Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In which I don't understand my child

As I sit here watching the minutes tick by on the precious nap hour I cant help but replay the last 21 months of my little guy's life. I sit and reflect on our parenting, our love for him, the way our lives have changed. I pick apart the things I did wrong and try to recreate the best moments to date. Today is one of those pick apart moments- pick it clean til there is nothing left but the truth and answers. So settle in here this is going to be a really long, venting, and whining post about everything I have kept in the last 22 months.

Since I felt his first kicks in my body I knew that this boy of mine would throw us for a whirlwind. If you have been reading for a while you know he has been given health challenges, developmental challenges, sleep challenges. You name it! We love him more than words can say and I know Heavenly Father gave him to us because we are great at being his parents. We would climb the highest mountain and give him the stars just to see him happy and thriving.

He is a different kid now, I have talked about the changes we've noticed in him the last 8 months which is why I got him screened for aspergers. Looking back he stopped nursing, saw me in the hospital, started going to new babysitters when I went back to work, and went to church nursery. Then he spent 4 days away from me at his Mimi's house. I am wondering which one or combination of events threw him for a loop and did some mental damage. There is just something so amiss with him. He is a mess, and he is miserable. He spends most of his days in tears of despair and frustration.

My face book friends especially have seen the struggle to get Ryan to sleep night after night. 2 nights ago we started bedtime routine at 7:30 and he didnt settle down to slumber til nearly midnight. Everyone has offered so much great advice and I have been really grateful for the help. Its time for me to vent though! Since he was home from the hospital he has a bath, lotion, stories, cuddles, nursing... blah blah blah. Every night we start it at the same time. Every night we do the same thing. He has a night light, lovies, a fan for white noise. He gets a sippy cup of water to quench his thirst. Like I said we have read every book, so we swaddled when he was younger, did babywise to a T, ferber method all that jazz. We also tried the softer approaches to sleep. Absolutely nothing would work. Somehow as he got older things got better, we stuck to the same rigid routine night after night. It wasnt fun to leave a party or family events to get him to bed on time and there were instances where we even got slack for it, but this was about our boy and doing whats best for him. He wouldnt sleep on the floor, on a couch, in our bed, or car seat. He would only and still will only sleep in his bed. I cant remember the last time he actually slept in the car!

Whoa, tangent happening.. Anyway so he has been having the WORST panic attacks the last 8 months or so and they are getting scarier by the day. Its the worst at night when we do the whole parade to get him ready for bed- we leave him and he screams. Not a normal baby scream though- its a someone is killing me and pulling out all my teeth one at a time with no Novocaine kind of scream. It sounds like he will in fact die from this. He gets hives, holds his breath, starts shaking, his heart will race.. then after an hour or so of him doing this we go in and swoop him up and hold him because there is no way he can calm down on his own we know this much by now. No one can say that he knows we come in and rescue him so of course he will keep doing it. We started hard core sleep training over a year ago. If he hasn't figured it out by now hes never going to. He wants us to hold him while he sleeps or sit in the rocking chair and watch him sleep and trust me he knows if we leave.. We have just been making him cry it out, anywhere from 1-3 hours, its awful.

The other thing I am going to vent about is his clingy behavior. I love my son which is obvious but hello dude. I have earned the right to wipe my own butt and feed myself. He is literally touching me all day long, either pulling me around the house, me holding him, cuddling on the couch, or he is wrapped around my leg. If I even get up to get a drink without him following me he thinks he is dying. You can just imagine how awesome that is when we have to go anywhere or someone new comes over. He literally FREAKS OUT every time (aka the nursery issue) You have to just see it to believe it because I know you are all thinking well my child is clingy too... This is to the extreme. He is also clingy while being ridiculous at the same time- how you ask? Well he wants me to hold him in the kitchen so he can look at the microwave just for an example. His temper tantrums are insane. I just have to laugh when people try to tell me to ignore it or just dont give in, or my personal favorite- distract him! He is so persistent he wont give up, he gets so mad when I try to distract him even with candy. He will be mad about the same thing for an hour. Moral of the story-
clingy + ridiculous = impossible

Here is the flip side- he is only this way with ME. I am somehow the cause of the sleep problems and the anxiety because if hubs is home alone with him he goes down fine, when he was at my madre's house for a weekend he didnt have any temper tantrums, he is an absolute joy for my MIL and the 2 babysitters he actually likes. He doesnt insist on them holding him while he opens and closes the freezer door or has to sit on their face while they are on the couch because the lap isnt close enough. Nope, just with mama. When he goes out to run errands with hubs he is an angel. When we went to target today we had to leave our cart and go sit outside til he was done flipping out. He seems to really despise me some days, he will hit, cry, scratch, and beg to leave the house and go somewhere else. Thank goodness for a grandma close by that we can go visit because its the only way he will be happy. How can he hate me but have to be attached to my hip at the same time?

