It's not exactly the birthday week I would have hoped for. It's probably good that I've been too busy to blog this week because any posts from midweek would have been downright depressing. This one may be bad enough (particularly since it's my birthday and all), but I've had a change of scenery so at least that's helpful in getting me out of the brutal fog I was in all week.
Jacob's behavior last weekend was awful, obviously, and it continued into the week. Wednesday just captured the week in a nutshell. Carter was having his night bottle and suddenly projectile vomited all over me. He had done the same thing Sunday and Monday, once each day, and the volume and velocity were disturbing. He's got acid reflux and spitting up has always been a problem, but this was beyond anything we'd experienced. He still seemed happy, though, so it was perplexing. I called the pediatrician's afterhours line and they were equally perplexed and suggested I call the doctor the next day. In the meantime, Jacob was having his usual issues going to bed, and Craig went up to help him with an issue with his blankets. When Craig tried to move something, Jacob got mad and threw himself backward in anger. He hit his head on the edge of his headboard. He was almost immediately hysterical and we had a heck of a time pinning him down so we could get a good look at it. It was bleeding and initially it looked bad. But upon further review it was sort of like a brush burn scratch and while it bled for a while, it wasn't something that needed stitches. He had a big bump, though, so he was up icing it for a while. When we finally put him to bed, we noticed his eye wasn't closing as he slept, which made us nervous given his head bump. I called the afterhours line again and they had us wake him up to check for concussion symptoms. He had a heck of a time waking up, though, so we almost had to take him into the ER for that reason alone. Luckily he finally woke up and passed the tests. But it was a late night and I didn't get around to doing the packing I wanted to do for our weekend trip.
The next morning we tried to check his wound and he resisted with hitting and kicking, and his behavior in general was so bad that Craig and I looked at each other across the room and realized that we couldn't take another day of this. We had called earlier in the week to get an appointment at a therapist that the pediatrician recommended, but vowed to do whatever we could to get him looked at that day. I kid you not, I was tempted to drop him off at the psych ward--it was that bad. We simply can't deal with the constant battles, constant defiance, and constant abuse. Fortunately, they were able to get us in at noon that day, which made for a crazy Thursday...particularly since we still had to get Carter into the pediatrician and get packed for the weekend. In the end we held off on Carter's appointment until Friday when our doctor was there, but we still had a lot of maneuvering to get Jacob to his appointment. Craig took off most of the day, and I met them there from work after cutting out of a conference call early.
The appointment was a bit surreal. There's nothing quite like sitting on a therapist's couch (literally) and spilling your guts. Jacob played on the floor while we gave her a rundown of the issues we've been dealing with. She didn't have much to offer at that time, but gave some suggestions--nothing we weren't already trying to do--and set up an appointment for the next week. I guess those appointments will be primarily with Jacob, but we may get called in at the end for a game plan. She definitely figures that Carter's arrival is part of what's going on here (duh) but we definitely need to figure out some ways to counteract it.
I can't quite describe to you the agony that comes from having your child completely reject you. I see other people with their kids, laughing and hugging and talking, and I get upset that that is not our reality. I feel like we're missing out on this very normal, very simple, loving interaction, and just can't figure out exactly where it went wrong. Carter may have moved things along to a new level, but these issues were there in some form long before he ever made an appearance, so there has to be more to it than that. It is all absolutely heartbreaking. I spent most of the week in tears, be it at home, at work, or talking to his teachers at daycare. Just the thought of it destroyed me every time. Still does, to be honest. It drove me nuts that the doctor was saying how I should make special Mommy-Jacob time, but whenever I do that, it turns into a disaster. Just the prior night, I took Jacob out especially to get his school supplies. We left Carter and Daddy at home, and there was a promise of a treat afterward if it went well. Well...it all started when Jacob wanted supplies we didn't need. And when they didn't have the color folder he wanted. He hit, kicked, and name-called his way through the store. We never did get a backpack or lunch box. It was awful...and then we came home to the projectile vomiting and the headboard incident, so the entire night was a nightmare. Long story short, even when I try to make time for Jacob, be it shopping, playing, reading, or whatever, it turns into him getting mad at me for something trivial and having a meltdown.
Most people keep telling us that he just needs a good spanking or that he needs to know who's boss. But here's the thing--if we spank him he only gets more violent, and we can only see that escalating into something physical that we're no longer comfortable with. We're not shy with spanking, but he says it doesn't hurt and laughs it off, so in order to get through to him I think it might take a no-longer-legal beating, and that's not going to happen. And we've never made it a secret that WE are the bosses--we almost always win eventually--but he just doesn't seem to care and is still convinced that he runs the show. He never seems to learn and is thoroughly convinced that we don't know anything and he knows it all. He also can't seem to control himself physically and ends up punching or kicking just because. It is the weirdest thing because on the surface it seems like he's just being a pain, but no logical person would continue on the way he does, so I have to think there's more happening there than it would appear. And it's awful. He also keeps telling us (and his teachers) that he's having bad thoughts, including those about hurting people...including his brother. It's scary and heart-wrenching and we don't know what else to do about it but do the weekly doctor appointments and see how it goes.
Anyway, all of this really made for the week from hell. It was so busy, but all I really felt like doing was locking myself in a room and crying. I spent most of the week in an overtired fog, feeling like we had entered some alternate universe where our healthy, spirited kid was suddenly terribly ill. I know this may be fixable, but there are moments where I feel like we're never going to get this under control and he's on a path to inevitable tragedy. Ironically, one of the bloggers I read all the time posted a very timely post. You can read it here. In the face of what my coworker is going through with her son, I was feeling guilty for being so sad about my own situation. This post made me feel a little better, but it's still so hard. And we're still struggling this weekend.
Anyway, it's now more than 20 minutes past the end of my 35th birthday (yesterday marked five years since my 30th birthday and Jacob's Christening), and it has been a very long couple days to start off our extra long weekend. I'll have a rundown on that soon, but for now I need to get some much-needed sleep. I need all the energy I can get to make it through another day as Jacob's target. Tuesday's appointment can't come soon enough. Let's hope it turns into a belated birthday gift. That is one gift I really need.