Sweet Child o’ Mine

I’ve hesitated in writing about this because the subject makes me feel horrible, but it’s been hanging over me for months now and I have to get it all down.

I’m taking Boo in to have her evaluated. Her behaviour is out of control much of the time. She cannot tolerate any frustration at all – the slightest thing sends her into paroxysms of rage, shrieking and crying over tiny impediments. She does not listen to anything she’s told; if I tell her to stop running in the house, she will stop but within half a second, is tearing around the house again. When the Bug is colouring, Boo will rip the crayons out of her hand because she wants to use it. Mind you, she’d been happily been using another colour moments before, but because the Bug has it, Boo wants it. Even though I generally buy them their own toys (2 sets of crayons, 2 of the same doll, within reason, of course) Boo always takes the Bug’s things.

Lately she’s been biting the Bug. The other day, she bit her so hard that the Bug has a mark on her back, five days later. She hits her a lot, although the Bug gives back almost as good as she gets, minus the biting. Lately, the hitting and biting has really been escalating. Whenever Boo gets frustrated with the Bug, instead of screaming at her/about her, she now hits or bites.

The not listening to me thing took on terrifying proportions the other day. I decided to take the girls to the beach – they’d never been to the ocean before and it’s been ages since I’d been. We drove down to East Lyme, CT and for a little while, we had a great time. We’d been there about two hours when Boo decided to go get a bucket of water. I got up to follow her. The beach was packed, so I had to look down to avoid stepping on people and when I looked up, she was gone. I walked down the beach for a minute to see if I could find her but when I couldn’t, I went to the lifeguard. He radioed it in and a bunch of lifeguards and park rangers immediately fanned out and began looking for her. I think it was the longest 20 minutes of my life until they found her, four life guard chairs down the beach, still dragging her little green bucket. I hugged her and hugged her and cried.

What was so infuriating about this incident is that not half an hour earlier, she’d done the same thing. I found her in a minute that time and impressed upon her that she had to stay with me because of all the people and all the water around. She’s constantly taking off, running out the front door, dashing away from me in parking lots and the market and nothing I say will make her stay with me. I know this is pretty typical behaviour for someone her age (4.5) but combined with all the other things she does, it’s just one more in a list.

She’s defiant and destructive a lot of the time. Her favourite word is no and her favourite thing to so is run away from me, hiding whatever it is she’s not supposed to be doing. She rips up books, she’s torn the legs off two plastic baby dolls, she’s destroyed just about every toy I’ve bought her. She’s snuck crayons into her room and drawn murals on the wall. The most disgusting thing is the poop. When she’s mad at me or frustrated or just generally pissed off, she goes upstairs and poops in her closet. A few times she’s smeared the poop on the walls and on the window screens. It’s disgusting. And yes, I’ve bought locks for the closet.

It’s not like she’s not getting attention from me: she is. I take them to the library and the park and we play outside. I read to her and play with her when the Bug naps, so she gets some one-on-one time with me. But I do have to occasionally do things like laundry and dishes and make meals and pee. And when I do those things, she gets in trouble.

I’m at the end of my wits here. I hope the woman I’m seeing on Thursday can help. I don’t want her medicated, I just want some help. I hate the way I feel when Boo is acting like this. I hate how enraged I get by her continuous bad behaviour. I hate that I can’t take her anywhere without worrying about whether she’ll melt down or run away. Most of all, I hate the guilt that’s eating me up over all of this.

Of course, as I sit here typing this, she and her sister are having a very elaborate tea party at my feet and have been doing so for a good 20 minutes now with only a few minor whinges….

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. floreksa
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 09:09:12

    Just some annoying, sticking my nose where it don't belong, questions…How does Boo eat? Ally was at her absolute worst when she was obviously in her most pain because of food. There was very little outward sign of pain at the beginning. Even right before we discovered it, she never really complained of pain, just wouldn't eat. Could she possibly have an underlying food issue?Also we've discovered that Red dye SETS ALLY OFF. I always poo-poo'd that theory as new age junk – not anymore.Along the same lines, I've heard a lot of positive feedback that the gluten free diet does wonders for behavioral issues. Hoping the appt gives you some great help, though!

    Reply

  2. Heidi
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 10:11:39

    I hope you get some answers at your appointment. I keep trying to remind myself that difficult behavior now can be channeled into strengths as they grow. I keep hoping that things like stubbornness and unwillingness to follow the crowd will serve Gabe well once he's a teenager… SO glad she was okay at the beach!

    Reply

  3. mapsgirl
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 10:49:08

    I think that arming yourself with some techniques that will work with Boo is a great idea! The more tricks you have under your sleeve the better. It will save your sanity and hopefully everyone will feel less frustrated.Let us know how it goes.

    Reply

  4. sandy shoes
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 10:58:36

    I have heard that too, about red dye.In any case, you're certainly doing the right thing by having her evaluated. That's worrisome stuff. I hope the appointment goes well and is really helpful.

    Reply

  5. Audrey at Barking Mad!
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:28:58

    I'm so glad that you're taking her in and starting the process of getting her evaluated. I've been thinking a lot about you over the past several days since we talked on Twitter. Until reading the above comments, I'd never even considered food being an issue, but at this point, what can it hurt to try a sort of "process of elimination" type thing? I'll be thinking of you and Boo and hoping for some sort of relief…for both of you. You know where I am if you need to talk.

