Because I like to torture everyone with the sordid details of my life, I'm writing a blog post today. I hear the excitement now!
OK, OK, so maybe nobody's excited. Even me. My life isn't very exciting. Interesting, but not exciting. Busy, but not exciting. Stupifyingly exhausting... but not exciting.
Time to cut to the chase.
M2 is having a psychological evaluation on Monday afternoon. We go in at 3:30 p.m. Is it wrong that I'm HAPPY about this? Not excited, and still maybe a little bit nervous, but happy that I finally scheduled the appointment and might come out with a few more answers than I have now.
It's hard for me to believe that I ever thought she was the easy child, comparatively speaking. Now that M1 has settled down and is starting to listen to Oz and I when we talk about appropriate vs. inappropriate responses and is gaining maturity by the day (except that I suspect he's having another growth spurt and so he's about to outgrow the size SIX flip-flops that I got him at the beginning of summer... and his bladder grows faster than the rest of him so we have potty messes now and then... and his mouth and attitude need adjusting now and then these days...), it makes it easier for me to see how difficult M2 is to deal with.
She's never been easy to deal with when compared to most kids. Neither of my kids are easy. I'm realizing how true that is now. Many parents are amazed at how high-maintenance my munchkins are. They have both always required a lot of attention, and I'm used to that. I can handle getting down on their level to deal with issues and talking to them one on one, breaking up fights every so often, and being the mom who just CANNOT let her guard down at a playdate because if I don't know where my kids are, things can go downhill faster than an avalanche. M2 had always just seemed easier. Her tantrums were fierce - always have been - but had always been over within 45 minutes or so. I am learning now that most 3-year-olds don't have 45-minute tantrums. Whoops. Both mine did, so that was no big deal. The age of four was high-maintenance for M2, but again, it was the same way for M1, so it seemed fairly normal. He actually had more school problems at the age of 4, so I thought she would be my "normal" kid since school hadn't been a massive problem.
About the end of the school year, the mood swings stopped happening exclusively at home and started extending into school... and the library... and other public places. It had been a while since I'd seen that, and I wasn't particularly happy about the Return of the Public Tantrum. I figured that it was some sort of end-of-school-year thing and would settle down during the summer.
The past two weeks have been the worst. I can't take her anywhere without a random mood shift kicking a tantrum into full swing. Today we went to a group meetup with my mom's group. This is a monthly event. M2 knows the kids there. We've been to the venue before. She knows most of the parents, even, and it was at 10 a.m. so there was no way that she was tired. Oh, and she got lunch at approximately 10:30, so she wasn't hungry, either. Didn't matter. She was running around and M1 "put his hands on" her. I did what I always do and told her to use her words and if that didn't work to refer him to me. Most days that'd be fine, and she'd run off and be happy and I wouldn't see her again till something else happened because kids this age DO tattle. I get that. But not today. Today she crawled into my lap and started her routine of fuss/cry/clamber into my lap/paw at mom/pull mom's clothes/shriek/cry some more/etc. It was baaaaad. Other moms were looking and wondering what on earth was happening. Luckily most of them had been informed enough that I think word got around, and I think most of them could see that there is a serious issue that really does need SOME sort of looking into.
Yesterday morning was equally bad. You want to know what set her off then? She got it into her head that I had told her I would play with her, which I hadn't, and I told her I'd play with her as soon as I got done with the project I was working on (making a grocery list, for heaven's sake). Not good enough. Scream/cry/fuss/beat Mama up. Well, THAT makes me want to play with her. She was pounding on my legs, so I told her - again - that it was not okay to hurt Mama and that she could go to her room till I got done and was able to play. Usually that works, even if she does try to beat down her door and destroy things while she "waits." Not yesterday! Yesterday she took her hobby horse (her usual beat-the-crap-out-of-things tool - thank God it's stuffed) and went into MY room and started beating on the furniture in there. Being in my room without permission is a no-no to begin with, and she knew that. She was deliberately being defiant, and she was nonverbal for over an hour... probably closer to an hour and a half by the time I was able to get her truly calmed down and behaving again.
Then she drew me a picture of what goes on in her head when she's being naughty. That was fascinating. She says that there's so much going on in her head that she can't talk and listen to it all at the same time, which is why she grunts at me. Scary much?? And then she started talking about more of the 'dreams' she has at night. That was just terrifying. She doesn't know the word strangle, but apparently people in her dreams die that way. She doesn't know the word impale, but that happens, too. If M1 had a dream like that, I guarantee he'd classify it as a nightmare and be in my room telling me about it pronto. For M2, this is apparently par for the course because I very rarely hear about them. She says she doesn't have "good dreams... only bad ones." I want to say surely there are some good dreams, but when I ask her about her good dreams, she says there aren't any. Yikes.
Now you see why I'm happy about scheduling a psych eval?? Even if the fits are just a phase, the dreams aren't normal. And even if the fits become her new normal, I need to be able to curb them and keep them under control. It'd help if she had some sort of currency, something I could take away or use as a tool to help her behave, but there's nothing I've been able to work out yet. If I threaten to take away her toys, she offers to bag them up and put them in the trash can. If I threaten to make her go to bed early, she says she's tired and wants to do that, anyway. If I try spanking her, she just freaks out which it makes the fit worse, so that's out. The only 'currency' she has is me, and I'm her MOTHER. I can't take ME away. I am consistent and DO follow through with what I threaten or say I will do, but it doesn't faze her. She's a stubborn little goat.
Any thoughts for her, me, M1, and Oz would be greatly appreciated over the next week. If I wind up with one kid who has an ASD issue and one kid with a conduct issue, I don't know what I'm going to do, but surely there's some study somewhere they can be part of, right????