Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Tantrums and Tears

This morning was a real challenge.

Alex has to drink a small amount of laxative daily in the morning to keep everything flowing smoothly.  He doesn't like it and is prone to try and hold the cup to his mouth to pretend to drink or try and chew on the plastic cup or simply ignore it.  We've coped by setting up a system: he gets a little time to drink it on his own, then I count down from 10 and if he's not done by the time I finish, there's no iPad to watch with breakfast.  It is an incredibly frustrating ritual to start the morning with.

Today he decided to test us and refused to drink.  He lost the iPad and his many tears and much whining and complaining did not bring it back.

Eating his oatmeal is almost always a challenge, which is why we pair it with getting to watch the iPad.  Only today, there was no iPad.  So there was even more whining and complaining and refusing to eat unless prompted.  Bill Cosby was right, there are only so many times you can repeat the same command over and over without starting to sound like something out of the Exorcist.

The battle of wills continued over brushing teeth and hair.  Despite having followed the same routine for over two years, Alex decided to treat today as if it were all brand-new and unfamiliar.  I realize it is part of a struggle for control.  Having been dominated over breakfast, he tried to regain control through non-compliance for the following activities.  It's a fairly common reaction among children but still frustrating.  He was given warnings but eventually lost his post-breakfast computer time over lack of cooperation.

My main worry was that the problems would spill over into school, causing a bad day.  But I as a parent can't be held hostage by the fact that it is a school day.  Most of the time, our system works.  But in order for it to work, the boys both have to know that if we state a consequence, we will follow through.  So no big grandiose threats like throwing away all the toys and no backing down once a consequence has been stated.

Then to add extra lemon juice to an already stinging wound of a morning, I open Nathan's agenda to see that the money for school pictures is due today.  Only we never got any school pictures for Nathan.

A little questioning determines that he didn't want to bring them home so he threw them away in the garbage.

This not wanting to bring things home from school is a real problem.  I don't know where the fear comes from (the one episode of My Big Big Friend where one of the kids gets a note and the other kids speculate he's in trouble?) but we need to figure it out.

Needless to say, I was already exhausted by 9 am.  Having to fight the same struggles over and over again is exhausting and demoralizing.  But I have to tell myself that today is unusual and that someday it will be better.

I have to believe that in order to get through and deal with the other pre-scheduled crises for the day.

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