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Perception

November 24, 2009

My child is easily frustrated. If she can’t figure out the puzzle in 10 seconds, she is prone to throwing it across the room. She also prefers to use one crayon in her coloring book, filling the page as fast and furious as she can, instead of using many colors and filling in different elements on the page.

She used to take pride in doing things herself, now she screams “I CAN’T DO IT!” and bursts into tears if her sock doesn’t go on smoothly. Her emotions go from angry to sad, from crying to giggling uncontrollably within minutes. Sometimes I catch her rolling on the floor laughing, the tears she was spouting moments earlier, still visible on her cheeks.

Typical 3-year-old? Typical Gemini? Typical child from a broken family? All of the above?

Grandma Roofie asked to spend some time with LB over the weekend, and I dropped her off for the afternoon. Blondie Jr was already there. Grandma used to be LB’s primary caretaker on the weekends, when Rooferman was “figuring his sh*t out” and was gone from our lives. LB and Grandma Roofie were very close, and I valued the time they spent together.  Now that Roofie have solidified their relationship, Grandma has become the drop-off point for Blondie’s kids, and the time spent with LB has vanished almost completely.

Grandma is sad about this, but she also wants to support her son and his new “wife.” His requests to watch Blondie’s offspring have become more and more frequent. With Baby Roofie coming (I’m guessing February or March), I predict Grandma Roofie’s free time being all but consumed.

During the short time I was there, Blondie Jr was too busy bouncing off the walls to impart any further gems of what her mother thinks of me. Grandma Roofie looked exhausted already. Even Grandpa Roofie whispered into my ear, “Lord, she wears me out.”

“LB’s preschool teachers say she sleeps for 3-4 hours during naptime the monday after she comes back from their house,” I told Grandpa.

Grandma told me when Roofie and the kids are around, “It’s constant. Every second, ‘Don’t do this’, ‘sit down and eat that’, giving orders and telling them what to do. I forgot what it was like to have kids that age.”

I looked at Grandma Roofie sadly. I ask LB to do lots of things, but I don’t think I yell at her ALL DAY LONG. Does she consider that normal? Unfortunately, I don’t have a say in what goes on at Roofies. I just have to live with the effects of it.

All I know is that my kid gets stressed. She’s having trouble dealing with frustration, solving her problems and calming down. I watched Blondie Jr pick up LB, toss her bed, start jumping up and down on the mattress, and sardonically wondered why.

How can a 3-year-old compete with the energy level of an attention-deprived 7-year-old? How can she even get a word in between Blondie Jr’s cavorting and Roofie’s constant ordering?

When I picked her up a few hours later, LB had soaked her pants with urine. Her eyes were wide, as if she’d been on a rollercoaster for the entire afternoon. I wonder if there is no down time at all at Roofies? I wonder if it’s just constant, screaming, yelling chaos, where LB is so overwhelmed, she can’t even focus enough to take a potty break.

LB’s teacher said to me, “Older kids have a knack for getting younger kids into trouble. We think that’s what’s happening at LB’s dad’s house, which explains why she’s insistent on being right all the time when she comes back to preschool.”

I hate to think of my kid caught in a sandstorm of tension and stress, totally powerless as to what happens to her. Where her opinion means nothing to the people around her. Where is expected to stay quiet, play nicely and take orders, nothing else. Like puppies leaping up on their master’s leg at feeding time, the kids at Roofie’s house are irritatedly kicked off and told to shut up.

Maybe my imagination gets the better of me, but that’s my perception.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2009 11:00 am

    ❤ As discouraging as these sorts of posts are, I'm glad you're making them again–I really really hope things get better for you soon. Also, I hope you & LB move up to this area soon 😉 that should help alleviate the stress of having to live with Roofie more that a few times a year. Good luck!

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  2. November 24, 2009 12:00 pm

    I know it’s not really easy to hear this right now in the midst of it, but I do believe that LB will be better off in the long run for learning how to deal with these types of problems earlier in life. She’s struggling with it right now because, come on, she’s only 3! But she will learn when and how to take a stand, and when and how to take a back seat from these times.
    Like I said, doesn’t make it easy right now, but the lessons our kids learn through these trying ex-factors make them better people later in life. You’ll just have to trust me on this.

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  3. November 24, 2009 2:20 pm

    The Mook did a backslide in her independent streak when she hit 3. Easily frustrated and unwilling to ask for help, she would have a fit if something didn’t go her way.

