I’m Sorry

I’ve just come downstairs after bed routine and wanted to share this…

After I had read the book we chose, my eldest looked at me and said sorry. I asked why and he mumbled something. I asked him to repeat it and his voice went quiet and shaky. He got emotional and I couldn’t hear all of the words, but I did hear him say I’m sorry for hitting you, and I love you.

I showered him with hugs and kisses and explained that I was sad he had hit me, but that I understood he finds it hard when he gets upset. I told him that I am so proud of him, that he is the sweetest, loveliest little boy and that we love him so much. Daddy said the same.

It reminded me of something I forgot to mention about the journey home. Once his meltdown had passed, he kept randomly hugging me and kissing my hand. He does this a lot. Like he is so overwhelmed with love, and just feels compelled to show it. It’s almost like he feels grateful you are still there. I will always be there! Always!

I know some people believe the children are being naughty and need to be punished through smacking, fear etc, but if you can ride out the meltdowns/difficult episodes with understanding and patience, it is so much better for all parties in the long run. That doesn’t take away how hard this is in the moment, and how much easier it is to say this than to do it.

If we were to be impatient, physical etc…I believe he would spend more time dwelling on this treatment rather than being able to see that we are there for him through thick and thin. And, despite the frustrations we face as adults in these scenarios, I believe it is so much harder for the child. They are helpless and powerless. Vulnerable. We need to model the behaviour we expect.

I am proud that my son feels secure and safe with me. I believe that giving him the space and time he needs is enabling him to explore his emotions and reflect on his actions. Obviously, from the beginning we have had to teach him the language etc, like with any child, but it is in there and he is drawing on everything he has learned.

I have to keep remembering that although life is tricky right now…it won’t always be this way. We are building the foundations for what is hopefully going to form a confident, successful young man, with whom we will share a special bond.

Struggling

So, I’m not going to lie…I am struggling this evening!

Horrendous weekend, behaviour wise. I can’t tell you why… all I can tell you is that after a pretty good spell with my eldest, he is clearly not coping.

It could be down to a number of things.

We have had, from one or both children: refusing to sit at the table, refusing food, blowing raspberries, spinning, dumping toys, crashing toys, being rough, trying to jump on beds/couch, dangerous behaviour, shouting when not getting their own way, screaming, meltdowns, hitting, self-harm, headbutting, avoidance, baby talk, rolling on the floor, impatience, trying to play on stairs, taking things from the fridge/freezer without asking, trying to wander off elsewhere in the house to do gosh knows what…the list goes on!

I have tried to deal with the behaviours as I always do but for the last three days, nothing seems to be working.

My eldest seems extremely anxious.

I have been doing lots of reading, as always, and have reached out to parents of SPD children. I was referred to a link which was initially suggested to help me with my youngest…but it is in fact my eldest. I am going to share this link in another post. It discusses PDA.

My eldest has an issue with getting wet, despite being obsessed with water…and I mean obsessed!

It was raining when I collected him. He had a huge meltdown…refused to walk and didn’t want to go in the pram because water was dripping from the cover. He wanted me to carry him home. I explained that I could not and gave him the option of pram or walking. I had to dry the pram in every area he perceived to be wet, or discoloured. We managed a few steps before he scraped his feet on the ground, making it impossible to push the pram. He tried to climb out of the pram and got stuck, which upset him greatly. When I took him out to walk, he wouldn’t put his feet to the ground because it was wet. He hung from me and almost knocked me over.

Then, some raindrops wet his trousers. Rather than stripping off, like he usually does, he had a huge meltdown…screaming, crying and pleading with me to take the wet away.

We discussed the purpose of shoes. I showed him the raindrops on my leggings and the bottom of my shoes. Nothing worked. He tried to climb me and I nearly dropped him onto the ground.

I pretended to dry the patches…and we discussed how they would dry…and that we could dry everything at home.

I lifted him up, kissed and cuddled him, and after some time and effort, managed to convince him to walk with me, pushing the pram. We had to keep pausing to discuss the rain and he kept crying about being wet.

“Please take me in the car next time, Mummy!”
“I’m afraid I can’t!”

His face showed real pain and tears were streaming down his red, patchy cheeks. I feel so torn between conflicting emotions…feeling frustrated and inconvenienced…also feeling so sorry for this little soul who cannot control his emotions and reactions. Ninety nine percent of the time, his needs outweigh my own and I take a deep breath, push aside my feelings and try everything I can possibly think of to make him feel happier. I wish he didn’t have to go through this all the time…that we didn’t have to experience this all the time.

Once we were home, I started dinner. Once we sat down to eat, another meltdown commenced. This time, the other child jumped on the bandwagon. I got hit in the face! My eldest has a talent for always striking the same place, every time! We removed them both, placing them somewhere safe, and just stared at each other…exhausted and exasperated. My husband asked, “What have we done to deserve this? Daily! We give them so much love. We try so hard to meet all of their needs. Having special children is hard…and I’m worn!”

At least we have each other. Although, it does cause tension at times, it’s nice to have that other human being who gets it…really gets it! Who lives it!

As I write this, the children are playing beautifully. Calm after the storm. Oh…spoke too soon…

School Pick Up

All children get tired after school but for my eldest, this has a huge impact.

