I don’t have time for a breakdown right now, But I can feel it creeping up.
We’ve had a rough couple of weeks, Ella’s behaviour has been horrible. Full meltdowns at seemingly at everything for seemingly no reason.
Toilet time? Meltdown
Time to get dressed? Meltdown
It gets worse – She was having meltdowns over things she likes to do!
I just can’t figure it out, It doesn’t seem to matter what I did or didn’t do, Ella just is not having a part of it. She wanted to go outside, so I’d say ok, you can go outside, and she will lose it – It turns into half an hour of crying and self harm over me saying yes! I said to Joel, in tears one night, I think she just hates me.
I don’t know what to do, I feel as though I have tried everything. The only nice time we have is the 20 minutes before bed when we have a story and wind down time.
Usually it’s a bit of a process to get Ella to the bus stop, lots to encouraging, (and yes, sometimes some yelling and bribery) It takes a good 15 to 20 minutes to walk what could be done in less than 5 – but we do what we do and as soon as the bus gets there Ella is usually fine. She picks herself up, I dust her off and she gets on the bus.
Not any more! Every day last week, even after the bus got there, she would throw herself on the ground, try and run on the road, biting herself, hitting me, crying and generally make a big production Every fucking morning! I even had a woman stop her car, get out and come over to ask ‘is everything ok?’
(which was a lovely gesture, but I was completely mortified! I call out ‘oh yeah, everything’s fine!’ as my child is rolling around in the dirt 🤷♀️)
But I was so damn patient. Even sitting down in the dirt with her, trying to convince her –
‘It’s ok, it’s fine, You’re ok, up ya get, just get on the bus, you’re gunna do swimming at school, you like swimming!’ on and on and round and round it goes until finally, Ella would smile, get up and just get on the bus like it was no biggie.
After 5 days of holding the bus up, the school called on Friday, and we decided that next time the bus wouldn’t wait. Not only is it not fair to hold the bus up every day, but hopefully, Ella would learn there are consequences and not do it any more.
Monday rolls around, and I knew, from the second I woke Ella up for school it was going to be on like donkey kong. She didn’t want to get up, didn’t want her breakfast, didn’t want to sit on the toilet, just no, no, no, NO all morning..
Half way down the driveway Ella decides she’s not walking. I try and encourage her but she wasn’t having it, I parked the pram, dragged the dog back into the garage so I could focus on Ella, convincing, holding her hand, we started slowly moving towards the bus stop. I cried. I put my sunnies on, Plastered on that fake smile and cheerfully talked about all the fun things at school with tears streaming down my cheeks. Eventually, with lots of begging and pleading I got Ella to the bus stop, the bus came, and sure enough, the bus left once Ella kicked up a fuss.
Her face when the bus left was absolutely horrible! It went from crossed arms and defiance to real tears and howling so bloody quick my heart broke for her.
We sat there for almost half an hour because she flat out refused to move. Meanwhile I still had Reece in the pram, I was barely holding it together but what choice do I have at that point? so we sat. and we cried.
and I calmed her, and I waited.
Eventually Ella got moving and we got back home, we were both so drained, Ella went to her room for a bit and I just sat on the couch while Reece entertained himself, wondering what the fuck I could do differently. How can I fix this. What am I doing wrong? I was texting a friend at the time, because on top of everything else my phone decided to stop working, so I was letting her know I was only on text (no Snapchat, no Facebook etc) and I decided to tell her what was going on, that I was hanging by a thread, which was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made, she offered to come over and bring wine (which even at 10am was so bloody tempting 😂) But I thought I’d see what was up with Ella, so I went in her room, gave her a hug and had a chat about why the bus left, she signed ‘sorry’ and I asked if she wanted to go to school.
Her little face just lit up!
YES! School! YAY! So we both washed our faces, I packed some nappies and stuff for Reece, loaded them both if the car and away we went n the half hour drive to school with my mind racing a million miles an hour.
Should I get her up earlier?
What am I doing wrong?
Should I let her sleep in?
What can I do?
would music help?
WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?
After dropping Ella off at school I found a little park for Reece to have a play, feeling oh so guilty because he has been practically ignored all day until this point because I’ve been so occupied with Ella – But even then I couldn’t focus on him aside from making sure he was safe.
I felt numb.
I’m failing, not just Ella but Reece too, He’s doomed – with me as a mother what chance does he have? He has half a mother. He has to watch all this going on. He gets pushed to the side while Ella has her meltdowns. I can’t even get Ella on the bus stop, such a simple thing and I can’t figure out way to fix this? I’m a joke!
What can I do differently?
What am I doing wrong?
Meanwhile that voice in my head just incessantly chanting
You’re a bad mother
It’s your fault
I cried the whole way home.
Remembering that I’d forgotten to reply to my friend I texted her that I felt like a failure and she just stepped up big time. She parroted my own damn words back at me
‘be kind to yourself’
‘It will be ok’
(side note: HUGE shoutout to Alannah, you will never understand how much you helped and how much that meant to me)
Unfortunately it hasn’t improved, which brings me to the final conclusion.
This next part is something that I’d rather not share, but in the hopes that maybe it will help someone else not feel so alone, here it is.
Yesterday I lost it. On the way home from the bus stop, Ella just refused to move, and I lost it. For the first time in almost 8 years, I completely lost my cool. and lost control.
In public of course.
I swore, I yelled, I tried to pick Ella up to carry her home, while pushing a pram, and when that didn’t work, I sunk to the ground and had a panic attack. If anyone saw it I wouldn’t be surprised if they called the cops because I was obviously not handling my shit. (the one time a well meaning nosy woman probably would have been helpful!)
I felt all alone in the world, a failure. I can’t handle this. I can’t do it any more. I.. Just.. CAN’T..
And guess what I did today? I got up, brushed myself off (metaphorically that is) and I did it. So while I don’t yet have a plan moving forward, I know I have to do better, be better for Ella’s sake. Because while it’s rough on me, I know it’s rough on her too. So more deep breathing, and much more patience, and to drive to the damn bus stop and give up on waking. I just know in my heart it will get better. Because it has to.
Score: How many times I thought I cant do this? 189261
How many times have I done it anyway? every damn one.
There’s two reasons I’m sharing all this (well, 3 reasons if you count the 4 glasses of wine before writing it)
If you see someone at the park ignoring her kid, or losing her shit in public, don’t judge. You don’t know how much has pushed her to that point, or what she’s going through. Ask if you can help, sometimes just a friendly smile so she knows she not alone is all it would take.
And no matter how many times you think you can’t do it, or you’re not handling it, you can, and you will.