    Reply

  6. The Runaway Lawyer
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:31:58

    My oldest is naturally a pretty compliant child, helpful, good natured. However if he doesn't get adequate sleep – even an hour or so short, he's a beast. An absolute horror. I realize that sounds simplistic and it certainly may not solve everything, but have you considered that she might not be getting enough sleep?Good luck at your evaluation – I hope you get some answers.

    Reply

  7. Major Bedhead
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:40:30

    I was thinking about red dye the other day and will try to eliminate it to see if that helps. Gluten will be almost impossible – the child is a carb freak, but if I have to, I will. Thanks for the suggestion. As for sleep, she usually goes to bed around 7 and is up around 7, sometimes earlier. She gets between 10 – 12 hours of sleep a night and will sometimes nap during the day but that's mostly gone by the wayside at this point. Sleep doesn't seem to be an issue, at least not that I can tell. I'll bring it up at the appointment, though.

    Reply

  8. thisisjasmine
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 11:43:44

    Thinking of you and Bug. Hugs from Chicago.

    Reply

  9. Fairly Odd Mother
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 12:26:01

    I've read that people sometimes crave what they are allergic to, so it's quite possible she's craving carbs even though the gluten is harming her. Does that make sense?I hope you get some relief soon. The poop thing would've sent me over the edge—you are a strong mama.

    Reply

  10. Green-Eyed Momster
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 17:02:43

    I'm so sorry for all of you and what you're going through. I hope that you find the answers you are seeking.Big hugs!!

    Reply

  11. daysgoby
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 17:24:43

    I hope you get some answers, J. It sounds maddening, tear-your-hair-out maddening. Would you be open to medication if the doctor suggested it? (Asking, just asking.)You are a good mother, J. You give B and B a good life. Asking for help or asking for tools to cope shouldn't be something that makes you feel guilty. Miss you.

    Reply

  12. Ree
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 20:35:15

    Oh honey, I'm sorry you have to go through this. Just to let you know – my nephew also did a lot of the same things – but he is now a wonderful young man – was just having some issues with changes that happened to be going on in his life. I hope there's answers for you and Boo.

    Reply

  13. Maureen @ Wisconsin Mommy
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 23:27:49

    I swear this is the hardest part of parenting – knowing when (and what) might really be wrong or if it's just another one of those things that makes each kid an individual.We faced the same issues when Little J was 3 1/2. The behaviors weren't exactly the same, but I was seeing some serious signs of ADHD. We had him evaluated and it came out (during the observations) that he was being bullied at school. I had NO IDEA. We fixed the situation and the behaviors eventually went away over the next few weeks.I'm not saying that your child is being bullied, but it may be something situational and your team may be able to shed some light.Good luck to you guys..it's never easy.

    Reply

  14. Patois
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 10:10:27

    I so hope you get relief for you guys quickly. I will send good vibes your way and the best of thoughts. My daughter sounds quite a bit like your Boo. She is now 11 and is a remarkably different child than in the throes of ages 3 to 5, where her issues were at its height. Help from the outside was all it took. I hope that holds true for you as well.

    Reply

  15. Scott K. Johnson
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 12:25:39

    Boy, parenting can be a real test sometimes can't it? I hope you're able to get some things figured out, and get some relief. None of you need the extra stress involved.

    Reply

  16. Andrea
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 14:20:11

    I have a friend whose eldest daughter was like this, for a long time, including smearing poop all over things when she was angry. It passed. It was a horribly trying time in my friend's life,one that caused her no end of grief and self-doubt and questioning, but it did pass. Her eldest is now a lovely young woman, and they have a good relationship. Good luck with the evaluation. I know you are already feeling overwhelmed a lot of the time, and this must make it so much harder for you. Hang in there, ok?

    Reply

  17. TT
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 15:18:49

    I can only hope that having outside eyes providing more information/insight will be helpful. Good luck, because really, it's time you caught a break!

    Reply

  18. Sarahtoo
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 22:52:59

    Good luck–I hope that outside help can shed some light! I hadn't even thought about diet until the other commenters posted, but it can make a difference. I have a friend who has just taken her son off all sugars and processed foods, and his behavior issues (violence, hyperactivity, rages) have gotten considerably better. I really hope your therapist can shed some light! Hang in there! Good for you for getting that additional opinion–don't guilt yourself for it!

    Reply

  19. Lea
    Aug 13, 2009 @ 12:45:06

    I by no means have any answers, I just wanted to let you know from one mom to another, I'm wishing you good luck, and I hope your appointment goes well. You're doing the best you can with your buttons being pushed continually…stay strong.

    Reply

  20. SUEB0B
    Aug 15, 2009 @ 01:05:28

    That must feel awful and weird. I have no assvice. Just hugs for you and hope it goes well.

    Reply

  21. MamaKaren
    Aug 20, 2009 @ 08:00:23

    Some of Boo's tendencies sound an awful lot like what we saw with Hoss (the 'elopement issues' are still a major focus for us). I tried the dietary changes (elminating dyes, processed foods, etc.), hoping that would solve it, but that wasn't enough in our case.It's good that you're having Boo evaluated now. It's still a hard road with Hoss, but we have a better idea of what we are dealing with, which means we know more about how to handle and combat it.I recommend a book called "The Explosive Child," by Dr. Ross Greene. It moves away from creating a label for whatever is going on with children like Hoss or Boo, and focuses more on how to react to and predict their behaviors. It helped me focus on the great pieces of my son, which so often get overshadowed by his meltdowns and outbursts.

    Reply

  22. Angela
    Sep 01, 2009 @ 07:10:48

    This sounds similar to what I went through with my 16 yr old son when he was that age. Good Luck, J. {{{hugs}}}

    Reply

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