"I hate mom so much I don't even want to look at her." So this is what is written on many things--notebooks, worksheets, journal, jeans, shirts, wall, bed-- get the picture? Tortuga has had a rough series of days punctuating about 2 weeks of big steps forward and small steps backward. I think he is overwhelmed by his own recognition of his mixed emotions and this is leading him back into familiar territory. He forgets simple steps in routines, ignores small "rules," grates on everyone's nerves and just tests, tests, and tests. Cannot put his clothes on correctly. Writes on his clothes, floor and walls "by accident." Doesn't remember that the bar of soap shouldn't be left on the floor of the tub (with a dripping faucet). Forgets not to shout at the top of his lungs to ask me silly questions (e.g. "did you bring the broom upstairs mom?") during his morning routine WHEN HIS SISTER IS STILL SLEEPING! It is continuous right now. Nothing totally major in and of itself BUT incredibly disruptive, annoying, and indicative of higher stress levels for him.It must be so scary to be in his shoes right now.
Compounding the problem is that the more understanding and caring I show, the meaner he gets (but interestingly not usually to me unless you count all that writing he is doing.) He fixates on Corazon. Cuts his eyes at her. Yells at her. Growls at her. Stares at her. Bores holes into the back of her head with his eyes when she isn't looking. Tattletales on her every misstep ("MOM! She touched the window!" or "MOM! She is thinking about stealing!" or better yet "Mom, you didn't see her but she was thinking about making a mean face at me."--when she is not even in the room with us.) It is utterly exhausting for all of us. We need a break from him but cannot get it because the payback is just too high.
A few weeks ago C. and I went out without the older kids for a couple of hours leaving Tortuga and Corazon with a new babysitter. Two hours later we dropped off the little ones and left for about an hour. We were gone for a total of 3 1/2 hours. I cannot begin to describe the incredible meltdown that Tortuga had that night. It was the worse one we had seen in months and took both C. and me hours to help him calm down. The next day he was "mommy focused." I went to run a quick errand without kids and he was beside himself before I even left. Then he wanted me to "promise" I was only running ONE errand. He has never asked me to promise anything. It bothers him that I leave him to run errands because I refuse to deal with his behavior anymore which is much better than it used to be but still unpredictable. C. reports then when I am gone he asks about me multiple times and seems thrilled when I am home. These are good signs of attachment, I know.
His oppositional behavior is up and it is a bit comical at times because he has to oppose every single thing and I just smile and say "ok, honey." He doesn't know what to do with that and continues to try ways to be oppositional. I need to video one of these soon because mostly they aren't about serious issues. So how are we dealing with these "slip ups"? We have been here before and several things have worked (sentences, writing down his routine, even removing the responsibility.) I am thinking of having him keep a list of all the things he has "forgotten" and "doesn't know" if he cannot self-correct remember after I try the usual "who does know? the cat? the wall?" etc. which sometimes works. I am not sure what we are going to do with the list but the interruption in his plans to have to stop and write it down will hopefully serve as a deterrent. Any other thoughts?
Other than that, I suppose I should find the good in the possibility that he hates me but he misses me.