Quick addition at the top… Please order some candy so my girls can go to China… did I mention we might be working in an orphanage?
Kim suggested that I write more about what is going on in our lives, particularly about what is going on with the boy. ?I’ve been reluctant to write about him. ?What I often have to say is a bit complainy and when I complain I get emails from people saying I shouldn’t do that. ?Because I don’t write about him very often one would assume that things are great. ?Of course you know what assuming does… makes an ass out of you and ming.
In this case, assuming that things are spectacular is frankly a big fat WRONG. (I’ll write a post later about what is right, but it will be significantly shorter.)
Christmastime is pretty much awful around here. ?It has been since the first year we brought the boy home. ?That first year he went 3 days without eating and I wore every scrap of food that was put in front of him. ?It was bad. ?The following year was a slightly better, but not a whole lot. ?Last year wasn’t that bad simply because we didn’t have the tons of family around that we usually do. ?This year… O-M-G.
The holiday season is a compounding factor of crappy behaviour. ?There isn’t any one thing or person to blame so I don’t want to sound like I’m calling someone out on the boy’s behaviour. ?I’m just putting that out there.
It all starts when I have 2 1/2 solid weeks of candy making. ?Over the years I’ve learned to make candy in a way that 1) involves the child and 2) lessens the impact on his schedule. ?I also have times when friends come and they bring their children so the boy has someone to play with. ?It is a disruptive time in our lives, but we manage. ?This year we added another layer, a dog. ?No, a gigantic puppy (who is quickly beginning to out weigh the child). ?The boy has been talking about wanting a dog, we have been looking at getting a dog, but the child had no clue how disruptive a very large puppy would be. ?Especially a very high energy puppy. ?He can’t play in his play room like he used to. ?He can’t leave his bedroom door open like he used to. ?He can’t go outside and play like he used to. ?It has thrown everything off.
So now we have chocolates and a dog. ?Chocolates end, dad goes on vacation, school is out for winter break and the family shows up. ?The trusty husband on vacation means another change to the schedule. ?School being out means there is no structure at. all. ?The family showing up means yet another change to the schedule. ?Plus we are trying to potty train the dog so she goes with us wherever we go. ?The family lives 30 minutes away so we drive down to see them almost every day. ?The trusty niece is in the mix and while a 5 year old and a 7 year old can play together well, there is just that little bit of a difference. ?Then Christmas shows up. ?Toys galore, but since we are traveling back and forth to Olympia there isn’t much time to play with his new toys without hauling them, us, the dog and the kitchen sink to Olympia. ?Then the boy got sick. ?Then when he was sick we still took him to Seattle to see the Rockettes (non refundable tickets on the last day of the show). ?Then the family leaves (where there is a trust issue), the trusty husband goes back to work, the boy goes back to school and we still have that dog.
It’s like the perfect set-up for what happens next.
My child does not have a whine factor like most children. ?Most children will sit there and whine and sulk if they don’t get their way. ?It is annoying, but doesn’t make you want to stab yourself in the eye. ?My child goes from 0-10,000 in the blink of an eye. ?There is no intermediate quiet whining. ?It is full on screaming until he’s nearly throwing up. ?We suspect that his slight vocal tic is a result of throat irritation from the screaming. ?It is bad my friends, very very bad. ?Trouble is people outside of our house never see the screaming because he only does it when it’s just us. ?Not only is there screaming there is serious talking back. ?My child developed the attitude of a 13 year old girl.
The screaming and the attitude were so bad that at one point I locked myself in my bedroom and cried. ?I didn’t want to be around the child. ?The joy I felt at being his mom was totally gone.
There came a point a few weeks ago where I couldn’t stand it anymore. ?An hour and a half of straight screaming pushed me over the edge. ?It was that moment that I seriously considered calling a child psychologist. ?I’m still considering it. ?For the time being I took matters into my own hands and staged an attitude intervention.
Now I’m not sure if my methods were the best, but so far the scream level and the talk back level are about 1/2 of what they were. ?Things are not perfect by any means, but they are better. ?What did I do? ?I removed 1/2 of all of the boy’s toys. I took out every single toy box, stuffed animal, fun thing in his room. ?I left him with his stereo, books and play kitchen (but not food or utensils). ?He did get to keep all of the toys in the play room. ?He also lost all TV, computer and Wii privileges while at home. ?The deal is, if he can make it through a whole day without screaming or talking back he gets a box of toys back. ?If he screams or talks back he loses a box from the play room or one he’s earned back. ?So far he’s earned and lost the same box of matchbox cars over and over. ?He still has no TV or video game privileges.
Like I said, it may not be the best system, but it’s making life slightly more livable in our house.