful parent because I can’t watch them both and Joshua practically requires someone to play with. But when he screams at the other kids who come near him, he’s not exactly making friends.
He’ll be great and I’ll think that today is the day we’ll have a great day and there will be compliance and no meltdowns. And then suddenly he’s not great at all.
He’ll fall to pieces because Emma looked at him. Or he bumped his leg on the table and it hurts like he’s been shot in the arm. Or I gave him the peanut butter sandwich he asked for but he really wants grilled cheese and not peanut butter. Or the dog, who has been laying on the rug asleep, has licked her chops and made a sound. And then he’s wailing about it.
There’s a lot of screaming and yelling and anger and sensory-seeking behavior, like spinning in circles. And touching me.
He must be touching me. A foot in my lap. Sharing a single cushion on the 108″ couch. In my lap. I’m his lovey.
I try to give him as much of that as I can stand because I know that he seeks touch to calm himself. But I reach my limit after being touched continuously for so long.
He has invisible issues that the people who see him melting down in public don’t know about. I feel like I should carry a sign that says “My kid has a sensory processing issue. Stop staring. Where are your manners?”
But I don’t have that sign. I just try to hide my exasperation (and often fail to do so) and get both of my children out of wherever it is we are. And if we’re at home, on the really bad days I just count down the minutes until Dan gets home to help.
He’s over-tired. Every day. I am over-tired. Every day. And the mood swings as a result of his over-tiredness and sensory issues are awful.
This is really hard, y’all.
I feel completely beaten up by the emotions of someone half my size and 2/15ths my age.
And no, I didn’t do come up with that fraction in my head. Who do you think I am?
Math is hard. So is motherhood.