Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Emotion Overload

I don't think I can adequately convey how difficult these last few weeks have been for us.  Me, in particular.  I mean, Craig may be having a hard time dealing, but if he is, it isn't showing nearly as clearly as it is for me.  I have been a walking raw nerve for at least the past couple weeks, tearing up out of nowhere whenever I think or talk about all of the issues we're facing.  It's made it incredibly hard to function.  I proclaimed on Facebook last week that I either needed to stop listening to K-Love (Christian station) on my way into work, or I needed to start bringing makeup with me to work.  At least twice last week songs came on the radio on my way into work, and the words related to all that we're dealing with right now.  Before I knew it, tears were streaming.  Then, of course, reality set in and I was scrambling to try to make myself not look all puffy-eyed and red-nosed by the time I had to get out of the car. 

My focus on everything--work, home, whatever--has been crap.  If I'm not thinking of another thing to Google, I'm just generally preoccupied enough that it makes it hard to remember details and to do lists.  The start of Kindergarten hasn't helped, since I have a whole new to do list each morning and night now, from looking through his take home folder and dealing with those papers, to packing his lunch.  He got his first fundraiser stuff the other day and I can't even wrap my brain around doing anything with it.  I just feel overwhelmed by the simplest things, and it's driving me nuts.  Laundry sits unfolded for days.  Dishes lay unwashed.  Baths get pushed off one more night.  Grocery shopping with both kids in tow scares me to death. 

Part of the problem is that everything with Jacob takes twice as much time and energy as it used to.  You pretty much have to build in time for his constant nos, endless distractions, and having the patience to outlast it all without losing your temper.  Something as simple as bedtime is exhausting, particularly when you add Carter into the mix.  He's a very good baby, but I'd definitely say his patience is waning a bit these days.  So dealing with Jacob's defiance, while trying to manage Carter, and keeping in mind that Carter's mere presence is often an issue for Jacob, is nearly impossible. 

We went to Jacob's therapist again this week, this time with just Craig and me, to discuss our side of things.  I'm getting a little frustrated because, while I know she can't make any sweeping declarations yet, I don't feel like she's understanding the severity of the problem.  When she sees him, he's normal with perhaps a couple of issues.  When he's alone with us, he's a different kid who loses his temper on a dime and comes up swinging.  I swear the only way she'll get what's going on is to watch natural interactions with us (without him knowing she's watching).  Heck, the other day he had such a meltdown at the grocery store that I was actually afraid he was delusional or something.  I knew that going shopping after an already long day for him might be a challenge, but I found out later he barely ate his lunch so I have a feeling low blood sugar played into it.  But he had absolutely lost his mind over the tiniest thing, and we had to leave the store without even going in because he wouldn't calm down.  It was embarrassing and scary.  After the fact I wished that I could have taped it (but boy, wouldn't I have looked like a bad mom!) because it was such a bizarre happening that I'd love to get an expert opinion. 

Carter, by the way, is doing okay so far, knock on wood.  We tried sweet potatoes this week and after three helpings, no FPIES episodes yet.  I guess we'll probably get one more food in before we leave for Florida (angsty post on that to come, I suppose), but I may just take a couple things down with us for solids because he's still not loving them.  But he likes sweet potatoes best so far.  Maybe meat tomorrow?  I'm encouraged, but still very nervous.

Anyway, getting back to the point of this post...Dealing with the emotions associated with all of this has been exhausting.  Sometimes it's all I can think about, and it just tires me out.  I worry so much about Jacob and his future, particularly if he's truly got something wrong with him.  I'm intimidated by the challenges of each day.  I'm overtired...and often just plaid sad. 

Over the weekend my cousin got married.  Craig and I had a much needed day to ourselves, starting around 1pm when we dropped off the boys at Craig's brother's house.  We got to enjoy the ceremony and reception without the kids, and it was a nice break.  We visited Craig's dad at the hospital (his triple bypass surgery yesterday went fine) in between, and were able to enjoy lots of food and some beverages.  We danced, hung out with my family, and generally had a nice time.  It felt good to have a few carefree hours.  But more than that, her wedding brought up some interesting emotions I didn't expect.  Ten years after my own, I guess I look at weddings a little differently than I used to.  First, as much as I know that the most significant part of the day is that a marriage is formed, I sort of see the day for what it is--a big party where the couple can have one of the best days of their life.  It's definitely the beginning of something, and it's full of so much hope and joy.  It's one day to live a fantasy.  And for that reason alone, I'm so happy for the couple when I go to a wedding.  It's such an amazing experience, and I remember that vividly from my own experience. 

But what really struck me this time around was the vows.  When you get married and you say your vows, you never really think about the "for better or for worse" part of them too deeply.  But here we are in the "for worse" part.  It's such a contrast to that happy wedding day full of hope, and it's hard.  This experience is definitely trying, but with the exception of a few moments here and there, I think we're doing what we can to make sure that this marriage stays strong amidst the frustrations.  It's especially hard when our opinions on how to manage Jacob differ, or when it feels like our responsibilities aren't shared enough, or whatever.  The exhaustion can wear on you, for sure, and makes everything harder.  But seeing the newlyweds' joy reminded me how much I want to recapture that feeling, and was a good reminder that marriage and happiness are always things to fight for.  It all definitely makes me appreciate our journey that much more.

I know this is sort of a random, rambling post, but I guess that's just more insight into the current state of my brain.  From sadness and frustration to joy and nostalgia, it's been such a crazy couple weeks.  I'm hoping things chill out a bit soon, though the stress of packing for Florida this weekend may put me over the edge temporarily.  But hopefully a week in Florida will be a nice change of scenery for all of us.  Maybe Jacob will remember how much we love him and decide to work harder on listening.  Now if only I didn't suspect so much of it was out of his control, I'd be even more hopeful.  But I can dream.  And isn't that what Disney's all about?  Let's hope the happiest place on earth brings out more of that one emotion.  We could use some happy around here.

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