I think that, as a parent, there are days (weeks) when it feels like all children (and perhaps, occasionally, spouse included) are conspiring against you in some evil plan to destroy your sanity. Sometimes they win and you find yourself eating something you shouldn't after the kids go to bed, hoping your husband won't notice how many bites you go back for. Other times, you win and you laugh with maniachal-ness, behind their backs. Perhaps that should be a clear sign that they actually have, in fact, taken your sanity....just without you knowing. Regardless, I sure do like it when I can laugh things off better than when I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the pit of parenting hell.
These weeks usually come after a period of GREAT days. It's like you let your guard down and they take you while you are starting to chill out and relax a little, basking in some of the things you might have actually done right as a parent. They shant be foolish enough to allow us to become cocky, however, and they destroy this feeling of temporary bliss. Shatter it. Obliterate it.
The unfortunate thing about this wave of sanity destruction is that it includes more than said children and spouse. The dog is in on it. Let me describe....
You know hurricane Matthew? Well, his twin, by the same name, resides in our house. After a period of lulling us into bliss, Matthew's fury has been unleashed. For the sake of trying to focus on the positive, lets take a trip down memory lane to the last three weeks.
Matt started epilepsy meds. Almost the day after he started, we began to see improvement. His face seemed more alert, he seems to perceive and feel/process more emotion. His language took a LEAP forward and he started to echo more words, finish more sentences in the books we were reading, carry on more "conversations" (he would look right at you, stay engaged and allow you ask him questions which he would appropriately answer), follow more instructions. His drooling stopped almost completely, he seemed SO HAPPY and he was more affectionate than ever--so many hugs we literally felt smothered in love. I was almost skipping around, lighter than air, feeling like our prayers were being answered. I felt a hope for the future that I had literally fought to allow myself since he was four years old. AMAZING results. People would ask how it was going and I would RAVE about my son. Those he would interact with who knew nothing of the meds would comment on the amazing improvement. It was clearly helping. And that, to me, was an answer to prayers.
I promised myself I would write it down--document what we were seeing because I knew that the slump would come and I would need to be reminded of how things were and how right I felt about this med and how we just need to plug onward and endure this little blip. I thought about it and even had conversations with myself in the form of mini-pep talks so that I would be ready when the pattern persisted and "what went up must come down." Well, down came fast and hard.
With an increase in awareness of those things around him has come an increase in anxiety, prompting more ear-piercing screams (with a giant smile on his face, mind you), more impulsivity (I see more around me and I must therefore touch and try to break more around me), more attention seeking (I want to interact more, but don't understand how to do so functionally yet), and more CRAZY in our house and at school. I do NOT think that, isolated, this would feel discouraging, but that is where the conspiracy part comes in.
When Matt's behaviors and anxiety increase, it is contagious. Adi has started a new routine of active "trying to push Mom's buttons" that begins when she gets home from school and ends when her eyes finally close in sleep. She is sassy, sarcastic, defiant and a stinking PILL combined with a level of cuteness and moments of total humility that make it so hard to punish her. She started to have some challenges at school as well which were VERY difficult for me to emotionally wrap my head around that I'm positive were having a dramatic impact on her behavior. So combine her attention-seeking with Matt's....quite the storm.
Add Izzy to the mix. I called on some reinforcements this morning so that I could focus on Matt and see if we could help set him up for a more successful day by being 100% devoted to him. Grandma was stuck to the other two like glue and we tag-teamed our way through a chaotic morning. Matt still did laps around the table in between each bite, slammed the microwave every time he walked past it, pulled Adi's hair a few times, etc....but it was an improvement. Well, yesterday, Izzy ate about 10 cookies which she stole off the counter and devoured while I was running an errand. Today, I knew the puke/poop were coming. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a hyper but vomit-less dog. Well, lulling strategy worked because I thought we were free and clear. Alas, she went upstairs while I was at the gym and ate Matt's poopy diaper from earlier in the morning that I had neglected to take out to the trash. So poop face greeted me when I got home. I had no time to bathe her because I was racing to work....and I came home to find MASSIVE piles of chocolate chip dog puke all over the floor of our home office. So poop/puke face is about to get a shower.
I think we all have days (weeks) like this. Though I teeter on the edge of sanity, I am super grateful still that I have the perspective to know that this too shall pass....like gas (or in our case, poop/puke). We just have to remember that, when teetering on the edge of our sanity, we ARE getting stronger though this little process. My stomach and ability to deal with vomit have improved dramatically. My fuse has lengthened through all of these tests of patience. My creative "skillz" when it comes to making up punishments has definitely improved. My stealth ninja ability to eat things I shouldn't while my children sleep has been appropriately practiced. My ability to love without condition (that's unconditional love, to spell it out) has most certainly grown. And....I kind of think that's what its all about.