Insane in the Membrane

Today has been one of those days. Actually, this whole week has been one of those weeks. My daughter is driving me out of my mind. She has been since birth. I’m convinced its her life’s purpose and I’m living out my penance for some long-forgotten wrong-doing.

A month or two ago, my family was hanging at my brother’s house with his family and we were discussing my daughter. My brother was talking about how he felt lucky because his kids were such good babies. Someone made a joke about my daughter and my brother said, “I’m surprised she’s still alive! I’ve never seen a baby like that!” Of course we all laughed because she was, truly, a very difficult, constantly crying, never sleeping baby. And that baby has grown into a very defiant, constantly crying, never sleeping little girl. My brother’s joke, though, made me feel validated. Because sometimes my husband and I can’t believe we made it through the first year of her life.

At the end of May, I saw a headline that caught my eye: Man Arrested For Putting Baby in a Freezer. A sad story, but its not the first of its kind. And the saddest part is that even though I think it was a horrible crime and I would never condone it, I understood what was going on in that man’s head. Maybe just a little. Because parenting a high-needs child can literally drive you mad. Being sleep deprived, grubby from your lack of time to shower, hungry for more than a handful of something out of a box while you walk and rock your baby across the room and then listening to the piercing, shrieking cries of your baby – the never ending, blood pressure-raising cries… it can make you temporarily insane. I know it. I’ve felt it.

I’m still feeling it from time to time. I’m not the only one. My husband came into our room last evening where I was hiding from my children resting and said to me, “can we give her up for adoption?” We weren’t laughing this time. I cried. I can’t cope with my own child and it makes me feel like a failure. I know I’m not a failure, but it still makes me feel like one. On Monday, I am taking Caylie to see a Behavior Specialist. We have been waiting for a year to see this woman. When I approached my pediatrician almost 2 years ago about the behaviors that are making us batty, she sent us to a sleep specialist. (Did I mention my kid still can’t sleep through the night? Yeah, she’ll be 6 this winter.) Then, when that didn’t help, we were referred to a Behavior Specialist who had a year long wait list. I don’t know what this will accomplish, but I pray to God that something changes.

I was reading an article last night about how to teach our defiant children healthy obedience and it just made me depressed. Because everything about parenting requires the parents to be the ones who change all their behaviors in order to get the kind of behaviors they want from their child. I’m exhausted. I just don’t have the energy or even the desire at this point to put my nose to the grindstone and “re-train” my kid in how to behave. Or how to sleep. Or how to control her emotions. Or how to pick up on social cues. Someone save me! Where’s Superman when you need him? I’m going to go dress up like Lois Lane and hang out outside. Hopefully he’ll come fly me away for the weekend. (I’ll take either Henry Cavil or Tom Welling, I’m not that picky.)

8 thoughts on “Insane in the Membrane

  1. Hmm, good post. I am not in a point in life to feel what you’re feeling, to empathize, but I’ve heard lots of parenting stories. They say it’s a ride. Some say good, few say bad, but most say it’s something they’re happy to have done once.
    Caylie will be fine.

  2. I am sorry, Tamara! Great post, first of all. Love your writing. My kids make me nuts, too. I also babysit part time (though only for two more weeks) for a little girl who has pretty bad behavioral problems. I’ve watched her since she was two months old and she’s now four. It can be soooo frustrating. I just told my friend last night that I can understand the way people who hurt children feel. Not condoning hurting children by any means!! It’s a monstrous thing to do, but…. I can understand why people get so frustrated. Thankfully this girl’s mom has been taking her to therapy and she said she thinks she’s seeing changes for the better. I can understand why you feel exhausted–especially with the sleeping problems Caylie’s having. I am happy you are getting help with the Behavior Specialist (I HATE waiting to see a doctor so long, very frustrating!) and though it seems overwhelming right now to make any changes, just know that I am here to listen to you through the process. You have someone to vent to who cares. I have a lot of respect for you, you’re doing a great job, you’re extremely capable. If anyone can handle this, it’s you. You’ve got it. Good luck with the doctor on Monday!

  3. Thank you, Mary! I’m just hoping that there gets to be a time (sooner rather than later) when I can parent my kids without having to feel like I am coping with something overwhelming. A time when I can just be the mom without feeling tired and miserable or like I’m failing. It helps to have support from other moms like you!

  4. I don’t know what your childs diet is like but have you considered putting her on a paleo diet. It has helped a lot of children I know with behavior problems. something to think about.

    • Colleen, we are gluten free but not paleo. My daughter’s teacher had told me she saw some improvement in her focusing abilities during circle time, but her other behaviors at home didn’t change when she went off the gluten. We are almost grain free and I try to go light on the dairy, no food dyes, no added sugar. The food vs behavior thought process is an interesting one. I read a book last year about that very topic. Thanks for sharing!

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