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.)