It should have been a terrific week, and in some respects it was. We absolutely had some fun times: playing more than usual (including with the kids' new pogo stick, which the boys are obsessed with); making a couple of day trips out of town; experiencing the High Tea reward; indulging in a movie-and-junk-food afternoon while still in our PJs; spending a few hours at the kids' favourite swimming pool/water slide place; going for a city bus ride downtown (which the boys adored because they chose to stand up during the twenty-five minutes ride and kept careening up and down the aisle when the driver started or stopped or turned quickly); having lunch with the kids' grandparents; the kids taking turns sleeping with me in Geoff's and my bed (I had one night to myself while Geoff was gone!); and a few other things.
I think the kids would say, in retrospect, that their week was a good one overall.
But for me, it wasn't so great.
First, I didn't really understand until this week how much my kids benefit from routine...all three of them. They all (even me at times) felt a little out of sorts, especially in the mornings when we usually do school. We were all a little at loose ends at times. I think that watching move tv than usual also had a negative impact on them...I'm going to try to avoid that mistake again.
Second, I had a disastrous dinner experience out on Tuesday night that impacted me for several days and which undoubtedly had a bearing on my ability to cope with the rough parts of the week...I wasn't sleeping well, and I just wasn't at my best during times when I needed to be.
Third, in addition to the good times, there were some really hard times. Seth had two really hard mornings this week, and Matthew had a pretty brutal day yesterday other than the times we were with my parents around lunch time and with a couple of friends in the evening. I find the child-related hard times sooo hard, and I found myself thinking that surely my boys (esp. Seth) got the wrong mother because I just don't feel capable of some of this stuff.
There was one morning with Seth that was so terribly hard and I just about lost it with him after already expressing exasperation, when he suddenly asked me (from his prone, screaming position on the floor) what would happen to him if Geoff and I died. Crap, I thought. Crap crap crap. In the midst of my own reactionary anger, I had to shut down my own issues because I realized that his behaviour was simply symptomatic of all of the baggage and stuff rolling around inside of him. We passed through those hard few hours but all of the frustration that had been building inside of me as a result of his behaviours still had nowhere to go. I felt so inept, so incompetent, so like a failure. I just don't know how to do this, I thought over and over.
That wasn't the only bad morning with Seth, and my anxieties and feelings of incompetence were only magnified when Sunday hit and Matthew exhibited hour after hour of behaviours resulting from his own sensitivities and his ongoing adjustments and rage over having the siblings that he also desperately loves. Things have gotten so much better with/for Matthew overall, but sometimes he's still very triggered and those times are h-a-r-d. Will he ever adjust, I thought. Will this ever end, I wondered as I sent the younger kids to play in another room (mostly to protect them from the rage) while I sat with Matthew on the floor of our front hall for an hour in the morning and well over an hour in the afternoon while he raged and screamed and threw baskets of laundry everywhere.
When the worst was finally done, so was I. Even knowing that tv doesn't have a great impact on the kids, I turned it on for them yesterday afternoon so that I could cry into the dishwater and hide my grief and anxiety and insecurities from the kids.
Just when I think things are getting better...