Stick a Fork in Me
I refuse to lie to you. The last few days have been pure hell on earth. In fact, I am crying at this very moment, so you will have to excuse a possible lapse in my writing ability. We are snowed in today and have been all week. This will be at least the fourth day of school Erik has missed because of weather-related decisions that people living here for an entire eight minutes have made. Has anybody seen snow before or what? In fact, our city already spent the money allotted for snow removal this year on other things because we haven't had snow for a couple years, so they assumed we would not again this year. Freaking brilliant. Go home, you posers. All of you.
I am seeing some very disturbing things happening in terms of Erik's behavior. He is frustrated at being snowbound and today asked to leave the house, specifically in my car, so we could see my parents. I had to tell him no but that this might be possible tomorrow. I have been punished for this all day. I have been kicked in the stomach. I have been slapped. I have been pinched. I have been yelled at. He has thrown food that he likes all over the floor. He has destroyed his room. He has refused to do anything I have asked him to do. I had to hold him down kicking and screaming to get clothes on him and brush his teeth. He has again refused the things he loves just for the simple pleasure of telling me no. There is nothing I can do for him except take him to see anyone besides me, and he has made that very clear.
You know, this wouldn't be so terribly bad if it didn't happen hour after hour, day after day this week, but it has, and I am at officially at the end of my rope. I have read in the resources I have that this can be classified as typical WS behavior and that if I give Erik slack in terms of his outbursts that he will be "socially rejected" in the future (as if he isn't already, anyway). No pressure. In fact, I have read that a variety of studies have reported that 52% to 85% of WS children are classified as "potentially disturbed," although I am guessing there is another more politically correct term now. I have been warned about a "low tolerance for frustration," and I can see that very clearly now. I try to do the correct things as a mother, treating Erik like I would any other child and focusing on the positive, but I'm certainly not perfect, especially in this kind of uncharted territory. What sucks is that no matter how I respond to him, he continues the same behavior--kicking, slapping, and growling, punishing himself by refusing things he enjoys in order to hurt my feelings, although I try not to let it show. He yells all of the things I have said at himself within earshot and even seems to come up with things I have never said at all (Stop it! Right now! Don't touch that! Go to sleep! Don't do that!). All are negative things, despite the fact he consistently gets praise and love daily. I tell myself that I need to continue being consistent in love and discipline, even though it doesn't seem to be working at the moment, hoping that it will eventually set into his brain that I am not weak or kidding. But, God, I feel so weak. There are weeks where I have moments alone in which I find myself looking at the ceiling or the sky and saying, "PLEASE HELP ME!"
What behavior is "normal" and what behavior stems from WS? I have learned that it is impossible to find much that isn't affected by WS in some way. The low tolerance for frustration. The impulsivity. The anger. I have been told by other parents that what Erik is doing is completely normal, yet in my eyes it has an underlying flavor that is DEFINITELY NOT NORMAL. This is also completely new in Erik's personality when there was no hint of it before. Of course, he doesn't do any these things to this degree unless we are alone, so I suppose most people think I am either nuts or full of shit. I heard on the news today that Britney Spears was held on a 5150 at a psych ward, and I actually felt myself drift into a jealous little daydream. I can't help but remember when my concerns were dismissed by everybody and their dog when Erik was born, including his doctor, when I knew something was terribly wrong. Oh sure, he failed numerous hearing tests, screamed all of the time, and never smiled, but he was just colicky. There are actually people who have admitted to me that they initially doubted my ability as a mother and wondered why I couldn't hack it. I have heard this from several people, and I love their honesty (and their typical children). However, my heart hurts more than just a little bit when I hear this.
I just know that when I was a child I would never walk up to either of my parents and pinch them or slap them on the back of the head as they sat in a chair. Hearing stories from the parents of older children with WS, I relate to everything they are saying. I just know I'm not nuts.
Today I tried so hard. We read books, most of which Erik insisted he disliked and wrestled with me in order to close, destroying some of them in the process, finger painted, played with water in the kitchen sink, and made a sorry attempt to play with toys, most of which he has no interest in at all. He made it quite clear that absolutely nothing I did or tried was acceptable to him or made him happy, throwing ugly fits all the way. What makes this worse is the fact that he does not seem to enjoy typical things, so I have to think outside the box. There isn't much outside the box at the moment. Erik, I'm trying so hard, baby, but I can only do so much. I'm sorry.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Perfectly normal. Typical childhood behavior. Late terrible 2s. Ha ha. Oh, I am in for it now. Oh, yes, I have heard it all. I'll certainly try to deal with it like most mothers. I'll get right on that and try to nut up like the rest of the women around me do. Oh, and can someone tell me what I am supposed to say when I am out with a group of women, they are bragging about their children, and I feel like disappearing into the floor because I don't know how to talk about my own kid without making anyone feel uncomfortable? Yeah, the last time I tried to talk about Erik and how amazing he was, I got this: "That's so sad." I can't even talk about my own kid.
Oh yeah. I almost forgot.
Still no phone call from church. I'm not finding comfort in much of anything associated with religion anymore. After this week, I probably get to tell the church that I once loved, where I learned Bible verses as a child, where I sat in a pew with my folks over the years, where I was baptized, and where I was married at age 30, to go fuck itself with great gusto. I suppose it's time. After all, I reached out for help just a mere two years ago.