Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Adjustments

There has been quite an adjustment around here since Kindergarten started. First of all, on a normal week, I used to drive to post 7-8 times a week. This was to take Ashlyn to hourly care, back to pick her up, and other activities. Now, for an average week I will be driving to post 3-5 times a week. So, saving money on gas. More time at home. I can get more done around the house, not only because I am home more, but because Ashlyn isn't here. Christopher still takes a morning nap, and just requires less of my attention.

At the same time, Ashlyn is so busy and so tired. CRANKY. Oh, and Christopher is teething, so we're not sleeping all night. I'm tired, too. So, I'm not handling it well. There has been a lot of yelling in our house this past week or so (from both of us.) There has also been a lot of hitting and kicking (from Ashlyn.) By the time both of them have made it to bed at night, I have been totally worn out and spent the night thinking about how much better I should have handled Ashlyn's outbursts. Poor girl. I'm trying to remind myself that she is in a new environment every morning, when she is used to spending more time at home. But, by the time that she has screamed at everyone all afternoon, pulled the cat, kicked the dog, hit me a few times, and hit or kicked her brother for the 4th time that day, I'm done! We've spent a good part of each day with Ashlyn asking me if I'm happy. (We talk about our feelings a lot around here.) I tend to tell her that I am either mad, frustrated, or sad. She sniffs a bit and tells me that she's not happy, either.

Last Friday was the worst. She was horribly cranky from the time she woke up. She had obviously been crying when she arrived at school. One of her teachers was so surprised because she said that Ashlyn smiles the entire time that she is at school (of course she saves this for me!) She started crying and griping at me the moment I picked her up and it continued the rest of the day. She sat in time out, screaming, in front of the commissary. I alternated between wanting to take her out of school for a few days a week and wanting her to stay there until bed time.

Today was a better day. During Christopher's nap, Ashlyn watched a little bit of Dora. We read several books and put together puzzles. She got more individual attention from me, and I think that helped. She still ended up yelling at Christopher and Ranger, but it was short lived and I managed to put her in time out without yelling, too. Allen also made it home just before dinner and played with both kids while I was finishing up dinner. Ashlyn really misses her daddy when he is working a lot.

I hope that keeping our afternoons calm for her will help. I will try to save any cleaning or computer work for mornings so that I can give her the extra attention. I hope that things will work out, and she will adjust to spending the morning in school. Right now I'm just exhausted.

9 comments:

Natalie said...

That was our first week.

Now, she's calmed down, begs to go to school and stay all day. She misses her dolls and sister so much, when she gets home, she plays quietly and nicely with her sister and then takes a long nap - which I'm going to have to shorten b/c she's getting up too early in the morning, despite her bedtime being pushed back.

We have had more screaming and frustration outbursts than normal (though not frequent enough for alarm-yet) - which I do NOT handle well either and yelling ensues. Matt tells me he hears me ALL THE WAY DOWN the street. I've got to improve on this.

What I am saying is that I think it'll get better for you soon. Could it be she's overtired from school all morning and needs a nap again? Or, she's frustrated with the language barrier or both? I'm sure you thought about all the factors.

I'm not really one to hand out advice b/c I have too many temper issues I need to get under control.
Good luck!

The Dunns said...

I struggle with anger and yelling, too. Just know that you are not along. Anger is a very isolating emotion. But what you are describing is pretty normal. I have been told a lot lately that where I am right now (3 boys 4 & under) is probably going to be one of the most difficult times for me. That helps a little to know.

I also heard recently that anger is a natural expression of some other emotion. So if someone is afraid, tired, jealous, lonely... they will often express it with anger. Do you know what Ashlyn might actually be expressing when she is angry?

I have been able to start FAME and I feel so much better. When I sleep (ha!), I sleep better. I can handle the boys better without losing it. In fact, I recently found my sense of humor again (although there is a fine line between sense of humor and clinically insane!). So, for me, exercise and getting enough sleep make so much difference!

Hopefully, you will get a break soon.

KimS said...

Oh, my sympathies. Just when we think we've got a handle on things, life throws us a change in routine (baby learns to crawl, nap gets dropped, kid goes to preschool, whatever), and all our sense of mastery goes kaput.

You'll have my prayers while you all get this straightened out. And what they said above, I echo-- you're not alone.

The Capozzoli Clan said...

