Thursday, June 16, 2016

Talkin' bout last night

So, the girl was pushing my and alternatively the hubby's buttons all night. The atmosphere was charged and it was pretty unpleasant. She asked me to play a game with her, but changed the rules to suit herself and got mad when I won. She wasn't listening to any explanations about fairness or following rules, so threw the cards down. I packed them up and went back to my book. Then she asked to play a different game, so I put my book down and we tried that. It was going well, then hubby came home and she jumped up to play with him.

They went out for some shopping and when they came back, I could see he was really stressed out and on edge. She was pouring juice into a sake cup for fun right next to my head and intentionally squirted some on my face. I ran to wash it off and she followed me shouting "I'm sorry" in a not very sorry way. I look my book and went to my room, because I was afraid of what I might say.

Hubby followed to put up a new bar for hanging clothes in the closet. He looked quite stressed out, so I imagined their shopping trip was not very fun. She came in and began yelling. She smelled quite bad, to be honest, so I told her to take a bath. She wanted to sleep with me in my bed and I told her she could if she washed herself first. She started kicking and punching and name calling. To both of us.

Hubby had to pick up the boy from soccer. The girl kept yelling at me, throwing my stuff around the room, banging on the walls, turning the lights on and off, and storming out the door, slamming it behind her. But she kept coming back. I asked her, "What do you want?" but she wouldn't answer, saying she couldn't understand me. Finally, I realized that I should just sit quietly and stop fighting -- she was obviously picking a fight to justify whatever bad feelings were swirling around inside her, provoked by something I'll never know or understand, so I sat. She kicked me in the arm a few times, threatened me with the iron pole that was still not put up in the closet, but I sat quietly and said nothing. She finally stopped, flopped on the bed, said a few more rude things and promptly fell asleep. I covered her up, went downstairs to commune with the hubby and went back to bed.

This morning, like all the times before, it was as if nothing had happened. I greeted her cheerfully, made part of her breakfast for her, and all was peaceful.

It was awful, but there is a part of me that is beginning to detach a bit and see that this is a pattern and that after the storm, the sun rises again. We keep a calendar to mark the stormy days and they are getting further apart. We have to remember that she is driven by forces that we have no idea about. By her not going to her own room last night, she sent a clear message that she needs us when she is in distress and that we are doing the wrong thing by turning her out.

Hard lessons. Tough teacher!



  1. We had the same thing here, in the beginning with Rinka. I want to say, sounds like you are handling things beautifully.

  2. Thank you so much, Sara! It's encouraging to hear that! How long did it take for her to settle in?

  3. When we were in this stage, my worker suggested Goggling the term "inducement." In parenting, the term relates to how kids, without realizing it, will act in a way that will make you feel the way they feel. It's communication at its best. You don't have to guess how they're feeling because you feel it too. Understanding how inducement works won't stop the melt downs but it may help you navigate them. It does get better. We are two years in and my little one had a melt down recently, which was remarkable only because it had been a very long time since she had one. Good luck!

  4. Thank you for that comment, Tamara. Yes, that makes perfect sense. She certainly has the power to make us feel bad, and projects her feelings out in a very straightforward way. So far, I've found the best way of dealing is not to be there for her, but not engage with her in that (by fighting back, etc.). I just sit calmly and wait for her to do so the same. Any other strategies would be welcome.

    This morning, she said she didn't want to go swimming, which I think might be more related to body issues (she's fine) or something related to classmates than to the actual being in the pool, because she likes going to the pool. My husband tried hard to convince her, even telling her to take her swimsuit in case she changes her mind. She was adamant and started throwing stuff and he insisted on talking until I told him to stop. After he left, I mentioned nothing about it -- she picked up all her stuff off the floor, and on her way out the door to school said she'd bring her swimsuit next time.

  5. Thank you for your comment, Tamara. Yes, she certainly projects her feelings in a very straightforward way and we end up feeling as bad as she does. So far, the best strategy for me is to be with her, but go quiet and say nothing until she calms down.

    This morning, she and my husband were arguing because she didn't want to go swimming at school. He told her various reasons why swimming is necessary and that she should take her bathing suit anyway and decide at the time. It escalated until she threw stuff on the floor and started kicking. I told him to stop talking to her and just let it go, which he did. After he left, she picked up her stuff and on the way out the door said that she'd take her suit next time. I told her it was her choice.

    I know that the meltdowns will come with less frequency, and will try to watch for her triggers to be ready for them.

  6. By the end of the first year it really felt like we were past sort of everyday adjustment issues, and things improved pretty noticeably after 6 months or so (partly because she had a wonderful teacher - she joined us at New Years so the new school year was 4 months in). It has been almost 4 years now and it does still feel like there are long term challenges that will probably always be there, but the every day got much easier pretty rapidly throughout that first year. Hang in there!

  7. Thanks for your encouragement, Sara! Last night was a glimpse of what is possible!