Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Dear Alex, seeking advice...

24th July 2012,

Dear Alex,

“When is daddy coming back, mummy?” Big clear blue eyes, tired from a day in the sun and another late night, look into mine, tired too, for different reasons. With this question, the veil that drapes precariously on my emotions surrounding doing our life without you, is tested for it’s sturdiness, and once again does not withstand the test, my eyes fill with tears and I have to answer that although you will very much be home one day, we do not know when it will be. The questions persist ‘well, maybe at Christmas? Or when I’m bigger?’ The thought and the reality of  it not being either of these as she’ll be a lot bigger if the plan goes as we think for your rehabilitation, tears at me and I have to swallow deeply and cuddle her, my little Mitzi Joy, and tell her it’ll definitely be one day, just not that soon…

Being brought up at the moment by just me, I am plagued with anxieties on a daily basis. I see you need me to be with you, more than I am. I feel, honestly, if I could be there more, you’d progress better. But I can’t be because we have four very dependent children. I also have their need of me, their right to me spending time with them as their mum, and the only one available to bring them up.

The pressure of this sometimes gets overwhelming. Frightening. All I know is that I have to dig in as deep as possible, even if I feel I am still being dragged…

I rang my sister-in-law Jo for some advice today (she works in an area which makes her a font of knowledge on difficulties with kids). With all the complexities of children’s behaviours for numerous reasons, I turned to her for some advice. I am anxious that through, in particular Monty’s behaviour, I do not end up over compensating and excusing everything he does and all his behaviours that honestly I would not accept if you were here Alex. It’s an easy trap to fall into. These past few weeks he has been testing, his attitude has made me pay him lots of attention for the negative ways he is behaving. And as the girls do not play up in the same way, they are essentially missing out on attention as I spend much time chastising and lecturing Monty! But I knew I needed some help. Yes, he’s going through a horrendously tough time, yes, he’ll be acting in certain ways more so because of this, BUT what I do not want is to excuse it all on his situation. There’s a point where, I feel, no matter how you feel or why, or how justified you may feel you are in being the way you are, that you have to turn it around, take that responsibility and be reasonable. It may sound like I am asking a lot of an 8-year-old, I’m not asking him to understand all this, just that he is alright, he’s ok, feeling what he is feeling, it’s normal, BUT he also needs to take charge of HIMSELF, that acting out on these feelings is not always alright. I think his age is also a factor, it’s a normal boy of this age thing to do, so where do I step in, at what point do I stop overcompensating and letting him be as he is being, which is not how I want to bring him up?!

Jo suggested that I wrote out some things I expected of him and his behaviour, give him very clear boundaries, and then the consequences when he doesn’t do these. I feel half of me which just wants to scoop him all up, rock him in my arms, tell him he can do whatever he wants, I am here for him to take it all out on, but there’s also a part that strongly wants him to grow up balanced, responsible and taking control of his own behaviours, owning the fact he has a choice.

As I explain to him tonight that despite the fact you are not here to tell him the things I do, that not for one second does it mean you and I are not at one in our beliefs and values in bringing the kids up, and what my values are, are yours too. He breaks down at this point, hearing the fact you aren’t here to do it, I think in a way he’s been testing everything partly out of feeling lost and angry. Which it’s ok to feel, but not to act on all the time, there's a point at which we have to take responsibility.

I am going to take him in with me one morning hopefully this week to be with you and me alone. I think this will have a real impact on how he feels around coming in to see you. Maybe some mummy and daddy time will do him some good. Our little man, growing up too fast…

Well, you were exhausted today, therapies were nigh on impossible as you could do hardly a thing. I babble on inanely at you about the nutrition side of things which is my next project for you, after a friend suggested power shakes may be a perfect idea for you…watch this space…

I just hope tomorrow will see you more animated…I feel I have missed out on you  time when all you do is sleep when I am there.

See you in the morning,

Me xxxxxxxxxxx

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