It’s been a bad day and this is one of those hammering it out on my keyboard before I have a nervous breakdown sort of posts but somehow it is sort of important to me to write it all down and think about what happened, why and what I can possibly do about it. I don’t expect you to actually read it, I just need to get it out of my head before I go to bed or I will not sleep well. This sort of day is one of the reasons why I started the blog in the first place, my counsellor thought it was a marvellous idea!
Often at a weekend we have a full range of activities planned but after the summer holiday extravaganza of going out nearly every day I decided it was time to pull back a little, have one day out and one day in, I can’t cope with being out all of the time and the house is suffering for it, little jobs getting ignored, the grass growing too long in the garden. Our family therapist seemed to think that by going out all the time we are just running from the issues (I call it diverting and winning the battle without it being a battle but ho-hum you say tomato, etc).
So far the day in does not really go very well at all, we have not had one where it hasn’t ended up in tears from one of them, both of them or me…or well if I’m honest all of us together, me usually hiding out in the bathroom having a little self-indulgent snivel, it’s cathartic to let it out i tell myself.
Every morning when Boy gets up the trouble begins, the fighting, the demands, the boisterous behaviour. On a school day the behaviour disappears as soon as Girl is out of sight. On a day-out day we strap them in their car seats and let them run it off somewhere, yesterday was the seaside, I’m not saying day out days are perfect but they are better. On a day-in day there is no getting away from it, Boy wants to be centre of everybody’s attention…and so does Girl. Battle commences.
So what happened today? Well, Boy was in one of his worse demanding moods, “I want this, I want that” and a lot of world is ending noises when his demands are either not met or not met straightaway (“I’m hungry”, “ok lunch is cooking”, that sort of thing) and Girl has been up and down herself recently, hard to read. We have had the full gamut of attachmenty behaviours from both of them today and I will tell you about the worst ones (far too many to tell you everything, it would be like trying to write War and Peace in one sitting).
Girl started the day being obsessive and weird about her new object of desire, a dreamcatcher. In theory it’s a lovely concept but bad dreams and nightmares are already a bit of an issue for Girl, it’s a subject she likes to talk about a lot so an object that makes her think about nightmares even more is not ideal for us. They have been studying dreamcatchers at school and immediately Girl started fretting because she did not have one and was sure to have nightmares. In truth I don’t actually know whether she has that many nightmares, certainly not night-terrors, she sleeps like the dead once she is gone and rarely rouses. This morning Girl brought down the dreamcatcher that nanny gave her to shake the dreams out in the garden, there was an object in the way of the back door that I had put there the previous night. It was easy to move but needed two hands. Girl went into panic mode, using two hands would mean that she had to let go of the dreamcatcher for a nanosecond. You could see her start to hyperventilate. I explained that she needed to put it down for a moment, I was busy and she did accept what I was telling her but she didn’t particularly like it. She spent the next five minutes vigorously shaking the dreamcatcher outside and then she spent ten minutes messing with it and handling it and broke it. If Girl has a new object of desire it’s very, very hard for her to put it down, it’s almost like she is terrified of the object not being in her hands (don’t get me started on the new glasses case that she spent a full 48 hours opening and snapping closed and took to bed with her).
Boy has spent the entire day blaming Girl for every little thing that has gone wrong such as when playing with a favourite car (most of the day) and the wheels kept falling off it was Girl’s fault, every time, even when she wasn’t in the room.
Girl has spent the day playing passive-aggressively (or accidentally she calls it when she rams her toy car into Boy’s leg because she was accidentally going too fast and accidentally rammed him or when she trips over him then stands on his foot for 15 seconds longer than necessary, ”I accidentally tripped over him and then I accidentally stood on his foot’. Hmmm and you didn’t think to get off when he was screaming and then you followed by saying “what’s the matter? what’s up” as if it was a complete surprise that he is screaming the house down?).
Then we have the competition. It’s not just competition for attention, it’s competition with each other. I took them both to Sainsbury’s to choose their Halloween outfits while they have a clothes offer on (more fool me). I thought it would be fun and a good diversion. I also had a tiny bit of shopping to do, literally just coffee, bread and veg. “They’ll be fine, I’ll be fine, it’ll be fun” I told The Hubster when I outlined my plan, he looked at me dubiously. Forward thinking I told them they had to have different outfits, they would end up squabbling if they had the same masks or accessories, somehow identical items cause the unholiest of rows between them.
