My first set of tears is from pure relief and joy that it's SO beautiful outside. In fact, I'm sitting on our deck enjoying the cool--YES, COOL!--breeze and it's only 80 degrees right now. The humidity is low and it's gorgeous! While it's definitely been cooler the last week or two than it was over the ridiculously hot summer, today is by far the most wonderful day we've had since last spring. Thank God. I was getting depressed by the unrelenting heat and lack of rain. It's rained twice (maybe even three times?) in the last two weeks. Fall is looking up already!
My second set of tears is over the frustration I'm feeling as a mother who can't seem to solve her child's number one, and really only, problem. But, let me start by telling you about the lovely morning we shared.
Delaney and I went to library lapsit story hour for the first time today. It's for 0-18 month-olds and it was fantastic! There were babies of all ages up to about 3 years and Delaney sat quietly on my lap listening to the stories and songs. After the formal part of the program they had free play time with more books and lots of toys. And, there's a really nice playground right next door to the library where we played afterwards. Delaney was reluctant to swing or climb but I think the more we go the more she'll like it. All I could think was, "Why haven't we done this before???" Maybe if we'd been going since she was born I'd have made some new friends by now. Many of the parents (there were even three dads there with their kids!) seemed to know each other. I talked to a few but didn't exactly strike up any new friendships (yet...maybe there's hope). I think we'll start going each Wednesday or at least every other Wednesday. Plus, our library system has these things all over town. I grabbed a schedule so we can see what other days/times are available. I'm starting to think that one of my solutions to Delaney's scratching problem is to spend more time with her when she's around other kids.
Which leads me to the topic over which I'm sheding tears of frustration: Delaney's scratching (now with added hair-pulling too!). For some reason Delaney's problem, which was starting to get better, began apearing more and more over the last two weeks. Something tells me that the weaning may be involved in her increase in acting out. I think she's having some separation issues and frustration over the weaning but doesn't know what she's feeling or how to express it. On Monday when I went to pick her up from the gym, she was sitting on a chair in "time out." She'd scratched three kids in one hour. The daycare director told me that the gym's general manager saw Delaney scratch two of the kids and wanted to know how long that's been going on with her. The daycare director basically gave me a gentle warning letting me know that if this doesn't get nipped in the bud soon, they may not let Delaney come back. I was mortified, of course, and angry and sad. We've been working with her on this for nearly 8 months (!!!) and we only see small improvements from time to time but the behavior is always there, even if it's just lurking beneath the surface.
After that episode, I totally dreaded going to The Little Gym on Tuesday, but was relieved when things went so well. I hovered around Delaney constantly but that seems to be part of the key to getting things solved. I reminded her to say, "Hi!" when she approached a baby or kid, thereby putting her focus on her greeting instead of how much flesh she could grab in her little hands. It worked! I did the same thing at the library today and she did a super job of keeping her hands to herself and she played nicely with others. Of course, the whole point of going to the gym is so I can work out and I can't be there with her in the daycare every minute hovering if I'm doing that. So I'm not sure what will happen there. I'm frustrated that the daycare director isn't more understanding, especially since I've tried to enlist the help of the staff there and I've been very upfront about the situation from the beginning. Part of me wanted to tell the director to go f*ck herself, that Delaney and I don't need their stupid gym. But I didn't. I don't want to be that parent--the one who can't take responsibility for her child's actions and for correcting them. I know the director's just doing her job and wants to protect the other kids. It must be frustrating for her to have to explain repeatedly to the parents of the wounded kids that my daughter has this problem we can't seem to solve and their kid got hurt.
I'm not giving up on solving this problem and I'm not going to stop taking her to the gym unless they force me to. I think it's important that Delaney is still placed in situations with lots of kids and adults so she eventually overcomes this. I won't always be right by her side to keep her from scratching. By sending her to the gym, she'll (hopefully?) start to learn from other authority figures that it's not OK to scratch. If I keep her home all the time she won't socialize and play with other kids and I don't think keeping her alone will stop the behavior. The part of the cure of taking her back to the gym is not very palatable to me, but I've got to forge forward on this.
Pass the tissue, please.