It occurs to me my little blog, which is usually laced with humor, has grown a bit darker as I document our family struggles. This shift was certainly never my intention, but I did choose to call it "Life on the Seesaw" for a reason. Sometimes parenting is hilarious and a series of "up" experiences, and other times it is a struggle to remain afloat and aware of who you are. Right now we're on the down end of the seesaw, but I am trying to remember to smile and laugh at our experiences in the midst of it all.
Honestly, remembering to smile has been a struggle lately, and many days I feel overwhelmed and unsure which end is up. As any parent knows, life doesn't stop because there is a problem or crisis. Though we are seeking help for Hudson, we still have the weight of every day life, which means laundry, dishes, meals to cook, toys to pick up, work, cars that don't work, too much month at the end of the money, and three other kids who have emotional and physical needs. Jason says one day we'll look back and crack jokes about having to jump start the van's battery every day (no lie--we really have to do this), and I like to think we'll look back on this decision to get help and think it was a turning point in our family.
Last night we attempted to take the kids out for Mexican food, and the effects of our journey on all of them has never been more apparent. We started with Lawson hitting us and throwing a tantrum because he couldn't sit in my lap as we waited for a table. When we finally sat down, Scout refused to keep the lid on her cup and ultimately spilled her water all over the floor. I then had to take Lawson to the restroom for a "come to Jesus meeting", and by the time I got back, Scout was in full diva mode. I returned to the table from walking her around only to have her screech "I hate you!" at the top of her voice. When the food finally reached us, I spilled a glass of ice water in my lap, and that event marked the end of my rope. I swear I heard the entire restaurant cheer when we finally walked out--with Scout screaming the entire way to the door and throwing herself on the floor just in front of it and demanding to be carried.
As we headed home, we explained to the boys everyone was going to bed a bit early, but when we walked through the door, we discovered Libby the Farting Dog had gotten into the trash and strewn it all over the playroom. I sent all the kids to bed immediately so that we could clean it up, which sent Camden into a tailspin. We finally got him settled down around 11:00, but not before he had gone into full hysterics.
Today was no better. All three boys had a melt-down before lunch. Lawson and Camden believe Hudson hates them, Hudson hates me, Scout hates everyone, and Lawson thinks Jason and I hate him. Basically, the underlying theme of the house is "hate". Hudson was scheduled for a play therapy appointment today, and I showed up with all four kids in tow. Jason met us at the office, and when I poured my heart out to his therapist, she changed our appointment to an emergency family appointment. We now have a strategy in place and an appointment with all three boys next week. I'm so thankful for someone who sees my family is in crisis and takes action to arm us with the tools we need to make it better. So far the "fine" (losing a toy for every hit, ugly name, or declaration of hate) that has been implemented has netted me ten toys among each of the kids. I wonder how long it will take them to catch on.
Maybe months from now I will look back on this week and on last night's experience at Jalapeno's and laugh. For now, I'm going to avoid dining in public like the plague.