There have been days when I have ripped off my toenail while rushing upstairs to provide Ryan with an Ativan to soothe his panic attack, the kids' wailing following me up the stairs. There have been days when I have sealed myself into the laundry room just to catch my breath and momentarily get away from the intensity and chaos. I have one student right now, one out of one hundred and twenty, who does not approve of the job I am doing as his professor, who emails me daily about it, and though he is in the minority, he is all I can focus on. When I get really angry or really frustrated, I throw things or smash them and want to punch someone in the face.
I'm a perfectionist with an anger problem.
So it should not surprise me that my children enjoy screaming. That if Benjamin cannot replicate Disney's rendition of Mickey Mouse EXACTLY that he will crumple up the paper and throw it to the floor and proclaim that he is a "terrible drawer," that he "ruined it," that he "hates Mickey."
It shouldn't surprise me that upon politely requesting Elliott's presence in the living room so that I might change his applesauce-laden shirt, he declines by throwing his body back into the floor, screaming red-faced and kicking in protest.
Sometimes things get intense in our household.
So last week when we moved, I was prepared, but it didn't make things a lot easier. Elliott did remarkably okay even though he started is behavioral therapy (yay!). Benjamin, fresh off the high of his fifth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, began obsessing worse than he has in at least a year. This time, it was about his mouth. His discovery of his own saliva, what he calls "water," freaked him out--he thought I was putting water in his cereal, his soup, his milk. He thought people at school were spiking his cupcakes with water. He tried frantically to get the water out of his mouth by putting his fingers in there and rinsing his mouth out, which only generated more saliva. Then it was his lips. My lips are touching the pillow, my lips are touching my shirt, my lips are touching the blanket. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Dad. Dad. Dad. Mom. Often, this constant stream of worries came at four A.M. It didn't help that his teacher was absent all last week in addition to everything else in his life changing.
But this weekend was better. He slept past four. He had the same concerns, but they are much less frequent and more easily soothed away. The house is unpacked. Our life moves on. We've made this move to lessen our stress, so here's to making that happen one day at a time.