Sunday, February 8, 2009

Confessions of feeling like a Super-BAD-Mom!

It is midnight. I am exhausted and I would love to be sleeping right now. But I cant. I cant because my two year old is going through such a difficult phase right now that I don't know how to help her. She has such bad separation anxiety that took me forever to realize. I thought she was just being a little shit, no offense. I thought this was her pushing my buttons, testing boundaries, throwing tantrums and trying to get her way. But now I really think there is something else going on.

For starters, there has been a big change recently. Which is that I have made a commitment to health and fitness and to getting myself in shape. I also committed to making time for me, and to stop feeling guilty about taking time for myself to work out, since I am no good to my family if I am not healthy and happy. But this isn't easy. I have been putting Ella/Ryen in the gym day care 3-5 mornings a week for about 5 weeks now. Every day of the week for the last 2 weeks straight. Every time we pull into the parking lot, Ella tells me the same thing... "Mommy I don't want to go to the gym." It breaks my heart but I have to tell her, too bad, we are already here. Then I spend the entire time trying to convince her how fun the gym daycare is and how much she loves it. Why do we do that? Why do we tell our children how we hope they will feel about something, instead of listening to how they really feel? But what else can I do? This is the one thing I do during the hours my children are awake, that is for me!! Everything I do is for them or my house or my dogs or my husband or my family or my friends. Sure I get time to myself at night to do things I love, like Blog or watch my favorite shows, but even that is gone now...

... which brings me to why I don't blog anymore. I used to have a blissful home where both my children were in bed asleep by 7:30pm and my husband and I had the whole night to ourselves. Starting almost exactly at the time that I started putting Ella in the gym day care 5 days a week our house was turned upside down. We have a child that seems angry and whiny all the time. She has so much aggression. She is so impatient. She is in a word AWFUL. She started crying screaming and pounding on her bedroom door at night for 1-2 hours a night. EVERY night! I cant even tell you what it is like to live in a house filled with that sound at night. The time when you are supposed to be able to curl up on the couch with your husband and talk about your day, or put your feet up finally, or slip into the tub. And instead we have to listen to that god awful sound and worry she is going to wake up our other baby. We tried soothing, comforting, ignoring, spanking, punishing, tough love. You name it, we tried it. We find a solution and it works for only a night or two filling us with false hope that our nightmare is over, only to have it start up again.

Ella has some good moments throughout the day too, but is really lashing out. Jimmy and I spent the first few days sympathizing, then jumping through hoops to keep her happy and calm, then pissed off when that stopped working, then resentful at how unbearable living in our own home has become, to walking on eggshells to avoid setting her off, to now trying to kill her with kindness and understanding... We have literally run the whole gammet here. The only person in our house Ella wants to be around is Ryen. Literally. She will hug and kiss and love on her like no tomorrow while simultaneously hating me an Jimmy and the dogs. LOL.

I have to say I have seen on TV and I have witnessed first hand, parents that would just let their child act in such reprehensible ways. Let their kids talk to them and yell at them and treat them with such disrespect it made my jaw drop. I always said to Jimmy no way that will be us, I would never let my kid talk to me that way, or treat me that way... yada yada yada. (and although we have stuck by this for the most part) I now have an understanding of how those parents find themselves in that situation. When you spend your whole day fighting with someone who is completely irrational, and with someone who cant be reasoned with, and with someone who doesn't remember from one second to the next what they are fighting about, and changes their mind from one second to the next, you are left mentally exhausted! When you feel beaten, when you feel like you don't want to get out of bed, when you don't even have the desire to be around your own child, when you have tried everything from begging to pleading to crying to laughing to kissing/hugging to talking to spanking to punishing to rewarding and NOTHING seems to work... I can see why some parents chose to say, this isn't worth it. I give up. Whatever keeps this kid out of my hair and happy and smiling he/she can have it within reason. You want to talk to me like I am scum? I wont react. You want to watch 8-10 hours of Noggin? Go for it, at least you are away from me. You want to have hot dogs every night for dinner. Fine, as long as I don't have to listen to you. Because when normally you would have the energy and the mental capacity for these small parental challenges, when you add them up and EVERY single thing you do is a fight, it is tempting to start living in survival or defense mode. You just want to make it through the day and hope every morning when you wake up that this phase is over. Of course this is NOT the thing to do. And we know that. Because you start doing this and then the day you are praying for... the day you wake up and this "phase" is gone? It doesn't come for 3 years and you just made yourself a hostage in your own house for that long! No thank you!

