Sunday, February 24, 2008

Reaching the limit

It has been a hard week, one of those weeks in parenting about which I might normally fall silent or try to spin into comedy.

We have, perhaps, had a bit much of family time at this point. I had hoped that the start of preschool might take care of this, fervently ignoring any thoughts of the adjustment this might require. Though it would be oversimple to blame the week on just preschool.

Scooter is obviously stressed. Even before this week, he has at times gone back to chewing on his clothing. He also recently added fingernails, an echo of my own bad habit. In addition to this, he has had frantic moments, getting so worked up that he can't calm down. Sometimes his actions become compulsive. Yesterday, he was rolling a toy truck on me. I asked him to stop rolling it on me, first politely, but quickly growing impatient as he responded simply by laughing and continuing with the action. Even when I yelled, he wouldn't/couldn't stop. Not until I got a hold of the truck (he was also trying to move it away from wherever I reached) did he even look at me.

I suspect--and hope--that part of the problem, but only part, over the past 48 hours has a partial origin in the snack he had on Thursday. His teacher and I had discussed me sending in crackers for their "cooking" lesson, since all of the other students would be getting crackers. I dutifully packed up two kinds and put them in his backpack. But after school on Thursday, the crackers were still in his backpack and he was talking about the "toast" he'd had. (The teacher was gone that day, so I guess the information about his gluten sensitivity was not passed along to the substitute.) He had a day of meltdowns in preschool on Friday and then the toy incident, not to mention just generally being out of sorts. Then a hard time participating appropriately in gymnastics today.

After a week like this, I find myself wondering if I can handle any more or if this is my limit. I can't help but think of the fact that had things gone differently, I would be doing all of this with a 4-month-old or 3 weeks from delivering. But then that would be my reality and I would find a way to deal with it (lots of help from Grandma and a leave from school, I suspect). Since neither scenario is my reality, however, I am in a position to say simply, "No more." I haven't made any irreversible decisions, but have decided it's time to reevaluate my plans when I walk into a pet shop (to buy a fish tank) and find myself thinking that I would prefer a dog right now to another child.


Bea said...

Ugh, I'm sorry. The toast thing seems like a real confirmation that you're doing the right thing with the GF diet, though, doesn't it?

Bub has developed what I hope isn't a habit of chewing on his upper lip. He did it for the first time over Christmas when he had a bad cold, and then it was purely a physical thing - dry lips. But this week in gym class they did a hula hoop activity, and I could see Bub struggling with it - having fun at first, then struggling with uncertainty. For awhile he just sat and watched, then valiantly tried again; finally, he opted out altogether, lying down on the mat. When he came out of that class, his lip looked like it did at Christmas - red and scabby.

He has just learned to argue back as well - to keep pestering when I say no instead of just throwing a tantrum and/or accepting it.

I often think how glad I am that I don't have any more babies now that we're in this no-nap, preschool-juggling stage. Whatever you decide, it will be the right thing for your family.

Lisa b said...

Ug. If it helps, and I am loath to be all pollyanna, but at the same time want you to feel better, Naomi (Urban Mummy) and I were saying last night how completely intolerable three is.

I don't want to discount your different concerns with A but Katie is a total nightmare right now with similar behaviours and laughing when I discipline her. Though I have always neurotically feared her difficulty with transitions and fixation on certain tasks as indicating a larger issue I have to admit the changes in her life in the last year are a much more likely culprit, as is the fact that three year olds are a TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS.

Now Scooter is four and I don't doubt the gluten is an issue but I think the larger issue of moving and crazy change of routine is going to stay with you for a while as an underlying stress. Add to that school and thinking about other babies, past and future, and you end up with a mom with a lot on her mind, a kid who requires a lot of attention and a mom with little patience.

That's how I feel anyway. Feel free to want to slap me.

I also like to totally give up on something, see how I feel, regroup and then go at it again if I have decided it is what I really want. Not that you're like me, cause a dog is an equally good idea.
If only we knew ahead of time how things were going to work out.

Mouse said...

I have been thinking (but managed not to put it in the post) that part of this acting out is also Scooter going through certain developmental phases--testing boundaries, pushing--albeit a couple years late. It's that much harder since his language abilities have been improving, so he argues more articulately than he would have before.

Today was a little better, not quite so frantic, although I think he's fighting a virus too, so still a little out of sorts. Trillian let me run out for coffee and some reading for a couple hours, so that helped too.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm sorry things have been stressful. It may be as you think--that he's fighting off a virus and is tired and going through a developmental growth spurt now. Behavior problems with L. always crop up when he's getting sick, or going through some developmental stage.

Hang in there--I've definitely been through phases where I honestly thought I just couldn't cope anymore. But I did--you just do.