I realise I’ve been very quiet on the old blog front these last few weeks. To be honest they have been a massive struggle, and I find it a lot harder blogging in the bad times than the good. It’s fun writing about how well everything is going in your life, but actually documenting how hideous it is feels distinctly less rewarding.
So in the grand scheme of hideous I guess I don’t really have anything to complain about. Nobody died, the house didn’t burn down, and we haven’t starved. I have been on a diet (my first one ever!!) for the past month though, which now that I think about it may actually be the root of the problem. I obviously cannot live happily without regular injections of cake and cheese-heavy carbohydrates!! Luckily for us all the diet officially finishes on Saturday (once I have managed to do up the zip on my bridesmaid dress I’ll be wearing!) and then there will be no cake safe in Cornwall.
So the end of the summer holidays were a challenge with us all exhausted and low on patience. We had hoped that the return to school would start to make things easier again. Our daughter seemed really excited about going back. We were definitely excited about her going back!! However her first week back was an absolute new low. Her behaviour, which was already shocking, deteriorated to constant rage, the worst tantrums I’ve ever seen, where she was completely out of control, deliberately doing whatever she could to break things or physically hurt us. We just went from meltdown to meltdown and it felt like we were all completely powerless to do anything to improve the situation. We were grateful for the few hours where she was at school, and even an overnight camping trip, with a whole thirty hours away from us, but it didn’t feel long enough for any of us to recover, and things would kick off the moment we were reunited at school pick up.
We really got to a pretty low point. I think me and my husband both felt utterly hopeless. When we have worked so hard to be supportive, to try and acknowledge and support our daughter whatever her emotions, to actively try and show her ways to manage her extremes of emotions, and still, at just five years old, we have reached the point where we just cannot cope with this at all. We started having conversations about whether we needed to get some kind of professional help with this, that we just were not up to this. I seriously started to question whether I could actually carry on. And this is after having had many tough times with her already. This definitely felt the worst. Out of sheer frustration and powerlessness I banned all Lego and all TV for a week, knowing it wouldn’t improve her behaviour, if anything knowing it could make it even more extreme, but if I’m honest I knew it would hurt her.
It was becoming hard to even communicate with my husband about it. We both felt awful about the situation, both knew that our strategy wasn’t working at all, but with no idea how to improve things.
I pretty much begged my mum to come and visit last weekend, I just desperately needed some kind of support. We do everything we can to manage by ourselves, but I just needed someone to help us. She arrived in the midst of another full blown melt down, over putting a wrapper in the bin, and I promptly burst into tears on her shoulder. My daughter however, immediately turned into Little Miss Sunshine. All weekend she was her most delightful, fabulous, happy, chatty, loving self, telling her Mimi excitedly about all the wonderful things she’d done all summer, how much she loved school and her camping trip, and she was heavenly to us all. Me, Mum and the kids went out for lovely long days out (mainly involving garden centres, so that made me happy!) and gave my husband some time to recover. It was also good for both of us to get the chance to chat to somebody slightly outside of the situation to get a little perspective.
Four days into the next week and our reboot seems to have worked. The tantrums have stopped, for now at least, and we are all feeling a whole lot more positive. Me and the boy have both come down with full blown back-to-school plague, I even took a day off work!
My daughter, the disease distributor seemed to get away with a minor sniffle, and so far my husband has escaped unscathed. I am starting to feel more human today though, and starting to get excited about a very special wedding on Saturday. And about eating cake again!!
So I’m still scared about what we have ahead of us. These terrible, unresolvable rages seem to be a recurring issue, and one that just escalates the older she gets. How will we ever make it through her teens with us all alive?? For now though I’m grateful that the storm seems to have passed, for now.