Monday, July 12, 2010

From Moments I Want to Remember... ones I'd like to forget.

Buddy has been having really hard time lately. Inability to regulate his emotions. Anxiety. Insecure sense of self. Every professional we talk to seems to have a different name for it. I'm sure some people who don't understand what we're dealing with have another name for it - brattiness. Whatever you want to call it, its making our lives miserable right now.

Buddy came home to us with a host of unexpected physical problems (you can read about them in our post adoption stories). He's been home 3 years this month and although he still has a slight fine motor skill delay, he's otherwise physically where he needs to be. His social-emotional development is a whole different situation and something we're still struggling to get under control.

If you know Buddy, you know that even though he's a quiet kid, an cautious kid, most of the time he seems just fine. The truth is, keeping him that way requires quite a bit of work. Sticking to our daily schedule is key to his happiness. Adance prepping of any schedule changes, social stories, pretend play and weekly therapy have helped, but the littlest changes can still throw him off. Things like Chris leaving for work early or wearing a new pair of shoes can ruin his whole day. Large crowds, vacations, noisy environments or time away from us almost always have unpleasant consequences.

This summer there's been a lot of change for Buddy to process. Tuesdays and Thursday mornings the boys attend their preschool's summer camp. Wednesday mornings our 1st ever non-family member babysitter takes care of them. That all adds up to nine hours away from me, learning to interact with new people, try new activities and trust that I will always come back. Its overwhelming for him and he's not taking it very well....and neither am I.

I hate that we're back to sleepless nights and hour long meltdowns and controlling behavior and panic every time I leave the room. I hate that Buddy's life is so hard right now. I hate that by 10 o'clock in the morning I have a headache from grinding my teeth. I hate that Buster's life is dictated by his brother's problems. I hate that instead of enjoying time with my kids, most of my day is spent trying to mask my frustration and reminding myself not to scream "Shut up!". I hate that things that should be fun for Buddy leave him scared and insecure. I hate that I don't know how to make Buddy better.

Not knowing how to make it better is the part I'm really having a hard time handling. I wish our life wasn't so frustrating for me right now, but any mom will tell you that while motherhood is awesome, sometimes the job description sucks. I can handle that. Its mostly that the last few months of the school year were going so well, that I thought all the work I was doing and sacrifices I was making were helping Buddy learn to cope with the changes and unpredictablity that are part of life. The reality is that all my work - the schedules and prepping and co-sleeping - and all my sacrifices - missing two out of town weddings while Chris went alone, scaling back our activities and committing myself to a predictable routine, sharing our bed, the last private space we had - all of that just helped Buddy handle one particular set of cirucmstances; it didn't do anything to actually help him learn to handle future stresses.

Its so deflating that we have such a long way to go and that, despite my best effort, I still haven't found the path to get us there yet.


  1. Deflating is a descriptive word for the realization that all the hard work doesn't have a definable end. It's hard to see your child suffer, and it's hard to suffer while you see your child suffer.

    I don't have a magic solution for you, other than to sometimes let the meltdown happen, even if it adds more time and work later, and let yourself have a little break from being supermama.

  2. Oh Kristen, I've been there (in a different way but THERE) too. All the work you are doing DOES help. It doesn't feel like it does on some days but you will eventually get to a place that you can see change and will recognize that routine, social stories, therapies etc are having an impact. I'm sorry you are struggling. As his mom, you want to make it all better. It's hard not to be able to do that. I'm sorry that summer has thrown your school year progress into limbo. I have often remarked that the school year should be year round with no breaks. Breaks stink.

    In the meantime, let's set up a Tuesday, Wednesday morning, or Thursday chance to get coffee. I would be happy to lend an ear.

  3. are stronger than you realize. You are doing an awesome job. NO ONE could have ever prepared us for motherhood. Thanks for the honesty. love you, leslie