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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Fall Out

It starts with tell-tale signs of tiredness: Bug starting to snatch toys from his brother or developing that blank, glassy-eyed look (more so than usual) when we try to tell him something. Cub poking his upper lip with his index finger in a sort of “thoughtful pose,” and/or having tantrums at the drop of a hat. The general grumpiness escalates to a fever pitch. I don’t handle it well, things get stressed. It would be easier if we were at home. But we’re not. We’re out, usually at a family gathering at an older family member’s house (ie Not a house with young children). With each tantrum, altercation, or whingey response my stomach ties in knots, my head feels like it’s going to explode.

My fight or flight instincts kick in and all I want to do is grab my whingey, noisy, exhausted children and leave … but I can’t. We have to stay just a bit longer. It’s not our house and it’s not set up for children so we are on high alert, constantly having to stop already cranky children from destroying a house that is not set up for young ones. Each time I or even The Geek has to jump up and stop one of them (resulting in a whine or mini tantrum) my anxiety grows. We have to stay through the meal, sit and chat and have desert. It’s only polite. I can’t hold a decent conversation with anyone because the kids have me on edge and because I have nothing in common with any of them, we are at different life stages. I find I only talk about the kids, I feel I am boring and repetitive. It’s worse if Cub decides to breastfeed constantly due to his exhaustion. All of this continues past the usual time we’d start the bedtime routine, past my ability to cope. I try to hint that we should go, I feel like I’m being rude or look like a lunatic.

Then it’s finally time to leave. We are leaving painfully early compared to the rest of the people there. I fear we’re being judged rude. In all fairness and honesty, we probably aren’t. Oddly, that knowledge doesn’t change my fear of it. I struggle Cub into his night nappy and try to brush their teeth (if we’ve remembered the toothbrushes) in the hopes that they will fall asleep in the car. If we’re lucky, they will. If we’re unlucky, they won’t but it won’t take *too* long to get them down once we get home. If we’re seriously unlucky (and this happens more often than we’d like to admit even to ourselves), they will fall asleep in the car and wake up when we get home … resulting in an epic struggle with one or both of them to finally sleep. Last night it was the latter. Both needed one of us to lay with them for an unbelievably long time. I failed. My anxiety was at maximum and Bug picked it up … thus he was not able to relax and sleep either. I ended up having to just get up, upsetting him, and forcing The Geek to go lay with him even after he’d just done the same for Cub. Thankfully The Geek was able to be calmer and Bug picked up on that, finally drifting off to sleep soon after he took over. Unfortunately, the excitement of the day added to the disruption of last week being the first week of school resulted in a fitful night for all of us. Then we had to take Bug to school this morning walking like a zombie, his eyes falling out of his head. I worry how he will be at school today or, worse, at the end of the day when I pick him up.

My kids have dinner and immediately start getting ready for bed. Most nights that means it starts around 7PM and they’re in bed and asleep by 8ish depending on the day or how long it takes to get Bug to pack up the toy room. I am not necessarily a stickler for routine but this is something they fell into and we are all happy with. It works for us. Unfortunately, they (especially Cub) are sensitive to the routine being disrupted as well. For the most part, I can take Bug out in the evening to stay up late for something special with minimal fall out. He’s older and better able to deal with it. My father in law and I took him out for the Hottest 100 Day fireworks. He was tired and a bit cranky the next day but, for the most part, it was tolerable. It was definitely not something we’d do very often, though. Cub, however, can not deal so well. If he has too much stimulation/excitement at night when he’d normally be winding down for bed, he loses the plot and I go with him. I simply can’t handle the whingeing. It echos in my brain and reverberates over every nerve in my body. It makes my teeth itch. The result is two extremely unhappy people, which makes the entire outing not really worth the hell.

In addition to all this, I find that I *need* them to go to bed when they do now. After Bug’s early babyhood of late nights and my having to sleep as soon as he did, I enjoy my time in the evening. I need it to unwind. People who do not have small children either don’t understand all of this or don’t remember what it was like with their own kids, I think. Not to mention that every child and family is unique. I feel pressure to not be rude and to try to keep everyone happy but, at the same time, I resent having to go out to these things. I’d love to see everyone and the prospect of not having to cook is always a good one … but I’m not sure its worth the unbelievable amount of stress that goes with it. And I am totally convinced that no one seems to really understand just how stressful it *is* for us (or me, at any rate … The Geek is better at handling it than I). It’s not their fault. How would they know? They either have no children of their own or their kids are grown to the point where their memories of how things could be with small children are either warm and fuzzy with age or practically nonexistent. Plus I doubt anyone experiences the kind of anxiety that I do from the mere sound of my whining children. Most of them are able to tune it out whereas I can not escape it. Thus, there is no escape. It will happen again and I don’t look forward to it. I wish I were better at handling it or that I had those mythical kids who are flexible enough to handle such disruptions well. Do they exist?

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