I took the children to get a treat from the bakery. They ate their snacks and I used a wipe on the children’s hands and faces. Then without thinking, I wiped some sugar from my eldest’s jumper. He hates getting wet. Alongside being tired…this was too much…and he had a meltdown.

He screamed, cried, hit me in frustration and began to take his top off, in the middle of the street.

I watched the other parents walking by with their children. People were staring, as usual, and the rest were just going about their business, popping into shops, jumping into cars or walking home…with such effortlessness.

It took me almost an hour and a half to walk home…when usually it takes no longer than 25 minutes.

Tonight a family member said they wish I didn’t worry so much what other people thought and this struck a chord. I reflected on this and realised that it isn’t so much that I am worried what other people think, it’s the fact I am so exhausted from the daily struggles and battles I face. I adore my children, but for a brief moment, I watched the other families and felt slightly envious. I would love to be able to pop to the park with the children or even just walk home without all the dramas that unfold from a plethora of triggers I can’t control.

I think control is one of my frustrations. I can’t control what people think or how my children behave. I feel utterly helpless. The snapshot people see of my children ‘misbehaving’ is of course going to make people form opinions about my parenting. I feel this is unjustified and wish they could see beyond the snapshot to see just what I juggle and what a good job I do, and how loved and happy the children are the rest of the time. But sadly, this is not possible.

This morning my youngest had a meltdown because we couldn’t walk home the way we normally do. This lasted a long time and resulted in him removing all of his clothes and weeing on the carpet. He has had a few behavioural differences since he was very young, but now they are becoming more prominent. Ah, the magical age of two and a half to three, just like my eldest. However, they both experience very different behaviours and difficulties.

It probably sounds like I accept and tolerate this behaviour…but I really don’t. However, during meltdowns there is very little you can do ‘in the moment’.

My youngest presents as angry. Everything seems to annoy and upset him. But when he snaps out of it, he is just the loveliest soul. I am still learning about strategies to use with him, as the things I have in place for his brother are not working.

My eldest is going through ASD/SPD diagnosis. We are also looking into Tourettes and Dyspraxia. He also meets criteria of ADHD,

My youngest is being assessed for behavioural difficulties. He certainly has some SPD issues but these are different to his brother. His behaviours seem to be related to ADHD or ODD.

I’m so mentally, physically and emotionally drained right now.

Ying & Yang

I am so happy with the school my son is at. It’s only early days, I know, but so far they really seem to get him.

He looks forward to going in and although he is obviously having a few challenges, they have already set up a safe space for him to go to etc.

I was about to explain something to his teacher this morning and before I’d completed my sentence, she finished it with the same thoughts!

You can see they really do treat the children as individuals and try to get to know them as people.

In other news, my youngest is not coping well with his big brother going to big school. Today is the first day he didn’t get upset when we left him.

We attended a toddler group, but when we reached the end of the session (tidying up/transitions), he struggled to cope and had a huge tantrum. I took him outside and brought him back once he had calmed. We did this once more but the third time the tantrum escalated so I had to put him in his stroller.

I could not physically strap him in so thankfully a lovely mum from the group helped me. She was so calm and reassuring. I haven’t come across many people who offer help so I was a little overwhelmed. What a lovely person!

We had to walk past a coffee area full of older people. Most people smiled and gave understanding faces but some of the older people pulled a very different face, clearly thinking my child is a brat and I am a terrible mother.

I am learning to filter this out and focus on the positive as most people were friendly.

Today was most definitely a tantrum. He was hungry, tired and unhappy with the transition. Last week he coped just fine…but today was clearly a different day.

I gave him his comforter once we got outside and he calmed down immediately. He then spoke to me about what he had done when we got home and has been as good as gold.

I was reluctant to take him to the group today as his behaviour has been tricky this week. However, I thought I needed to give it a try! I’m sure some of the other parents would have preferred it if I had stayed at home!

We can always try again next week…

If they all run out of the door when we arrive, I will quite understand!

😂🤦‍♀️

Meltdowns

Wow, today has been a hard day so far! 😪

Meltdowns from both children. One over a nappy change and the other because of the noise from the initial meltdown. The first meltdown lasted for almost an hour! I’ve been kicked, shouted and screamed at…

I was told by somebody a while ago that they wouldn’t tolerate being hit and maybe the children would benefit from being hit back!

I don’t believe violence teaches anything, and I don’t see how violence is effective when dealing with violence, for the hypocrisy value alone. I think I am being asked to rule by fear! I don’t believe in that either. Even if I did…these people clearly haven’t raised children with additional needs.

My eldest, for example, has no concept despite the repeated conversations and role play.

When they are having meltdowns, they both present differently. My eldest has utter loss of control and looks confused, almost upset and forlorn. He throws himself around as though he just doesn’t know what to do with himself and hits out at me.

My youngest is just so extreme. He gets incredibly angry and throws or kicks things. He shouts and continues to the point that he sobs and doesn’t know how to come down. His tend to go on for around an hour so it’s pretty hard to deal with.

Feeling a bit broken.

Also feeling conscious that I’m making them sound terrible, when in fact they are not. They have clear boundaries and consequences in place, and on the most part they are just a joy to be around. Everybody comments on how polite and well behaved they are…but when something triggers them…my goodness…