    So, it’s a 3-yr old thing. And it’s an opportunity for you to teach her that she doesn’t have to do everything on her own, that it’s ok to ask for help. Which, I KNOW, can be hard when it’s not something you feel okay with doing yourself, as a ‘grown-up’. We have both learned to sometimes just take a deep breathe and ask for help and realize our limitations.

    The Mook and I have the most fun when we color together. She’ll often get stuck on one color, or filling an entire page with random amoeba shapes and sometimes it’s just a matter of giving her a smaller piece of paper (or the scissors to cut the paper herself) or another marker/crayon choice.

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  4. November 24, 2009 3:11 pm

    Whew.

    Your perception makes me very very sad. I seriously have tears in my eyes Hanna. Surely there’s someway to help her…

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  5. November 24, 2009 4:57 pm

    Will she talk to you about it? I am sad too.

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  6. November 24, 2009 5:51 pm

    Hannah, I’m so sorry but I identify. I’m going through a bit with Miss M now and asked the child therapist about it. She said it’s a natural reaction to frustration over divorce. Problem is, they are too young to really understand why they feel the way they do. She suggested asking her questions: “Are you sad?” “Are you mad?”, and if you can get an answer, then ask why she’s sad “Are you sad because you can’t put the puzzle together?” Are you sad because you miss Mommy?” It’s SO hard and just breaks my heart. What the therapist then suggested is to continually reassure her that Daddy AND Mommy love her, offer to help her with what thing is frustrating her (the puzzle) without doing it for her. She said helping her understand that sadness, anger, and frustration are normal and ok, and then helping her work through it without explosions takes time but is what they need. Remaining CALM but loving yourself is huge though. She can’t see that you’re sad or frustrated but should feel that you’re concerned and that you love her. It’s worked pretty well for Miss M, but sometimes I just have to give her a little space and say something like “Baby, I’m sorry you’re sad and I want to help you, but if you want to be alone that’s ok. I’ll just sit over here until you’re ready to talk.” Usually after a couple minutes she comes over and sits in my lap.

    Good luck. 😦

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  7. November 24, 2009 6:09 pm

    I’m so sorry. I agree with what April said. It will make her stronger in the long run, but that doesn’t make it easy right now. Poor LB!

    As far as the independence thing, I don’t know if that’s normal for three-year-olds or not, but I’ve noticed Shiloh doing the same thing. She’s been putting her socks and shoes on since she was barely a year old and suddenly she “can’t do it”. She can’t get her milk out of the fridge, can’t pick up her toys, etc. It’s been driving me crazy. Just when she’s old enough to really do some things by herself, she starts going backwards. Hoping it’s just a stage.

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  8. November 24, 2009 6:27 pm

    I’m inclined to think it’s a 3-year-old thang, too. O is exactly the same way. Also, he always wants to color with BLACK, which sort of freaked me out a bit, but then my friend, who is a wonderful, sparkling woman, told me she did the same thing, and her dad took all her black crayons away b/c it freaked him out. 🙂

    But nonetheless, being intune to what’s going on isn’t bad, but know that unfortunately, you can’t change things. Not right now, anyway. So you do the best you can with what you know. It’s the best you can do, it’s the best anyone can do. Trying to control and uncontrollable situation just ends up to frustration on everyone’s part.

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  9. November 24, 2009 10:38 pm

    Wow Hanna. I want to call you and talk to you about this! I have some similar things going on with Bug. I think a lot of it is a three year old thing, and a lot of it is the stress of two households. I’m glad you posted about this, I know I can relate.

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  10. November 25, 2009 10:18 am

    Ugh. All of this sounds VERY familiar. I wish I could say it gets better but…not really, not for me anyway but I also have many factors at play that you do not. Either way, it’s so hard for kids to live in two entirely different households that are in conflict instead of united.

    I hope, like others have said, that LB is better for learning to deal with the crap early on. FWIW, as a child I recognized my own parents shortcomings early on and strived to NOT be like them. Somehow, I knew they were “off”. Kids are smart and very resiliant and with you as her mom, LB will be okay.

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  11. November 29, 2009 10:34 am

    The first paragraph describes my three-year-old too. I spend a lot of time around kids and not ALL kids are like that, but ours are. End of story.

    I hate this post for you. I really do.

    But I think your stability and love will make all the difference in LB as she grows and learns and develops.

    I just hope you don’t give up… don’t lose hope… don’t doubt your awesomeness as LB’s mother.

    You’ll all make it through. Even thought that doesn’t make it suck any less.

    Hugs.

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