I wasn’t expecting five to be a challenging year for her and I. I was wrong. Remember the little girl who’s first sentence was “I’m happy!” ? Well, she’s pretty sad these days. Everyone says the wrong thing to her–either they notice her too much or not enough. Either they ask her questions she doesn’t want to answer, or tell her things she doesn’t want to hear. She doesn’t want to see her grandparents any longer since they told her she smiles like a monkey, and once told her not to be such a baby when she cried. School is stressful. She misses her big brother when he’s at school and she’s not. She is angry because she can’t read. “Home doesn’t feel like home any more.” And she gets tension headaches every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Since August.
And she just gave me a drawing of a heart with and “x” through it and said, “That means I don’t love you anymore.”
Then she cried for a long time and eventually said “I just said that because I just don’t feel good. I don’t remember what it was like to feel good. I want things to go back the way they were.”
And I’d be lying if I said neither of those broke my heart in jagged little pieces.
We saw the doctor today. Again. Her chest hurt this morning and last night, probably just heartburn from coughing or some other fluke. I could have treated it with a tums if I had known that was okay to give to kids. She checked out fine. Of course she did. She’s a perfectly healthy kid. Except for being miserable.
She is worried about her head. She is worried about school and being away from me and being too shy to tell her teacher if her head starts to hurt too much. She worries. And she hurts and I have nothing to soothe her with. She railed at me yesterday and today, asking “Why haven’t you done something? Why can’t I get better? Why didn’t you try to figure this out before??” And how could it look any other way than that? I keep telling her it will get better and it never does. I don’t even believe me anymore. For months, it felt like no one believed that she even had headaches. She always looked so happy and energetic. Well, yeah. She did feel good sometimes and that’s when we’d venture forth. We don’t do a lot of venturing at all these days, though. She came home from school yesterday and said “I want to just sleep for awhile, okay, Mommy?” This, from the child who hasn’t napped in over three years.
If school were the original and continuing stressor….is now the time I start thinking about homeschooling her? (And her brother?) What other solution is there?
Here’s another question: If I had gone back to work after they were born, would my children have become tough, adaptable weeds by now, jaunting (or even silently trudging) off to school? Or put this way—what would they look and function like right now if I hadn’t been here every moment of their lives? Would they have been tougher? Or rootless with no safe place to fall? Forget it, those aren’t the right questions.
We go to a second chiropractor tomorrow afternoon and finally get in to see an acupuncturist in a week. Her pediatrician has basically thrown her hands up, but perked up when I said we had the acupuncture appointment. That and a list of vitamins prescribed to kids with migraines, “for future reference, just in case.” Her neurologist gave up on us a month ago, because clearly she’s neurotypical with no serious disease presentation, and I still haven’t recovered from that. He told us to stop using ibuprofen and Tylenol, to treat her “stress” headaches some other way and gave us not one idea on how to do it.
So…here’s the list I’ve cobbled together of things to do to reduce her stress and help her vent: hanging/rolling over a stability ball, naps, hot chocolate, tea parties, hot baths, walks, God how I wish it were sunny and we could lay in the grass, sledding, little pieces of chocolate, lavender balm on her forehead, a worry doll, foot rubs, back rubs, mom-and-me yoga, deep breathing, talking about how to make our big worries a little smaller, talking in general, oh and I got her a kitten. (Her list, by the way, involves unlimited access to My Little Pony episodes, cookies and the kitten.)
There is a whole lot of me that says I’m all done with this and that I can handle no more. Her every complaint feels like a crisis, and one that I can do nothing about. Like a natural disaster.
But there is another, smaller, but hopefully tougher part that will win out.