Alright, I'm being a little dramatic, but that's how I feel. If you've been reading for a while, you might remember my glee after our fall conference: "She's such a happy, happy child," the teacher said. "Her laugh is infectious," she said. "I had no idea you were having trouble at home. You must be doing something right," she said. (Or something pretty close.) The relief we both felt was palpable. She's going to be ok, we thought.
And then came yesterday. Approximately 30 seconds into the meeting came the "but." I can't remember the explanation verbatim because my mind went all tornado so here's an approximation: She's lapsing into "moods." She's become more unpredictable. She's angry. She doesn't understand what's going on at home, she doesn't like it, and it coming out in her behavior. Please understand it's not all day everday, but this isn't the same child we met in September. These aren't discipline problems, they're emotionally driven.
I immediately asked if she thought we needed to get her help. The teacher's response: "I have a wonderful doctor I can recommend who's worked with another one of our families." Cue the tears.
Naturally, it was magical thinking on both of our parts to even think our little girl could get through HER PARENTS SPLITTING UP without repercussion. It was also magical thinking on my part to believe that the very obvious turn in her behavior at home since the holidays could be chalked up to a particularly bad case of the terrible threes. To be quite honest: She has been a nightmare. The whining. The Oscar-worth tantrums. The hitting. What's kept me going, though, is that this behavior has been mostly reserved for me (and some for her Dad). Our babysitter (whom I worship and who has been taking care of her since she was 4 months) never experiences that side of her. Even on the mornings when I've had to drag Miss Monkey through Linda's door because she freaking out over [insert something ridiculous here], she recovers five minutes after I leave and is fine, JOYFUL, the rest of the day. At pick-up afterschool, my husband never got a concerned report (that said, the after-care teachers aren't the ones she has during the day). Those were the things that allowed me not to see, or rather admit, that my daughter was seriously struggling. And I feel like I've completely failed her.
I'm waiting to hear back from the teacher with the doctor's number. As soon as I get it, I'll be calling. I just wish so much I didn't have to.
If your kids have gone through something similar, and found help through therapy, would you share your story? How'd it work? What did you have to do? When did you see a change? Positive or not-so, I wanna hear.