temper tantrum

Before You Judge My Parenting Skills…

When you see my child having a complete throw-down temper tantrum in the store, please don’t assume she’s just spoiled and throwing a fit because I won’t buy her something.

When you see my child crying and me standing there not comforting her, please don’t assume it’s because I’m an unfeeling parent.

When you see my child sitting in a restaurant watching a DVD player or playing with an iTouch with headphones in her hears as she watches videos, please don’t assume we are bad parents who sit our child in front of the TV all day.

When you see my child walking through the mall with a backpack leash on, please don’t assume it’s because I’m a lazy parent who can’t control my toddler.

We live in a reality very different from yours.

A store with lots of smells and noise quickly causes sensory overload for my daughter.  She screams and yells and lashes out and throws herself at me because she has no other way of dealing with her overwhelmed senses.

When she is crying and upset, sometimes it is also because of sensory overload.  For me to pick her up, touch her, comfort her with words, would just add to the sensory stimulation and make the situation worse.  So I stand next to her.  Not touch her.  Not saying anything.  And wait for her to start to calm.  Then I quickly try to refocus her attention on something pleasant for her.

You may see me at this point hand her the iTouch.  It’s not because I don’t want to deal with her.  It’s because after two years of trial and error, we have found an iTouch loaded with coloring / counting / alphabet games and her favorite videos is an effective escape for her.  She is able to focus on it and shut out the external sensory stimulation and therefore calm herself.

A restaurant with loud background music, people talking, weird lighting, is especially overstimulating.  Without a DVD or iTouch to block the sounds and sights, we have less than 5 minutes before you will she her with hands over her ears screaming “TOO LOUD!” over and over.  Then she will start yelling and signing “All done.  All done!”.  Her way of letting us know she needs to get out of that situation and it is too much for her.  Yes, we could lock ourselves in our house and never take her out to a restaurant.  But we want to experience things in her way.  So we choose to use distractions to allow us all to enjoy a meal out without disturbing the other patrons.

And when you see us walking with Vista and she has her backpack leash on it’s not because we have no control over her.  Exactly the opposite.  But to hold our hands in a mall setting is too overstimulating.  The sights, sounds, lights plus the added sensation of touch is too much.  So we use the leash instead.  The clasps on the backpack that go across her chest and hold it tight to her back, also act as a compression which helps calm and focus her.

So the next time you see my child, any child, acting out; the next time you see parents who are not parenting the way you think they should; stop and consider.  What is going on behind the scenes that you have no information on.  Just because kids look normal, doesn’t mean they live in the same world you do.

I don’t know anything about your life.  Please don’t assume you know anything about mine from seeing one two minute interaction with my child.

I Really Hate It When I’m Wrong

I woke up this morning at 8am.  Which counts as sleeping in for me.  I should have been able to bounce out of bed and hop in the shower.  Instead I slowly dragged my ass out of bed, thanked the magical furnace for the fact my room wasn’t freezing for a change, and resisted the urge to start banging my head against the wall when I realized V was awake and wanting to get up.

That urge to bang your head when you’ve been awake less than 2 minutes is NEVER a good sign.   But it’s a big sign for me.  You see, I live in this fantasy world.  A world of happy fairy dust.  That would be the same world where I convince myself that I’m feeling so great I don’t need my anti-depressants anymore.  Because, I’m doing better again.  I obviously just needed more sleep.  I wasn’t depressed after all.  And so I don’t need to take that little pill once a day anymore.  Because I. am. doing. AWESOME.