Now Girl is very, very indecisive and maybe I should have done this without her but I always like an opportunity for her to have free choice. Boy chose very quickly. Pirate Skeleton. Girl howled in dismay, that’s what she wanted, I honestly think that whatever Boy had chosen was what she would have wanted. She had already eyed up Ninja Skeleton and Dracula so I told her she had to choose one of those. She grudgingly chose Ninja Skeleton then walked round the supermarket sulking, not understanding why she couldn’t have the same as Boy (I didn’t tell her the truth, I just said I didn’t want the outfits to get mix-muddled in the wash, believe me, this sulk was nothing on identical-item-arguments).
So to continue, I say walked, what actually happened is that both Boy and Girl spent the few minutes that we were in the supermarket pushing and jostling to be the one walking in front and this despite the fact that I had told them over and over they at the very least had to walk by me because their jostling kept putting them in the line of the trolley and other people’s trollies. In the end I had to tell them off, in the middle of Sainsburys and threatened to return the outfits if they kept jostling. They just about managed to behave until I got to the checkout then started leaping around in front of people’s trollies while I was bag packing. My diversion was not going well.
We arrived home to more leaping around. I set the living room as a quiet area, I had planned to take some portrait photos with my new studio equipment (that the Hubster had kindly set up for me while I was out) so considering the size of our living room and the size of the light stands, leaping around was an absolute no-no. Both kids were told that if they wanted to help me they needed to be calm, it’s asking a lot of young kids but Girl took it on board and really enjoyed posing for some photos. Boy used it as an opportunity to play up to my camera, lots of noise and shouting (but thankfully not too much leaping). We had a lot of squabbling about who’s turn it was to have photo’s. A lot of competing for attention when it was the other one’s turn but I managed to take a whopping 268 test photos and only one tantrum which I left for hubby to deal with. They then squabbled and fought over who was helping pack away, there was plenty for both of them but they still managed to fight for the whole time.
I then decided to put on a film, Boy wanted Underdog, Girl didn’t. My dad had bought some new dvds round for them earlier in the week, one of them something like the new Planes film but older. They both agreed on that so we put it on. Girl then had a proper toddler-like tantrum because she had already seen it before and it was too babyish (oh the irony). I decided to change the film (it was babyish, I could see). Boy was not amused but I knew he would like the other choice too so he had a bit of a tantrum too but soon got engrossed in the new film (but kept telling me it was rubbish).
Boy does not usually watch a full film so he went off to sit on the Hubster’s lap while he was on the computer and he then went to play with his tool bench. Five minutes later the film finished and Girl went and stood by The Hubster to see what he was doing on the computer and that’s when it happened. Boy flew into a rage, screaming at Girl, hitting The Hubster. I went in to try and sort it out as The Hubster and Girl were sort of cornered and the tantrum continued, kicking, hitting, spitting. I tried a time-out, I tried a time-in. In the end to keep him safe as we somehow ended up in the kitchen where the dinner was cooking (it’s sort of open plan) I hauled him into the utility room where I sat on the floor, shut the door behind me and just let him get it out of his system. He screamed, he hit, he kicked, he scratched, he told me he didn’t like me but to me at least he was safe, he could come to no harm in there. I remained calm. I tried lots of diverting like counting and showing him the measure marks on the wall and eventually he let me hold him. He cried like a 4-month old (proper waaah-waaahs) for a long 10 minutes but no tears. Just noise, lots and lots of baby crying noise. I rocked him and kissed him and spoke to him. I told him once he was calm and he told me he was ready he could leave the room and say sorry to Daddy. It took a long time for him to say he was ready, I think he was sorry earlier than he said but just needed to be rocked and babied a little more.
So all this rage just from Girl standing by The Hubster. I have spent all day giving Boy attention and getting him involved in whatever I was doing, I couldn’t not really considering the attention (attachment?) seeking behaviour but still he has this fear of being unloved or whatever madness is passing through his young brain.
So that’s it, the full gamut of behaviours and I only told you about the worst of it!