That night I referred to where he didnt go to bed til midnight? Yeah last night I was gone for bedtime and he went down just fine, tonight I told him bye bye while he was in the tub and I hid in the bed room. He is fussing now but its not the panic scream from when I leave him. The bummer is hubs is home in time for bed less than half the week. Not sure what we are going to do on the off nights.

Then again we have some really great days, where he is independent, goes to sleep great, cuddles on my lap.. Who is the other child that sometimes appears with no warning. I am so baffled by him and no one really gets it til they see it. His doctor doesnt know what to do with him. I am praying that when we can finally meet with his OT that they will have some ways to teach me teach him and help him cope with being away from mama. (which is crazy because he spends a good amount of time away from me)

Wow so this was the sloppiest, most confusing entry I have and ever will have. My mind is going in circles, hubs and I just sit and stare at the ceiling sometimes trying to figure out the 2 extremes in our child. The social butterfly angel and the anxiety stricken mess. There is so much more I want to say. I want to talk about his communication, I want to address his intelligence level that is off the charts. And when those two combine he becomes a mess because he knows what he want but cant tell us. I want to talk about how I am scared that I did something to mess him up for life. I want to get answers on his anxiety attacks. I want to video his day so everyone knows what I am talking about. I havent even brushed the surface on the complexities that are my son. He is night and day all at the same time. I want to write about my insecurities as a mother and my wondering why he seems to be mad at me all the time. I want to cry. Those things I will save for another day.

But amongst all of this he had this moment today. Its not always bad.



Mandy said...

Oh my dear, all I can say is I think you are doing a great job! Children are mysteries, they truly are. Bennett has good and bad days, and some days - I feel like I don't recognize him. He's angry, fussy, grumpy... etc. And the next day he's happy and giggly. I was reading an article about how children will constantly test their limits. And they will do it differently with Mom, than with Dad. My Husband tells me that when I'm out and it's just him and Bennett - Bennett hardly throws any temper tantrums at all. And as soon as I come home, he starts whining. All I can say is hang in there sweetie... there are people out there that do understand and can relate (maybe not exactly, but to an extent!). *hugs*

AmyLee said...

i wish i had all the answers for you lauren :(
just keep plugging away & do what you think is best for ryan. that is ALL you can do. and, you have to take time for yourself to vent, decompress, & recoup. it will make you a better mama in the long run!
we are all here for you!!

Andrea said...

Shut the front door that was a good post! lol..
I Truly admire you girl, you are honest, and really have tried, and will continue to try to help Ryan. It's truly difficult for people to know just what you are going through unless they really either have witnessed it, or lived in similar situation.. I just have had the same... as we talked before, sometimes there is nothing that can be said, well at least for me. I started tuning out the things people would say making me feel like i was not good at my job.. I know that was not there intentions, but living in this moment.. is/was like a living hell.. if I can say that..
I just have SO so much empathy for you.. and the little sweet pictures of him holding his mouth crying.
there were days/months where kent and I just cried and cried sitting on the couch, listening to kaid screaming.. I am here for you, I know you have an amazing support system,
What ever I can do to help you get in possibly to pride, or where ever let me know:)
Hang in there.. ( I know you have....)

Hugs.. xo
love ya

Linkie Lueville said...

I hate that you guys are having to go through this. I can't imagine what it must be like. Hopefully Ryan will figure it out soon and settle into his routine.

Mandy put it best, kids are a total mystery. :(


Etosia (e-tasha) said...

I am really sorry you are going through this! I'm sure for you it is frustrating to know that something is wrong and not know what it is, what caused it, or what the remedy is. And I can only imagine how frustrated Ryan is trying to tell you something is wrong but not being able to communicate it! Hopefully the OT can help you find some answers.I will say a prayer for you and your family.

Meagan said...

