Late yesterday afternoon and evening were difficult. My darling daughter – even after I took her to see Finding Dory – decided to behave like a human butt. What’s worse was that for whatever reason – diet, lack of wine, diet, a full day of unexpected Togetherness, lack of wine -I took it personally.
I’ve said it for years that the only predictable thing about Stella is that she’s unpredictable. The meds have helped, sure. She is also a creature of habit. I think it’s comfortable for her. She learns the limits of what is and is not acceptable, and works within them, keeping herself in check….until she doesn’t. This summer has been difficult. Sure, the camp itself is awesome….when you don’t have a damn broken arm and can attend every day. Instead, I’ve had to find Plan B’s for every single Wednesday (thanks, Oui Oui!) since they go to the water park. Yesterday was another “oopsie” kind of day, as they were going to the zoo about 15 minutes away, followed immediately by a trip to an adjacent park/splash pad. There was no way for her to do one without the other that did not require my husband or me camping out in our cars at the splash pad waiting for the campers to arrive. Not happening.
So yesterday was a day of Togetherness. I wrote about our quick trip to drop off her father’s headphones. That was a riot. After cooling our heels off at home for hours, I decided it was time to get out and do something “special.” Since going out to eat was off the table for me (Get it? Har har!), I figured we’d try another movie. I wanted it to be a surprise, and only told her a few minutes from the theater what we were off to do. She got excited; we were going to see Angry Birds again. Not. I had to explain to her that Angry Birds was no longer playing, that we had already seen it, that Angry Birds was not, in fact, the kind of movie that one would spend money on more than once to see. We were going to see Dory.
I got serious attitude. I threatened to turn the car around. She got her merde together. We saw the movie. We left to pick up her brother. That’s when things got gnarly.
It was one of those rides home where the kids just screamed and slapped at each other the whole way. Feet may or may not have also been involved. I finally got tired of hollering “keepyourhandstoyourselvesdammiti’mtryingtodrivedoyouwantmetogetinanaccident??” and cranked Jane’s Addiction. I felt a minor stab of guilt – what if I was damaging their hearing?- but I let that go. I figure they were damaging mine, and indeed, as loud as the stereo was I could still hear them.When we got home, it dissolved into Wrestlemania.
Now look: I get it. Siblings this close in age are going to do this. But Stella has this hot pink
club cast on her arm, which makes this a slightly more dangerous endeavor, and she is not quite like other kids. She gets amped and can’t un-amp. She starts this hysterical giggling, even when shit isn’t funny, and won’t/can’t stop. She chases her brother around and around the couch, or chases the cats – who retaliate by shitting in our bathtub. I can talk to her, I can yell at her, I can finally catch her and put her face in my hands and speak right into her face and she just doesn’t hear me. It is so frustrating.
I finally ended up sending her to her room, if for no other reason than to spare my nerves and to allow Felix the opportunity to calm down, who was by then in a frenzy himself. Then followed the couch jumping – the couches we are still trying somewhat to preserve considering they’re only about 3 months old and dammit the cats are bad enough with the fabric but now the damn kids are going to break the frame. (I have hollered “the couches are not trampolines” so many times I have actually dreamed about saying that at night.)
I managed to get through dinner and baths, but I was done. I felt angry, depressed, and most of all discouraged. I had done everything “right” that day. Food had been managed well, I took my kid somewhere cool to do something different. My reward was assholery. And yes, I know I sound like a petulant brat. I said at the beginning I took it personally. I know I shouldn’t have. I’m normally “better” than that.
Sure, some of that was end-of-the-day-meds-wearing-off shit. Will and I talk all the time about her distractibility, and lack of listening skills. Sometimes you can tell it is beyond her control. Other times, she is being an asshole deliberately. The looking at me with a smirk on her face while jumping on the couches after I’ve reminded her not to at least 8 times since we got home was deliberate assholery. It stung.
I think what bugs me the most – and again, I know how stupid this sounds – is that dammit she’s smarter than this! She can read at a 3rd grade level and she’s only 5. She absorbs information quicker than Bounty can soak up some spilled apple juice. She knows what the rules and parameters are, but sometimes for whatever reason is unwilling or unable to operate within them. She should be able to beat this. I know it’s unrealistic. I fear that like last school year – Harpy notwithstanding – her crappy behavior will undermine any perception of intellect. It’s the issue with the twice-exceptional/2e diagnosis. I feel guilty for bitching; I know how much worse this could be. I have no right to complain.
We may need to tweak her meds, but I’m not touching that anytime soon; I feel that’s something we’ll do once she’s settled into first grade with hopefully a better teacher and partner in this process. I hope that when this cast comes off, when she can get into some kind of routine Monday through Friday, that maybe she’ll even out a bit. But some days, y’all, it’s hard to keep positive. I feel like I keep grasping at these straws or milestones -” if only we get through occupational therapy, age 4, kindergarten, medication, …” – hoping that things get better and stay better, only to get sideswiped. Or maybe yesterday was just shitty. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
So today is another opportunity. I can be a better mom. I can be more understanding. I can look for yet another way to get through when she’s tuned out and off the rails. It’s a new day.