Day One
Feeling great!  I’m on top of the world.  Told you I didn’t need those stupid pills.  Just more sleep.  Sleep is GREAT!  I’m GREAT!  YAY ME!
Day Two
Hmmm… seem to be having a bit of an off day.  Maybe I’m coming down with something.  I just need some more coffee.  Oooo… and chocolate.  And maybe some Skittles.  Cause who doesn’t love Skittles?  And maybe just a bit more coffee.  Definitely coming down with something.  That must be it.  But I. am. GREAT!
Day Three
You want me to get out of bed?  Are you fucking kidding me?  And if those god damn dogs don’t start barking I’m going to turn them into to fucking fur coats.  Bark collars all around.  That’ll fix you little bastards.  And those fucking cats need to shut the fuck up.  Oh great.  No cat food.  Dammit.  Compose note to Bil telling him he better bring cat food home or I would chop him into little pieces and feed him to the cats.  Cause really?  How fucking hard is it to see we’re getting low on cat food and get more before we completely run out and the cats are meowing, meowing, and they won’t shut the fuck up and if his cat tries to chew that god damn plastic bag one more time I’m going to seriously shove my foot up her ass and use her as a slipper because she’s not good for much else.  Re-read email.  Edit it to ask Bil to pick up cat food on the way home.  Hit send.  Make Vista some breakfast.  Ego waffles is about all I can manage this morning.  Breakfast of champions.  Someone give me a ‘Mommy of the year’ award.  Put on Super Why for V and check the clock every 5 minutes to see if it’s time for her to go down for a nap yet.  Get pissed off and yell at her to pick up her crayons after she throws them all over the room.  Get pissed off and yell at her after she brings me her sippy cup and demands I take the lid off for the 18th time.  Get pissed off and yell at her after she refuses to let me change her diaper.  Get pissed off and yell at her after she goes to her blackboard in the kitchen and starts running her fingernails  down it and wont stop.  Get pissed off and yell at her after I tell her to get the fuck out of the kitchen and she lays down and throws a temper tantrum and I pick her up and bodily move her to the living room and slam the gate to the kitchen closed *insert a lot of screaming from both of us here*.  Realize I am completely losing it.  Make her a bottle and tell her to go to bed.  Freak when she tries to climb into my bed.  Pick her up, put her in her crib with her bottle, close the door.  Go to my computer, turn on Twitter, send this tweet

mommymeds I Really Hate It When Im Wrong

Put the computer down, go into the bathroom and take my little pink pill.  The one that makes me sane again.  Then cry, and cry, and cry.  Cry for being stupid enough to think I could go off of them.  Cry because I hate having to take them. Cry at the realization that this is not going to change.  Cry.

Cry because it only takes 3 days to prove how wrong I was.  Three days to go from happy, great, awesome, loving life, to ‘I wonder what would happen if I just took the whole bottle’.  Yeah.  Three days between sanity and the fact I should probably be in a padded room.  Three days between peace, calm, and happy harp music, to a rage so fierce I don’t know where it comes from and it scares me.

I woke up this morning and thought about blogging and wondered what to write about. I realized I had nothing to say and decided, maybe tomorrow.  Then my brain imploded.  If I could have picked my own topic, this wouldn’t have been it.  I don’t like telling the world that there are days when I’m a crappy mom and a shitty wife and just generally a miserable person.  I don’t like waving the “I take meds in order to pretend I’m somewhat normal” flag.  But I do it because I know I’m not the only one.  I know there is going to be someone else that reads this, goes to the cabinet, takes their meds, and realizes that *they’re* not the only ones.  And that’s why I write.

PS. Bil, could you pick up some more Halloween candy on your way home?  I may have cleaned out our stock of Reese peanut butter cups and Oh Henry bars this morning.  Sorry about that.

Just Add Bubbles

Usually getting Vista in the bath tub is as easy as saying ‘bath’.  But lately, with the nice weather, she’d much rather be up and playing than getting ready for bed.  So tonight, our conversation went something like this…

Mommy: “Vista, I think it’s time for a bath”

Vista: “No.”

Mommy: “Uh, yes.  I think it is.  Bath time sweetie”

Vista: “No!”

Mommy: “Yes honey.  It’s time for a bath now.  Lets go”

At this point she slithered to the floor and proceeded to do the crazed “No!  No BATH!” squirm. (Could someone please remind me why on earth I ever wanted her to hurry up and start talking? )

Bil and I exchanged a look over the two year old temper tantrum happening below.  You know those looks where you can have a 10 minute conversation with your spouse in about two seconds?  Yeah, that look.  I sighed.  I was the woman that always swore no child of mine would ever act like this.  Feel free to laugh hysterically now.

I took another look at the wailing banshee on the living room floor.

Mommy: “Do you want bubbles?”

Instant quiet.

Vista: “Yeah”

And with that she picked herself off the floor, walked into the bathroom and started getting ready for her bath.

I need to find a way to remind myself, the next time she’s having a shrieking, screaming, raving fit about something, all I need to do is find a way to add bubbles.

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