Half Term, how are things going?
Have you ever had the complete feeling of failure and or shame upon yourself?
Well this half term taught me a huge lesson, one I am not sure I can put concisely in to words, I can only describe what happened.
Monday the first day, just me and my two children. I didn’t really take on board how excited they would be, or seemingly would be because of the week’s holidays. I myself had been looking forward to spending time with them, my eldest was going on an activity camp with his friend for Weds, Thurs and Fri but the other two we would all be together. My youngest was going to an art activity day just on the Friday. I suppose I didn’t take my mind out of the box and really think about that ‘activity’ for my youngest properly, thinking practical things like “it’s just around the corner, literally 4 mins walk (I have to take these things in consideration with my pain issues etc), plus I thought, it’s something different that he will enjoy as I am sure he ‘used’ to enjoy art and assumed he still did, though now I know his art is a little different from what you will normally find in class.
So the first morning I go downstairs, full of excitement, I am in the kitchen, getting them breakfast. First of all my youngest after dallying over what he wants to eat pulls the cereal box away from me, managing to tip all the cereal contents on the floor. Now this might not appear so bad, but here is my situation…bending down and or sweeping for me is a no no. Why? Because it will set my back off in pain which means the day is finished. Also I have a frenchie, who eats everything and at speed, he is like lightening when he sees something edible on the floor, trouble is he also has a sensitive stomach and apparently this is breed related, but often what goes down comes up again, yes much like a fly, he regurgitates his food on to the floor, which I can’t deal with all the time, mornings being the time I’d like least to deal with it. If he doesn’t eat it up again the pug does and it makes my stomach turn after a while. Afternoon is best to deal with that.
So then I have to try and get ‘someone’, one of my two children to sweep it up, this is a huge challenge, my eldest is not interested and pretending to be Kevin the teenager whilst goading the youngest who is running around the kitchen, they are both laughing and shouting at each other in equal measure.
Then we come to them wanting juice. A friend of theirs came around the other day and said”why do they still drink out of bottles?” It shocked and embarrassed me a little. I suddenly felt for my children as I had to explain that we get a few spillages and it’s just easier this way. So I had gone out and bought wide bottomed plastic cups thinking these would be sturdier and less chance of getting spilled. Oh no, within literally one minute of one cup being placed on the table, splat the entire contents were on the floor.
Meanwhile I have asked my eldest to do something in the other room divided by a glass door. Instead of opening the door, he is shouting loudly through it. He sees that I am busy yet continually makes a noise, over and over asking the same thing, getting louder and louder. I am conscious of our lodger who gives us some money to survive on, she lives in the next room to where my eldest is shouting and probably now waking her up with his yelling. I try to get the youngest to sit down whilst asking my son not to shout at me from other rooms.
My youngest gets up and starts running around the table. I try to catch him, ask him to stop, he won’t stop, my back begins to hurt, both are yelling and it all overwhelms me. I am totally out of control, my eldest laughs and they are bating each other and suddenly I see a red flag before my eyes and snap, sometimes goes, I CANNOT COPE!
At this moment a feeling of despair washes over me, my heart is racing and panic fills every pore, I am now hurting so early in the morning, I can’t cope with the noise it feels like a battering ram against my ears. I SCREAM at them, I start crying, I SHOUT AT THEM, I tell them to get out of the kitchen, to go away, to go upstairs, that I CAN’T COPE WITH THEM.
It takes a while for all of this to sink in with them, I literally shovel them out of the kitchen, my eldest looks mortified, he suddenly goes quiet and realizes the situation has rolled over to somewhere that isn’t nice, he goes, my youngest goes too! I slam the kitchen door and sob. I walk around the kitchen, manically cleaning, going in to auto mode, clearing up the mess, because it is the only thing at that moment I feel capable of doing well, the only thing I am in control of. I try to take deep breaths. Eventually I calm down.
I have to look at myself
My children do come back down in to the kitchen, we all apologize, my eldest is very tearful. We all have hugs. I feel somber, ashamed. They are fairly low key in noise at least for a while, but they remember for the next few days what happened. The rest of the half term progresses with only a couple of hitches, but nothing like that but it still plays on my mind, I am scared of how that incident made me feel.