It is 12:15am and Ella has been quiet now for 20 minutes. I have some hope that I may actually get some sleep tonight. See the other side effect of my putting her in the gym daycare is she has been sick non-stop. She went TWO years without one ear infection. She now has her third one in 6 weeks. THIRD! And no it is NOT the same one because it keeps switching ears. Complications from colds she is catching the doctor tells me. So we dont know if this behavior Ella is exhibiting is because she has been sick and in pain for the last 6 weeks with only a few days reprieve here and there. Or if she is angry about being put in the gym every day or both? We just don't know. What we do know is we have a child who refuses to take her antibiotics because she is allergic to the only one that actually tastes good and most kids will swallow without trouble. Instead she has to take one that tastes so bad Jimmy gagged when he tasted it. Even when we flavor it it only helps a little. We hide it in juice, ice cream, milk you name it. Doesn't work. She refuses to eat/drink it. We pin her down on the ground and try to shove it down her throat and she has figured out how to close her throat by gurgling the whole time she is crying and we are pinning her, which just causes the medicine to pool in her throat until she is ready to spit it out all over us and herself. Yesterday we went through a weeks worth of antibiotics in one day just trying to get her to take it, and she took none of it. Twice she spit it out all over me and her hair and her clothes and face (gone) and once we mixed it in with juice out of desperation (which she didn't drink) and since this was the kind of medicine where your largest dose is on day one followed by smaller doses all the other days, we ran out of medicine. I had to beg for a refill and pay out of pocket for it, since insurance wouldn't cover a refill same day. UPDATE: she still hasn't taken it.

Ella wakes up crying out for me every 20 minutes starting at about 11pm and lasting until 1-2 in the morning. Last night it started at 1am and lasted till 3am. I get up more times in the middle of the night for her than I do my newborn. She says things like "I don't want Mommy to go" and she cries every time she wakes up and sees I am not in the room. I come running to reassure that I will always be there and I am just down the hall, and it doesn't seem to bring her any comfort. Even with nightlights and her door open etc. I don't want to get in the habit of sleeping on her floor or in her bed with her, but I actually crawled into bed with her for over 1 hour the other night and it didn't work. She would actually fall asleep for 2-3 minutes and I would literally watch her snap herself awake to make sure I was still there. She looks like a college student falling asleep in the front row of class and not wanting to get caught by the professor. It is crazy. I am like GO TO SLEEP!!!! Meanwhile I am exhausted! And there doesn't seem to be end in sight.

Another sign she has bad anxiety, she walks around the house sometimes saying "Where'd my Mommy go" if she cant find me. She will ask Jimmy where I am, and he will have to assure her Mommy is hanging up clothes, or Mommy is in the bathroom. Lastly, she has been shy at playdates with friends. When my friends say hi to her she shoves her hand in her mouth and buries her face in my leg. She wont cross the threshold when we go to someone's house. I have to use Ryen's carseat and my leg to practically shove her through the door. Then she clings to me like a static sheet on your clothes from the dryer, and when she wants to finally explore something she grabs me by the hand and says come with me Mommy. She never used to be like this, and I didn't notice any of this as potential signs of separation anxiety. I just thought it as a cute little shyness phase she was going through. And when she was asking where I was all the time, I just thought, she really likes me. =)

So I have to try a new more tender approach to this situation and reassure her to help her with her separation anxieties, but it still doesn't solve my problem of my gym daycare being a germ pit thanks to idiotic parents who put their sick kids in there when they shouldn't. I just dont see things getting better for us anytime soon... That is why I have been MIA on the blog lately and why I cant go out for drinks or dinner, and why you wont see me at a Girls Night Out or evening event for quite some time. =(

Sorry so long but I have been holding this all in and needed to get it out. If you are still reading this and didnt fall asleep or have a birthday go by before you could get to the end of it, Ella is still asleep and it is 12:35. I have the courage to finally stop venting and crawl into bed. And Murphys Law states that as soon as I fall asleep, Ella will either start crying looking for me or Ryen will need to be fed!



  1. Wow! I thought that I was the only one right now going through this! I know exactly what you are talking about Jill...Mackenzie started going through it every time Gary would leave for the road! She would get very distant from everyone but me and not want to eat or drink or sleep (he would leave when she would go to bed) or anything. She wouldn't even want my parents whom she loves! Its very hard and I have shed a lot of tears during the whole situation! Just like you I tried everything from punishment to rewards and nothing seemed to work! I know that you need to do the gym but the only thing that worked for me was taking 4-5 days and just putting all my awake time into her nothing else. I would clean my house after she would finally fall asleep. Its tiring doing it all the time so I know what you mean about the whole sleep deprivation it was like having a newborn in my home again! =) All I can tell you is it will get better... I promise. It will take time, obviously 5 weeks for you, but Ella will come around. Just keep to your gun and do what you think you need to do. If you need anything or any help with your home, Ryen or anything else just let me know! I could come watch Ryen for you if you wanted to take Ella somewhere just you and her I am sure it would help! I am here for you =) stay strong and keep your head up you are a wonderful mother and your babies love you!

  2. Just remember, this too will pass. I know, I know - easy for me to say - I don't have to listen to her every night. I can only imagine how hard that it is on you guys. Your girls know how much you love them though, don't forget that. She's also had a lot to adjust to in the past few months too. She used to have you all to herself 24 hours a day for almost 2 years and now not only does she have to share you with Ryen, but also the gym too. And although it might not seem like a lot to you. You are her world. She's also too smart for her own good. That kid picks up on everything so I'm sure she's picked up on some of your frustration.

    I wish you guys luck and let me know if you need anything.

    LOVE YOU!!!!

  3. Oh quitchabitchin! haha jk
    Love you

    Ship Ella out to me i'll put her through Olivia boot camp!
    Love you EllaBell & my Rydog!!