Thursday, June 22, 2006

mammalodrama

I have to be brief because I'm exhausted. But I probably won't be able to sleep unless I do at least a partial dump, so here goes...

I sent Hyde to his room on Friday afternoon after he was disrespectful to me. He didn't come out for dinner, and when I went to check on him I found his room empty and the window mesh-screen ripped. No word from him all night, or Saturday morning, so we made a police report. When we got home, there was a message from him, left just a few minutes earlier that he'd been in a car accident while in his "other mother's" company (this is my friend who's in the middle of an ugly divorce). Turns out he'd called her, lied to her and she'd taken him and her kids to lunch. After lunch, she ran a red light (did I mention she's in the middle of a nasty divorce and custody battle?) and t-boned another vehicle. Everyone in her car, including my son, was fine. But it was a mess and the cops were there, so it's a good thing I was home to tell them that it was ok for my son to be in her car. And, since she didn't have enough to deal with, Hyde decided that he didn't want to come home that night so he got to spend it at her house. I spent the whole weekend crying, questioning whether I'm fit to mother anyone, and whether my family wouldn't be better off without me. Lucky for me, Sunday's sermon was dead on and snapped me out of my pity party. And that I have some amazing women friends who inspire and encourage me every time I want to shrivel up and die.

Hyde came home on Sunday night, after he and Mo (God bless my husband) played in a Father/Son Ultimate Frisbee game that some of our friends organized at a nearby park. Mo has been icing his knee since then, because no one was kidding about the ultimate part of the game. Things have been weird at home, to say the least. What's gonna happen the next time I say no to Hyde? And, as part of the whole ordeal, I've been on MySpace waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I'd ever care to so I can keep track of the adolescent chatter and try to figure out where Hyde's head's at, as well as what his friends are like. It's scary. I'd like my blinders back on please, and bring me a stiff martini while you're at it...

So, today. After two days of relative calm, today I'm in the kitchen fixing lunch and look over to see my almost-15yo son pretending to repeatedly one-two punch his 23mo brother. I've warned Hyde before about the way in which he plays with his little brother, and I have to once again point out that this type of "play" is not acceptable. Fast forward to 7pm, Mo and I are getting ready so we can all go to a benefit concert and I hear a weird sound coming from my bedroom door. I open the door and, to my horror, see Hyde swinging El Niño towards the door like a battering ram... I. lost. it. After I made sure that the baby was ok and left him with Mo in our room, I went completely nuts and yelled at Hyde until I lost my voice.

I'm scared because I don't know how to fix this, because I feel like I've lost my first child. Some commenters asked a while back if Hyde is maybe having issues at being "replaced" by his little brother, and from having "lost" his place as man of the house when I married Mo. It's possible. My friend Vic also pointed out to me a few months ago that he may have anger issues tied to his absent bio-father. That's possible too. There are so many reasons, really, for him to be angry and dysfunctional. And this is what I'm dealing with, this is why I may be on a hiatus from the blog... not sure yet what I'm gonna do about anything.

4 comments:

stefanierj said...

I am so sorry you have to deal with this crap. Like having a toddler around isn't hard enough? Sheeeee.

I have NO idea what to do with adolescents. No idea. I was a horrible child myself, though, so these are the only things I can glean from several years of being the world's most trying child: one, have you read any of the Parent Effectiveness Training/How to Talk so Kids Will Listen stuff? It might sound hippy-dippy but when I read it, a lot of it resonated with the angry teen in me.

I'm sure you've tried this route before, but it might be worth another try to ask him what he's thinking, and explaining to him in I-terms why, for instance, his rough play with his brother bothers you. "When I hear El Nino crying, I get afraid because I think he's being hurt, just like when I think you're hurt. It makes me so scared that I just want to make him stop crying, and so sometimes I yell at you. Can you help me think of ways to express my discomfort but still let you know how important you are to me?"

The only other thing I can say is that--and this comes from a post of MIM's about dealing with toddler behavior, so forgive me if it sounds too simplistic--while there may be a number of things causing him to feel this way, if he isn't willing to share them with you (see #1 above), you can, to a certain extent, only deal with the behavior you're presented with. So if he won't engage, won't tell you what's bothering him or how you can help him, you've gotta deal with the behavior, otherwise you'll spend your life second-guessing your decisions.

So if #1 doesn't work, make the consequences clear and just handle each escalation as it comes: If you pretend to hit your brother again, I will send you to your room until you can come up with two reasons why I don't want you to play like that with your brother. If you sneak out again, we will lock the door to your room and you will have to sleep on the couch where we can see you at all times.

You can do this. You're a great mom, and as a result, he IS a great kid--it's just that his great kidness is hidden under a lot of adolescent angst. I acted like a shit and I had no baggage as an excuse, so a big part of this is the age.

Good luck and remember we are in your corner!! Sorry for the dissertation here!

mama without instructions said...

oh, lady. i have no idea what to say. i too am sorry to hear what you all are going through and i wish i could offer something helpful. i know you are a great person and great mother. you will all persevere and come out stronger for it. good luck hanging in there. i am always around if you want to get out and focus on the little ones. take care.

Vic said...

Hey! I haven't had a computer for a while now. I wish I had some answers for you. As an adult of a child who wasn't raised by her bio-dad, I have to tell you the horrendous struggle I have with authority figures. I am almost unable to respect their positions at all in my life. I just really have a feeling that this is his core problem - his absent dad. Go listen or read the lyrics to Father of Mine by Everclear to hear the bitterness a guy can carry just in being "abandoned". You have to understand that his perception of things is going to be SO different than ours. Even if something doesn't seem right, the way he says it or presents it to you - it may be in his eyes. All that matters to him is how he sees it, whatever "it" is. By now it's probably compounded with having a little brother who receives a lot of his parents' attention. Even if he shuns you and says that he doesn't want you anyway, that is his defense. It covers the hurt. It makes him feel better.

I am always hoping that somehow the answer(s) will come to you on this. It's so rough, man. Well, I luv ya, and just know that I'm thinking of you.

sweetchaos said...

being raised without the bio-dad is a huge factor in the teenage angst.I speak from experience. stand your ground, be consistent, and don't second guess yourself.

you can do this.