I'm so sorry Lauren. I've thought about it too when I was going to school and doing my internship basically as a full time job up until Brinley was 9 months. She has just recently become really clingy even when I am in the house and Ryan IS home. It comes in waves, but doesn't sound as severe as Ryan. You can do this. I totally have 100% faith in you and your mothering abilities. I am hoping that this is just a phase (a loooooong one). He is such a cutie pie. It is amazing what those OT's can do for helpful tips to help with maybe the anxiety triggers. Love you. We (the bloggie friends) are ALWAYS here for you to vent and express your feelings.

Chelsea said...

I have gone through a similar sleeping thing with Benson! He will kick the door and give a deathly scream every night, and won't stop. And we would start the bedtime routine at 8 and he wouldn't go down until midnight. Well, he is in a big boy bed, and what I do EVERY night now, is just lie down with him until he falls asleep. Also I have noticed, if he doesn't take a nap (i know it sucks not to have that time during the day, but its awesome to have that time with your hubby at night) then he goes to bed much earlier and is so dang tired he will fall asleep after 10 minutes. BUT I HAVE to lay with him, not dad, just me. But as soon as that heavy breathing kicks in, I leave and he is out for the night. Try it! It sucks, but its the only thing that works for us. We tried things for months and nothing worked. Sometimes I lie there for 10 minutes sometimes, almost an hour. I hope he grows out of it someday, but he just needs the comfort of me by him right now. Good luck!

nicole. said...

I think its secret code for - making my mommy the very best she can be :)

Tiffany D. said...

Lauren, don't blame yourself for this! Nothing you did caused this, he's at that age that babies become clingy and needy, he's just taking it to an extreme. It's nothing you have or haven't do. Babies need love, clearly you give him that! Don't be so hard on yourself! I have no idea what you're going through with him, other than what I read in your posts. I do understand the communication part of it, we are having those same struggles with my 2 1/2 year old who still doesn't talk well at all. All children are SO different. Maddie was speaking full, clear sentences by about 18 months, so this really threw us through a loop. People can give advice, and you can try it, but what works for one child may not work for another. Hang in there, good luck!

PS. I absolutely LOVE the picture of him crying, covering his mouth! Such a sweetie pie!!!

Zwickl Family said...

I completely feel for you. And although my little guy has similarities with Ryan, it's not an everyday occurrence.

I hope and pray you find guidance and I know you and your family will get through this.

Courtney Kirkland said...

I wish I knew what to tell you. I really, really do. But you are a WONDERFUL mother. Don't ever, ever doubt that. I think all kids go through phases like this. There was a time when Noah was the same way. REALLY. The tantrums, the clinginess, the sleep issues. I was exhausted and reached the point of a breakdown. Make sure to take some time for yourself. Sounds like you are up to your ears in things that can frustrate you. We all know how much you love your son, but make sure to take care of YOU. We're all here thinking about you and praying for you guys. Hope this phase passes soon!!

NHA said...

Lauren - I got your blog from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend :). I have a son like yours. He is now 18. I wish that when he was 2 I was as self aware and as well spoken as you are :). I really thought it was all my fault. When he was 8 he was diagnosed with attachment disorder. Which baffled me because he was SO attached like yours. But I later learned it is a huge and broad and confusing spectrum. And that really he was attached just a not so healthy attachment. Also some aspergers and bipolar. Anyway, where do you live? We started a school that helps parents like you and have lots of books and resources and seminars and classes and therapists and support group and all sorts of stuff :) Let me know if you want info on anything.

Tiffany said...

Hi Lauren. I am the friend of a friend of a friend who gave "NHA" your blog address. Her name is Kasey and she is the owner of the school my son spent 7 weeks at in Utah this past summer. She is amazing! Any advice, books, knowledge she can pass your way is WELL WORTH THE TIME AND MONEY! I feel for you. I am assuming you live near Kandace. I am sending you an email this afternoon with some more information. Good Luck! There is hope! I promise! And you are so lucky to know things are not normal when he is so young!

Heather M said...

Lauren, The fact that you wrote this Proves what an amazing mother you are, You can feel the Love and passion you have for Ryan in your post. I wish I could help you and answer you questions, But I can't, put I can pray that God reveals to you answers and helps to ease all of your fears! You are a beautiful strong mother! please keep us updated! Have a beautiful weekend friend! <3

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