Thursday, November 25, 2010

How do you Help a Psycho Overemotional Mellow-Dramatic Whiner?

This week I've felt like I'm just doing a really bad job as a mom.  The kids have been sick.  Well they are better now.  But Kaio specifically has been a very unhappy camper.  No matter what situation he is in, he finds something to get upset about.  He'll be playing with his new Thomas lego set, and start screaming and freaking out about one of the characters, yelling for help.  Then, if I come and help, and something goes wrong - like the off kilter bridge he has constructed falls down - he starts yelling at me, "No Mom! no! you broke it!  you go time out mom! go time out!"  
  • If I say, "OK, I'm going to time out"  and I walk away, then he'll chase after me and start pulling me back and yelling about how bad I am.  
  • If I stay and try to fix it, "It's ok, we can fix it" then he'll keep screaming and crying about how I broke and I'm bad and should go in time out.  He may throw it or break it.
  • If I pick him up and try to take him to a quiet place, then he'll kick his legs and squirm out of my arms.
  • If I stop and try to rationalize with him, he'll keep screaming 'No!' and tell me to stop talking.
And no matter what option I try to get us through that episode.  It repeats itself every 15 minutes.  I found that the best solution for me is to threaten to take the toy away, "Kaio, we only play with toys that make us happy and if this toy is making you sad, then we will put it away."  Kaio will then at least make an effort to resolve his frustration without erupting into furry.  But, that does not get to the source of the problem.  He needs coping mechanisms to help him deal with frustrations. 
Mari wont play with him anymore, because he cries too much.  Isn't that sad.  I have to make him play with his son.

I just don't know what to do.  I have been so patient this week since he is not feeling well.  But I'm starting to feel like no approach helps him relate to the world better.  I just can't figure out how to make him a happy healthy kid.  And I don't have time to go out and read parenting books!  I'm already reading three books:

1.  A Lean software development book for work.  ugh!  and here I just need to exclaim how annoyed I am to have to read a book for work - on my own time.

2. Weston A. Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration book.  This 500 page book of anthropological dentistry and nutrition studies is rocking my world.  The book lays out empirical studies on native cultures around the world, and demonstrates the commonalities in their diets that lead to optimum health. What I love about this book is that the findings are so significant - one entire swiss village of 2000 people is so healthy that they don't even have a doctor.  I love that the studies talk about real people and real food, and the books are not tied to any products being marketing.  Just the facts with nothing for sale.

3. Some Conservative ideology classic.  My brother and I have started a book swap.  So he gives me something to read and I give him.  I told him I don't have time to 'read' so he got me the book on audio and I can listen to it at work.  I haven't figured out how to log on to the website to listen yet, lol.  I'll get there.  I'm asking him to read the Omnivore's Dilemma in exchange.

Parenting books I have read have not provided solutions.  I realize some pieces of insight and tactics that help, but no book really speaks to me as a guide for how to raise my kids.  So far, I finish the books feeling like their kids are so much easier than mine!  (or how I was when I was a kid for that matter).
And I don't mean to blame Kaio for being difficult.  It is not his fault.  I fully believe that it is my responsibility as the adult to understand him and recognize what he needs to thrive.  If only I were smart enough to do that! 
And although books may help, I'm not going to find the answers to success in a book.  It has to come from our relationship and my heart and intuition.  It is something I have to earn through love and dedication.
But if I try and try and try to figure out how to make him happy and still don't succeed, then what?  Today I was debating leaving him on the steps of a church.  
lol.  what an awful thing to say huh?  But I was starting to feel like someone else would do a better job at raising my kid than I could do.  

OK, here is an example situation.
Setting: Mom is sleeping soundly in bed after a staying up late finishing a deliverable for work.
Kaio: Mom!  my pants are wet!
Mom: (groggy) Take them off!
Kaio:  I need fresh clean pants!
Mom: Ok, you can get some.  Give me minute, I'm sleeping.
Kaio: (immediately crying and screaming)  Mom I need pants, my pants are wet!
Mom gets out of bed and stumbles in the room to help
Mom:  Here you go, fresh clean pants and underwear, lets go put your pants and sheets in the washing machine.  
Kaio: No, I don't want any pants, I don't want to put on pants, no!
Mom:  ok, then why did you yell at me to get out of bed and give you pants if you don't want them?  I'm going back to bed.
Kaio: No!  Come back!  Help!
Mom: Take off you pants then.  Ewe.  You are stinky and you have a rash.  Lets go take a bath.
Kaio:  No! I don't want to take a bath.
Mom: Look, you can take a bath, or put on fresh clean pants and wash your hands.  Which one?
Kaio: No! I don't want to!
Mom: Kaio, you can't be naked right now, you are still sick and it is cold in the house.
Mom does not let him out of the room until he either puts on new pants and washes his hands or takes a bath.  This starts tremendous crying and screaming.  Mom eventually came upstairs to try to help. After half an hour of grandma and Kaio in the bathroom together.  Kaio freaking out the whole time.  He eventually puts on the clothes and washes hands.  

For the last week, we've had one of these events at least once a day, but sometimes every couple hours.  I'm so drained.

Well starting tomorrow (Thanksgiving) it will be officially one week since he caught his cold, and therefore officially over.  According to an old saying I read in Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, "Colds last a week with rest at home, or 7 days with a trip to the doctor."   
I am therefore crossing my fingers that Mr.Hyde came about from an under the weather boy and he will be less psycho-overemotional-mellow dramatic-whiner tomorrow.  
Just a side note: Nala's cold took a week, however she remained very pleasant during that time.

UPDATE:  I know that this post is long enough already.  But I need to do justice and update that things were much better Thanksgiving and the day after, so I think it was the cold that was prompting Kaio to behave so inflexibly and unhappy.  Lesson Learned for me is to notice when his actions are related to his health and wait for him to feel better before expecting him to be rational.  I have some cute videos to post proving that he's a happy kid again.

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