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Emotional Minefields

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.

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Ann @ Such a Mama

Sunday 7th of April 2013

I am so sorry you are having such a struggle. Being a SAHM is a whole different definition of hard. Lately I have thrown the baby in the bottom of the shower to get to use some soap on me!

Lindsey, the Redhead Baby Mama

Thursday 4th of April 2013

So hard. And no one has all the answers. I think you're doing the right thing letting our your feelings, trying to share and trying to root our a solution slowly. You're taking it one day at a time, and that's all you can really ask for!


Thursday 4th of April 2013

Yep. One day at a time. We'll take the good days when we get them and lump the bad ones together to be tossed out.


Wednesday 3rd of April 2013

Holy Hell,

Does Pea have a sensory issue? Should I take her to the doctor? Spinning in circles? Getting mad over obscene shit? Check. Check. Today she kicked a kid in class cause she was mad cause they got close & the teacher asked her to wash her hands. Needing to be near/with/ON someone. Check.

I'm sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed. I'm sorry that it seems unbearable. Been there, done that. (Or rather, doing it). I wish I could say it gets better, but honestly I don't know. I'm still going through it. But, I'm here if you need to talk or vent.


Thursday 4th of April 2013

I can't say if she does or if she doesn't but I can say that if you think there's something going on beyond normal 4 year old behavior it never hurts to talk about it. To me or to a doctor.

Thanks for being there.


Wednesday 3rd of April 2013

Oh, oldest son is the SAME WAY. It is rough. For awhile, I could barely go out in public...he'd try to hit and kick random kids as they passed us in the aisles at Target (even from the cart...!!!) and he'd growl aggressively in the faces of kids at the park and make them cry. A little scratch on his elbow? The day was over.

My kids are about the same distance apart as yours are. Things recently started to get easier. When Jack turned four, he mellowed quite a bit...he no longer attacks people in public. He's still super emotional, but he loves interacting with other kids now and he's just mellowed out a basically, no advice but I can sympathize and I hope it gets easier for you soon, too.


Thursday 4th of April 2013

He frequently growls at other children. Or shrieks. Or tucks his head and cowers away. And yet he's always loved interacting with other children. He calls everyone his friend, even if he's just met them and doesn't know their name.

Robin | Farewell, Stranger

Tuesday 2nd of April 2013

I SO know this. Connor is the same - emotional and needing way more attention than I often have to give. We need to be out of the house more so he doesn't get bored, because then the behaviour gets really bad. But it's so hard to do that with two of them - it's either a bored, misbehaving 4-year-old or a tired, cranky baby.

Re: the nap: Can you convince him to have quiet time? We started that with Connor when he stopped napping. At first it was hard to keep him in his room, and for a while we gave him the iPad with a movie just so whoever was home with him could get a break. Now he has an hour of quiet time most days - in his room, door closed, playing. He doesn't always want to go, but he usually gets into LEGO and then isn't ready to come out at the end of the hour. Major sanity-saving tactic. And it's good for him to be able to play on his own a bit too.


Thursday 4th of April 2013

Yeah, I'm finding that two of them, particularly now that Emma is walking, getting us all out of the house when they have such different schedules. This is hard. HARD. So hard I'm not sure I even used a complete sentence just now.

The trouble with quiet time is that he doesn't know how to be quiet. LOL. He has this constant need to be entertained and stimulated, so he has a really hard time laying down and resting. He would play the iPad for quiet time, but then his behavior is worse when quiet time is over than it was before QT began.

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