Saturday, August 7, 2010

And This, Too, Shall Pass

**After snapping this shot, John says "Open your eyes !" They are open; I'm that tired.**

I think it's safe to say every parent has experienced their child going through a slight regression in behavior. New siblings, situations, milestones and even just because can cause your once "normal" toddler to lash out and act odd. Turner and Eli have been through a lot in the last year and a half but I think the icing on the cake for them was getting a baby brother just hours after Daddy returned from deployment.

Boy, have we stumbled backwards and landed hard. We are in the perfect storm of toddlerhood, changes and post deployment.

Now, if you would have asked me the week before this all went down if I thought any of it would affect the kids I would have disagreed. I mean my perfectly well adjusted, sweet, boys rock. Why would they have a problem? It's no big deal!

(insert evil laughs here)

I never added in the extraneous variables: Turner is almost 4, and in a very volitale state as such; Eli is every bit two going on 4; post-pregnancy hormones; and my family members turning in to circus side shows.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary the week after John came home. There was a newborn thrown in to the mix but the kids seemed ok. John was at work and it almost seemed like our new "normal." It was during John's leave period we started to notice Turner's behavior "worsen" (for lack of a better term) and things just tumbled downhill. Bed time became a nightmare; Turner started having night terrors. There have been angry outbursts, lots of screaming, terrible defiance and just really not being himself. For a week and a half John and I went back and forth with "ok, it's normal" and "maybe we should consult a child psychologist about post deployment behaviors." I mean, it's just been a painful adjustment for the poor kid. He's not taking any form of discipline and fuggadaboutit if it's from John. He regressed in his potty abilities, he'll use baby talk, and the worst is the anger. Yesterday he threw a car at my face after I took a fire truck and put it in "time out" (because he threw that in anger). After he sat in time out and would talk, I asked him why he was so mad and he said "I'm angry because Daddy left me." Not having the ability to fully grasp that Daddy is just at work is terribly difficult for him. After two weeks of screaming fits and up ALL NIGHT LONG (literally), he's sleeping on the floor in our room because he doesn't trust that John isn't going to leave him.

Eli didn't really understand what happened but he's showing regressions, too. The one most noticable is his separation anxiety from me. I have to be the one he knows the wearabouts of all the time, I have to kiss everything and he's been very affectionate toward just me.

After speaking briefly with the base social worker and child psychologist John and I decided that it's just what we're going to have to deal with and we're going to have to be firm in our decision to "uninvite" Turner (and Eli) from our room. We are standing fast with our bed time routine and the "stay in bed" technique. Turner goes down ok and it all starts anywhere from 10pm-12am: the screaming, the crying for Daddy. We go in and check at 5, 10 and then 15 minute intervals (staying at 15). It seems like forever for the night to go by but this is what must happen right now.

Eli fights harder at nap time by screaming at me and tearing off diapers. He'll make himself poop, throw up or anything it takes to get someone back in the room. I know, you're saying "just pay attention to his needs in the first place." Let me tell you we have done EVERYTHING with these kids from gentle to Ferber. NOTHING.IS.WORKING. This is week one, we'll let you know how it all goes...

A little compassion goes a long way but, in the end, we all just need some sleep.

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