Angie I hear ya loud and clear....even if you are yelling and screaming! Having children...not babies....but children shows you just how ineffective you/we/me mainly are as a human beings and where you/we/me mainly, again, went wrong in terms of learning life lessons and how to learn to handle emotions as a kid. I, like other mommies, also have problems with anger, yelling, screaming, feeling rage come on when trying to handle a situation with my kids....all totally normal and yet I feel that I am ineffective because I "should" be better at handling my anger in dealing with my kids. I watch Kevin and he is a pro...I wonder why can't I be like that. And then I remember, I am not a male....compartmentlization is not normal or second nature for me....and I don't get to go to work to have normal/adult conversation with others for 8 or so hours a day to return home to my loving children who run into my arms and want to play with me for the 1 hour I am awake until I go to bed...no that is not my life, but it is Kevin's. So I guess he can control his anger better...do you think?

What I am saying is reading your post was a day in the life at my house too. You are not alone. I fell prey to the "shoulding" of what I think I "should" be as a mom and the denial that my anger is not working and secretly wanting to change it but oh so afrid to because that meant I had to stop denying that maybe I was not being the best mommy to William and Paul. I have never written this...just told my best friend on the phone...and now it is in a comment....oh well...life happens.

For me I found sanity in reading that book....Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed Child. It helped me learn how to deal with my anger, my tone of voice, my yelling and screaming so that I am a better mommy to William. The best part is that his anger has gotten better....not great ....but better. And that is forward progress!!!!! He is more aware of it and how to talk to me and others. Now mind you, not everyday is perfect....I still yell...try hard to not...but find that I am thinking so much more about my phrasing and my presentation when I talk with him that it helps so much more. And I agree, extra one-on-one attention is a big help.

I wish you sleep and some sweet moments in your days that will get you through the tough times.

Keep being a strong willed mommy!

amanda said...

Bless your heart, Angie. What can I say but that misery appreciates a little company...I love every day with Beth, and luckily most of our day is happy right now - but I go to bed almost every night knowing I could have done more, been more patient, handled her tantrum(s)/continual potty training disasters better, feeling I'm a terrible mama and not actually up to the challenge the way I was beginning to think I was. Oh, confidence...such a hilarious feeling, because a kick in the pants is usually coming right behind it.

I just can't say how much I cried reading your post and yet how relieved I was...I know that's bad, but I know at the same time you'll understand. I'm so sorry you're going through a spell of rough waters. We are here, too, on a lot of fronts, and that doesn't make it easier to be patient and steady with my girl. I just want to be good to her all the time and to love her and always remember to be so glad she's mine...but, of course, days just can't always be like that, and I end up feeling like a troll sometimes. I can see she's just getting more and more resistant and throwing more and more fits in response to not instantly getting what she wants, and I know that I must have gone through this and that when I did, I was probably jerked up short in a lot of ways. I don't want to be scary like that! I love my mom, so amazing in so many ways...but SO scary sometimes. I just keep thinking - please, god, don't let me become that, don't let her see me that way.

Yikes, sorry, I'll save it for the (nonexistent) counselor. :) This is better than therapy, anyway...I love you for being so brave about sharing your real life.

sara said...

I second what everyone else just said! It will get better! Max went through that phase when he trasitioned to the 2 year old room & I have a feeling he'll go through it again when he goes on that 5 month vacation from school at the end of March. I will keep sending good vibes your way. Hang in there!

The Matthaidess' said...

I'm sorry to hear about Ashlyn. Personally, I think that you're a great mom -- I watched you with Ashlyn when you were in Alaska and you were wonderful!

I hope that everything is better this week.

Take care...
Kellie

Abby said...

I too appreciate this post. I just had a terrible afternoon with my 3 1/2 year old. He managed to wake up his sister (6 1/2 months) 2 separate times, each as I was trying to nurse her to sleep. Neither time did she go back to sleep. I screamed at him like a wicked witch, and he was so hurt.

However, I tell him every night before bed..."no matter if mommy is mad, tired, or grouchy - I always love you."

I really think he understands that, but I still feel terrible about it. It's nice to know I'm not the only one having hard days.

Anonymous said...

I screamed at Jackson "WHY CAN:T YOU JUST BE FRIGGING QUIET!" and practically through him on the wall for a time out. I then gave myself a time out - in my room, door closed, with a crying Jackson outside - I came out to a naked boy from taking off his pants. We then hugged for ages and I cried some more.

Staying home all day isn't the picnic i thought it would be.