I hesitate to write anything bad about Spencer on this blog. In part because it's public, and in part because it's not always stuff I want to remember. But there comes a point where you are at your breaking point. And you just don't know what to do about it anymore. I remember back in our sleep deprivation days, venting used to help SO. MUCH. Sometimes, just getting all the anger and the negativity OUT, helps. Its gives you space to let new ideas and approaches come in. It's a deep breath, and a count to ten, if you will. So... We have had behavior issues for several months now. At first I chalked it up to back-to-school and back-to-work... but, uh, that was a long time ago and things not only haven't improved, they've gotten worse. Some of it is four-year-old stuff, some of it is hyper-aware and hyper-vigilant stuff, some of it is the fact that he's super smart, and some of it—I fear—is attachment based. Add in that we're still not seeing that elusive night of sleep. We still have multiple wake-ups here and way-too-early rises in the morning. All of this makes me want to scream. (Or cry... which I've done. Here. At the dojang—so embarrassing! On the virtual shoulders of friends and family.)
Now, I realize that Spencer is "only" four, but I've watched enough other four-year-olds in the past month or two to know that what we are dealing with is not normal. Being what they call a "spirited" child means that he takes everything up a level, he pushes that extra step... which just makes all of this so much more infuriating. But there also seems to be several things going on with him at once. I realize that his world is changing. I realize that his mind is working overtime on some things having to do with his birth mother and adoption. I realize this. I do.
But, I'm tired of people telling me I'm being too hard on myself. I expect certain things. And I do not feel that they are too much to ask of a four-year-old.
I should not have to peel my screaming child off me every school day.
I should be able to use the restroom alone.
I should be able to ask him to do something without him screaming at me.
I should be able to have a conversation without interruption... especially the two-minute ones to place an order.
I should be able to take him out in public without being stressed or worried.
He should be able to sit and watch one twenty minute show.
He should be able to self-entertain for ten minutes.
He should be able to let me out of his sight.
He should be able to make it through a school day without being removed from the classroom because he is disruptive.
He should be able to make it through a meal without getting in trouble.
He should be able to go on one errand with me without engaging every. single. person. he sees.
He should NOT be this defiant and disrespectful to me.
He should NOT feel he is entitled to the last word.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I just glazed over the defiance and the disrespect. Both of which are out. of. control. And I feel like my arsenal of "behavior correction" tools has been depleted. Time outs don't work, logical consequences don't work, catholic-school punishments don't work. And... the 1,2,3 method does not work for me. And we have some concerning behavior during the corrections of the other behaviors that I just don't have the energy to go into. (I don't even think that made any sense.)
Now... I realize I have some work to do here too. But I'm depleted. I just feel like he's sapped all of my energy and willingness out of me. When the day starts before 6 am and he jumps out of bed and is immediately at you... and just keeps at you keeps at you keeps at you and just keeps at you keeps at you keeps at you and just keeps at you keeps at you keeps at you... until he goes to bed at night... there's nothing left. So here I sit, shrugging my shoulders and shaking my head. I just don't know what to do. (I'm not really looking for advice per say... I just really needed to vent, that's all!)
I guess this is why things have been quiet in my little part of the blogosphere. It's hard to come and write fun, light-hearted posts when you have the exact opposite in your world. I have an appointment with his pediatrician on Tuesday. Just for me. Doug and I will come up with the list of concerns and then he'll stay here with Spencer so that I can go and see if she has any insight or ideas on how to manage this. My kid is full of awesome... now if only we could get back to our happy place with it. I don't expect a magical solution... I just need to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, because right now all I see is a long expanse of pitch-black.