“I need a day off.”
The Six Year Old says, in her angry voice, only minutes after coming downstairs this morning.
“Okay”, I was quick to answer.
I can tell this isn’t going to be a good day. I need to attempt to ward off a mental and emotion disaster today.
I need a day off too.
A day off from trying to act like it’s normal to be responsible for my grandchildren.
I know I’m probably teaching her to be irresponsible, that it’s okay to just stay home when you feel like it. To not pick yourself up and do what your supposed to do. Even when your having a bad day.
We’ve been having a lot of bad days.
I’m tired and frustrated. I’m overwhelmed and depressed.
She’s angry and defiant and confused.
It was alright at first. When she was a baby and then a toddler. Her days were busy with routine, playing and laughter.
When she started preschool she was cheerful and social. Everyone loved her. Even the parents of the other children thought she was awesome. Her teachers had nothing but praise.
Then she noticed that we were different. The questions started. “Do I have a mom and dad?” “Where are they?” We replied with brief, matter of fact answers. Those were sufficient at the time.
Around that time she also started acting out. Temper tantrums and angry responses. Extreme negative reactions to minor disappointments.
I spoke to her pediatrician, a psychiatrist and her teachers. They all said the same thing. That her behavior was normal. They said structure, discipline and positive reinforcement would ease her through this “phase”. That sounds like a good plan, but we were already doing those things.
We tried so many things, always trying to be consistent with each additional method.
That’s difficult with three very different adults in the house; myself and two of my grown children (her aunt and uncle), but we try.
We all also have our own issues we are dealing with. That’s adding to the tension, I’m sure.
We’re not that unusual, many households are made up of non traditional families. Knowing that fact doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make it all better.
No matter what we do or say, we are not her mom or dad.
Now that she’s in kindergarten, things are worse. We often get notes from the teacher, the principle and the bus driver. I worry about what will happen every day. Will she misbehave in school? Will the bus driver have to speak to her? Will she fight with the other children? Is she being mean to them? Are they teasing her? Will she get off the school bus crying again?
I’m sad for her.
I’m angry at her parents.
I’m sorry that I can’t fix this.
We are working hard to remain positive and encouraging, to not allow all the bad to spill over into any of the good that can be. It’s a challenge.
Play therapy is on the agenda for her. I’m hoping we can work through this and she will once again, be the happy little girl she deserves to be.