April 08, 2007

Thirty and other things

My 30th birthday was this week. I know it's supposed to be a monumental occassion, a time to reflect on where you've been and where you're going, but generally... I didn't do any of that. I simply had a wonderful time with friends and family, got a brief break from my kids and indulged in some serious relaxation.

It's been a rough couple months and I am happy to be able to look around my own mind and say, "It's me! I live in here and it's me and I can recognize myself!". I feel as though the medication I am taking hasn't changed me but rather, it's added layers to me, like wraps of gauze, to hold me together and keep me whole.

All of that is not to say that I don't still get upset, that situations don't still get to me. That would be great, but not particularly human. I just feel capable of living and I feel that my potential for happiness is limitless, given the right circumstances.

These mysterious "circumstances", however are not exactly in grand supply lately when it comes to my oldest child. She has the worst tantrums I've ever seen and they keep getting worst. She gets set off by NOTHING and once a bad day starts, there's no turning back; it lasts all day.

Offer her breakfast when she's not ready? Screaming.
Tell her it's time to do something else after reading 5 long books in a row? Screaming.
Tell her it's time to go? Screaming. Tell her we're not going anywhere, we're staying home? Screaming.

It's everything and it's nothing. Yesterday she had a massive tantrum, screaming, thrashing, drooling, complete meltdown of apocalyptic proportion for absolutely no reason. One minute she was fine, the next... she was insane.

I had tried time out, I've tried sitting it out, I've tried holding her and singing, I've tried putting her in a safe place until she's all cried out. Nothing seems to work, and certainly not in the longterm. I can put her in her crib, tell her sympathetically that I understand that she's very frustrated and sad and that she can call me when she feels better. She'll immediately calm down, play in her crib, sing to herself.

But within minutes of getting her back up, trying to return her to the framework of our day-to-day lives... she freaks out. What am I supposed to do, leave her in her crib all day?

Of course, that's on the bad days. It's not every day. She's not totally heinous all the time, in fact she's often absolutely charming. But the bad days are really, really awful. And there's no break, it just carries on straight through to bedtime.

I know it's frustration for her, I know that she's more susceptible to frustration that other kids, (it's a byproduct of her unique developmental set). I know that, in general, kids cry and express rage because they can't control it and need to have an outlet and that crying is healthy. But she's driving me nuts. She's driving my husband nuts.

So. Turning 30 and re-hashing all the journeys of my life so far seems sort of back burner to simply making it to 31 without all my hair falling out. Here's hopin'.

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