I tend to keep this blog a happy place. To write about the nicer things in life rather than the mundane day to day. At the moment though the day to day is taking over somewhat and to be honest we’re struggling with it.
The thing is about 10 months ago Master C became difficult. I never expected life with two small children to be a walk in the park, and at first just put all our problems down to “a phase” but nearly a year later I’m definitely thinking that this is no phase. It’s not just a few things either. By now his behaviour is completely ruling our life and making things pretty tough.
It all started when he decided to stop eating meals. Aged 11 months he’d been weaned really easily and he’d been happily eating three pureed meals a day since just 17 weeks old. All different flavours were happily gobbled up and it was all going swimmingly, much as it had for his sister. He then got to that stage where they don’t want you spoon feeding them any more and instead he wanted finger foods and to try feeding himself. Fine I though and I left him to get on with it, much as I had done with Little Miss C. The problem is that he obviously hadn’t read the instruction book.
He just no longer wanted to eat anything other than a very select group of things (mainly biscuits, bread, crisps, chocolate, sausages, yoghurt and custard) and if we gave him anything else he just screamed and threw it to the floor. A phase I’m sure many children go through, but here we are still going through it. And things haven’t improved at all.
There’s still only a very small groups of foods that he will eat, and even then he won’t always eat all of them. Sometimes he’ll just throw something at us when the day before he’d happily eaten it. Hundreds of pounds of food is being thrown away as he just won’t touch it. He screams because he’s hungry, but he won’t eat anything other than whatever it is he specifically wants at that moment. If we don’t have it or won’t give it to him he just screams instead. And screams and screams. For hours. As he hasn’t got a huge vocabulary yet we sometimes struggle to work out what it is he wants anyway.
As he won’t eat his meals (breakfast is the only meal he’s eaten properly for 10 months now) he gets hungry between meals and again just scream and screams. Even when you give him what he wants he sometimes will just take a few bites and then throw the rest across the room (and/or spit it out onto the floor) and start screaming again.
The throwing isn’t limited to meal times though and bedtime has also become a huge battle where he throws everything out of his cot and then screams until we go and put it all back in again. If we don’t go in he just keeps screaming. The record before we caved in is about an hour. The cycle can go on for hours and hours, even if he appears tired and at gone 11pm one night we were still there returning his cuddly dog and duvet when he’d been put to bed around half past 7. It’s also common for him to wake several times a night, and although we can get him back to sleep quite quickly we’re not always sure what wakes him in the first place.
As if this isn’t enough we also seem to be at the stage where biting and hitting are the common response to everything – mainly directed towards his sister – and dealing with that when combined with all the screaming is exhausting.
This all sounds like one huge moan, and in a way I suppose it is and I feel really bad about that. I realise that there are plenty of people far less fortunate than ourselves, but when you’re stuck in this middle of this it’s tough. When he’s “on form” he really can be the most delightful little boy ever. Cute, smart, funny and great fun to be with. Sadly that only seems to be a fraction of the time these days.
Mentally and physically I’m exhausted. I’ve no idea what to do to try to break out of this cycle. Family life is suffering massively. We struggle to go out anywhere because of his behaviour. We can’t go out for meals ever as all he does is throw and scream. If it’s just me with the kids (i.e. during the week when Mr C’s at work) then I really struggle. And heartbreakingly there’s so so much that LMC is missing out on due to his behaviour. At times she’s being naughty, and I’ve come down hard on her for it, but trying to step back and look at it when calm I think it is all because so much of our time is taken up with dealing with Master C.
I’ve spoken to GPs, health visitors, children centre outreach workers and his nursery staff (he won’t eat there either) and tried everything suggested without any success. No one can find anything actually wrong with him, and overall he’s a healthy little boy, despite not getting a balanced diet. The line that came back from someone that the nursery got in to observe him at meal times was that he was “just bloody stubborn”. We’re lined up to see a paediatrician next month thanks to a referral from our GP, and I’m just praying that they can find some sort of a problem so that we can try to resolve things. Otherwise I’m pinning all my hopes on him getting better when he learns to talk more.
I do wonder if it’s all just geared at me though. When he’s at nursery, or anyone else looks after him, he’s just not like this. Yes he won’t eat and throws food, but they don’t get all the screaming that I seem to get all day long. I’m left wondering if maybe it’d just be better if other people always looked after him, but then that doesn’t sort out the problem or mean we have any sort of a family life does it. I feel like I’m failing as a mum. I should be able to comfort him, provide food for him to help him grow healthy and strong, yet I can’t.
There’s just three and a half weeks until the end of the school term and the long summer holiday looms. I’d always pinned my hopes on him being better by now. That LMC, Master C and I would be able to do things together this summer without all these problems, but I’m now having to accept that it’s looking highly unlikely and it breaks my heart. I so want to give LMC a lovely summer. To do all the exciting things that her friends are going to do, but so many of them just seem impossible.
I’ve three and a half weeks to try to rescue things and to be honest I just don’t know where to start.