On the Friday, we go to the Psychologist to discuss my eldest’s assessment. I find all the nuances of everything that is going on with them, sometimes overwhelming to take in, it feels like I need a degree to understand all the differing ways that their mind or body reacts in ways I am supposedly not used to and have to learn in order to support them fully.
We talk about my sons dyspraxia and word finding issues, and there is confusion and not complete understanding as to why he over thinks things, why he takes so much on board, how this impacts on his tics, how he is so down on himself, she explains the dyspraxia does this, but it scares me, the emotional side.
I see how my eldest is and apart from hideous moments as described prior, I spend every evening having cuddles with him after book reading, we talk, he does open up and no matter what I say, support him, listen, reason it doesn’t seem to make a huge difference and I need an avenue, someone to help me with this. So we start with going to see a “Behavioral Optometrist” for both boys. It’s expensive, but the Psychologist says of all the things we do, this is the one thing if it is only one, it will make such a difference. So I have to take some comfort in her words that this will help ‘us’ to understand, for my sons to understand and for us to be able to support each other as needed.
I get home. I have a call from the art club. The Owner is very nice. She apologizes to me, and says that my youngest has said continuously that he is bored all the time and is not interested in any of the activities. She apologizes that he won’t come home with anything. She says that she tried to encourage him in other things, but he just said “he was bored”. She asked him if he wanted to go home, he said “no”. He made fictional weapons and apparently went around the class banging other children on the head. He claims he asked them, she claims kids got upset. She said to me “I believe I am good with children, even the tricky ones, but I am sorry I didn’t achieve anything with your son”.
I tell her she has no need to apologize and appreciate her feedback. She says perhaps he should have more physical activities in future. She is right of course. I pick him up. His reasoning is that the subject matter for the whole day was birds, nothing else; he was waiting for something exciting. I got it wrong. I don’t think he has the attention span to do anything for a whole day of similar nature and he does need to be outside. I felt guilty for sending him there, but we needed that day for the appointment so that was all that was going on in the nearby vicinity, next time I need to work it out better, but sometimes it just seems too many balls in the air.
But the crux of the day was finding a letter, in the hallway, just by chance from my eldest to my youngest, after the Monday incident. My youngest had tried to read it; luckily he couldn’t understand it and brought it down to give back to him. This is how I found it. I won’t go in to word for word what it says, but it contained words that no parent really wants to read. He has borne the whole world upon his shoulders, feels everything is his fault, not just Monday but it appears everything around him, he takes it as his error for peoples upset, the bullying towards him, everything and I cried for so long and then a wave of fear took over me. He was staying at a friends for the night, I was desperate to get him back, we waited for him to return at the usual time, but until then I had time to think really hard.
Promises and realizations
I know that we need help as a family to deal with everything that is going on. But it became clear to me, that Monday was about all of us. It wasn’t just the kids fault; it was my own inability to deal/tolerate with the noise and activity level going on. But instead of exploding, I should have left the room, not reacted the way I did. I’m not perfect by any stretch, I hope by recognizing this though will help. We both spoke with our son. He was mortified, angry and tearful that we had found the letter. I tried to explain to him that when someone has a reaction, it’s not always about him, it’s often about the person themselves having the reaction, their own insecurities or inabilities to do things. He has to allow people to have emotions and reactions without taking them on as his error. I don’t know how we will achieve this with him, I hope it is something that when we see a Behavioral Optometrist they might be able to point us in some directions.
I promised myself that if that red flag comes up again, I will leave the room. I have to realize my own inabilities, to try to improve but also at the same time to express myself, just as my children must be allowed the same. I also though have to learn how life is for them because their activities and emotions bounce back on me and spark my own activities and emotions, so it’s a learning process throughout.
Right, I’ve talked enough, over and out for now! I hope you don’t all think badly of me, but this is a place to let out one’s feelings, perhaps someone out there feels similar, has experienced similar, it would be nice to talk to others 🙂
Love will conquer all right?
“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer: no disease that love will not heal: no door that enough love will not open…It makes no difference how deep set the trouble: how hopeless the outlook: how muddled the tangle: how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world…”