Life has had a great number of"ups" this summer and its fair share of "downs" as well. We are in a downward phase with Tortuga since swim team ended. I am reminded oh how poorly he handles disappointments. Even though he is 14.5 and has grown a good deal over the past few years, expressing his thoughts and feeling with words is hard for him. Too hard when the feelings are strong. As swim team practices wound down his behaviors escalated. He fluctuated between giddiness and belligerence. Routines went by the wayside, manners slipped, loudness soared, rudeness increased, rule-following became a chore, bad habits surfaced and his testiness increased dramatically. The day after his final swim meet he was absolutely horrid. I tried to talk to him about the "big feelings" he was having but he was too overwhelmed to listen or participate in any of the activities that might have helped him slip out of it.
It has been almost 3 weeks since swim team ended and while there have been days when he seems to be back on track for the most part he isn't and life has been harder. Part of it is his jealousy of the other kids. Corazon's birthday being around the corner didn't help at he got very fixated on what she wanted for her birthday, what kind of celebration was she having, what kind of cake did she want, etc. Some days that was the only subject he could discuss, other days he accused her of being obsessive about her upcoming birthday. He was, of course, projecting his fixation onto her. She was actually being quite low-key about the entire thing.
His inability to stay on track with his summer schoolwork has created a bit of chaos for him as well. It usually gives him focus and structure to have summer schooling. Lately it has become a chore like everything else (including being pleasant to others at mealtimes or in the car, answering when spoken to, etc.) Right now he is disorganized and scattered, mean and aggressive, rude and disrespectful, and mostly not a very likable kid. That makes things hard on the rest of us and I have pretty much run out of patience and tolerance with him. If you know me that is bad. Patience is probably my only virtue and if it runs out no telling what can happen. But we keep on going and trying to find the moments when he can enjoy and appreciate time with the rest of the family. For the rest of the children it means lots more time with one another and without him. And I am getting better at feeling ok when he has to be left out.