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When is there a good stage?

(3 Posts)
Emerencealwayshopeful Wed 06-Dec-17 11:39:47

When my first was tiny people who saw me exhausted and desperate to breastfeed told me that it got better I thought maybe they knew something I didn’t and that it would.

Because I’m not good at reasoning or sensible forward planning I had 4 in 5.5 years. Partly because I couldn’t see why anyone would get out of the nappy stage and voluntarily go back to it.

I homeschooled and ran a business and put on a conference the year my children were 1,3,5,7. And then decided that there wasn’t enough of me to go around, so the big two went to school and I got a puppy and sold the business. All the people who told me that I’d have more time to myself when my children were at school clearly have different children than mine.

This year (I’m in Australia for extra context) in February we gave youngest child a bonus kinder year, because that’s the thing here, if kid is not 5 by January of the year they go to school much of the population takes advantage of the clause that allows a bonus year for their children. So all four children in full time education at same school, with youngest in the kindergarten part.

So - apologies to all who have got this far - my body noticed that I suddenly had spare time and started breaking down. By the end of first term I couldn’t walk without a walking stick and was sleeping at least two hours in the middle of the day in order to manage the before and after school madness. By mid-year I was using crutches full time but all doctors and health team etc believed I’d plateaud. Ha. Fooled them, my body did. Public collapse, emergency room, week in hospital, month in rehab and home in a wheelchair. Likely to need a wheelchair at least part time for all times and my children have collapsed in all sorts of fun ways.

But my eldest. No one told me that preadolescent boys would be this much of a nightmare to live with. I admit that when I realised I would one day have three teenage boys I wondered how I’d missed that fact in all my having them all close together so they would grow up together and so forth. But 11 is seriously hideous to live with.

It’s been a shit year, yes. But somehow right now it’s all about him. Everything. By day two of my return home he was having 2-3 hours worth of meltdowns after school daily. He started having anxiety attacks in class. I claimed all sorts of imaginary things and got him registered as a young carer. I got a paediatrician appointment and we got him drugs. We could see those were working over the three weeks of school holidays but by week 2 of term 4 school stuff was getting impossible. I got him a wonderful psychologist. He has two awesome teachers, supports in every possible direction you can imagine and he still can’t quite manage to believe anyone else has feelings or needs.

He outdid himself last Thursday with a display of rudeness towards some teachers that from what I can tell was rather spectacular. We’ve talked about it. He has decided to spend his meagre savings on chocolate and a Sorry note. But he’s not budging on going to the last instrumental class of the year. He insists that it is so bad that it will harm his playing to attend. The school instrumental program is pretty awful, but he does need to attend tomorrow and pretend for 45 minutes that he is mature enough to play in tune when asked. If possible he should play very loudly to drown out everyone else because he is at least a competent musician. He insists that attending the class will ruin his life - no stranger to hyperbole my son - and that we are all unfair.

My current plan is to sit in on the class because that way I’ll at least be witness to it. He isn’t at all pleased with that solution but since he’s taken himself to my parents house I don’t need to hear all about it.

But seriously - he is impossible every morning and takes full advantage of my inability to come upstairs and physically dress him and drag him down. He swears under his breath whenever he remembers to. He annoys his siblings because that is funny, but is terribly hurt if anyone tries to tease him. He’s decided he’d like to be non-binary. Which is lovely but we live in a binary world so right now that’s fine but he’s sleeping in the boys dorm at camp and using the boys facilities. He is difficult in pretty much any way he can find to be difficult. He is 11 with hair nearly to his waist which he still can’t put in a ponytail by himself, which means I’ve now hunted an occupational therapist to teach him that.

No one told me that this hormone surge was coming and would destroy every peaceful moment I could carve out of this awful year. No one.

So, if you’ve lived through these years, tell me - were the kids who were awful as preadolescents reasonably nice once they hit the actual teen years? If one of my darlings is like this at 11 does this increase my chances that a sibling might be?

He’s now trying to convince everyone that his outbursts of anger are actually anxiety attacks and therefore not something in his control.

Also that I keep asking him to do sooo much more to help, which is true if we are comparing it to the month his father was officially looking after them but I’m asking less than I did in term 1 even though I do actually need more help.

7 school days left. Help me enjoy my child in the 3 weeks left before I drive him 3 hours to a two week camp. With my brand new left foot accelerator and therefore slightly more need to concentrate on the road than in past years.

If you give me opportunity to tell you how I’m failing any of the others I can do that too. Plenty of mediocre parenting at this end.

(And further apologies to anyone who got to the end and hoped for an actual end. Brain too tired for coherent thought. I think I managed to be at least partly on topic, yes?)

Codlet Wed 06-Dec-17 12:49:51

Wow, OP. There is a lot going on in your life and reading this post has left me feeling slightly overwhelmed!

The issue I’m going to pick up on is your son’s mental health. I work at a university and I can tell you that serious mental health problems among young people are far more prevalent than they used to be. He’s now trying to convince everyone that his outbursts of anger are actually anxiety attacks and therefore not something in his control. It could be that this is true.

Does he want to go on the 2-week camp? My 12yo DS (with no anxiety issues) would find it rather daunting to be away from home for two weeks.

Emerencealwayshopeful Wed 06-Dec-17 13:14:45

I’m aware of the mental health things. He’s getting every tiny bit of support I can manage. The anger and anxiety are probably linked. But working out where one end and the other begins is impossible. And he’s a little too much of a smart arse so is absolutely sometimes deliberately provoking.

He very much wants to go to the camp. A few close friends are going, his best friend’s parents are looking after him on visitors day and I’ve organised another friend to give him a present from us too.

I am driving him up so he arrives day 2 and my ILs will pick him up a day early and he’ll stay with them for a few days and arrive home clean and having slept (I hope). The adult child ratio is almost 1:1 because last years leaders all stayed on. If he hates it I’m only half an hour away for the first 4 days but after that it’s 3.5 hours to collect him if needed. We are working on an anxiety management plan and he’ll have a short get to know you session with whoever is volunteered to be his down-calmer as soon as school is done.

He’ll either have an amazing time and then spend remaining 3 weeks making our lives hell because we are not as much fun as camp, or he’ll hste it and will spend those weeks hating me for organising so many things to make it possible for him to go.

But suffering now means he’ll be a dream kid as a teenager? Please give me hope that this could be true.

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