Archive for the ‘Trying to be a good parent !’ Category

rock bottom

I have been not able to get to any meetings this week because of lack of babysitting.

Teenie has been feeling very floppy and – dare I say – exhibiting signs of low grade depression. I’ve just googled “lack of energy in teenagers”. Not much info except she should get 9 hours sleep a night. Which she does. She tends to shuffle around, shoulders hunched and sparks of excitement and energy only seem to surface when around friends on the weekends. I am surmising this upturn of mood based on recollections and must make a mental note to watch her mood over this weekend when her mate comes over.

Although on the one hand I do not want to be helicopter parent, I must take into account her depression history, our past and the family history around bi-polar, addiction, depression and anxiety. She is on medication for anxiety and ADD and has been for about six years. There are some recent signs of body hate (“I have fat legs” “my feet are too big”) which concern the hell out of me.

Back to lack of babysitting – although Teenie is 14 years old and many of her peers would probably stay at home on their own for an hour or two, Teenie doesn’t. She refuses to stay even 5 minutes on her own. We live in a secure complex and have our own alarm and armed response and panic buttons and what not. Our complex has an electric fence around the perimeter and we have neighbours either side.

When Teenie was a small child, there were some instances when I would drink excessively, usually a one women party, escape the world for an evening, eventually get to bed and pass out (I am amazed always made it into bed. Kind of like the miracle of your handbag getting home with you after a big piss up out!) In the midst of a particular nervous breakdown, I was also on strong medication and sleeping pills as well. I never heeded the warnings about mixing anti-depressants, sleeping bills and what not with alcohol.

Poor little Teenie would wake up in the night and – calling me and getting no answer – and would think that she was abandoned and alone.

I cannot say how often this happened. It could have happened once, it could have happened twenty times. I’m not proud of it at all and it disgusts and shames me that I did not have the awareness not to do it. I do not know what I was thinking or – more so – what I was not thinking. Perhaps I thought she was little and it was OK.

The fact that Teenie was always a restless sleeper should have been a huge frikking hint that if I was passed out – that she would need me at some point in the night.

But no, I would chuck wine down my throat while we watched Survivor. Her Tuesday night treat. We would sometimes light a fire with the help of Hairy Hannes (who kept a cooler box of my favourite bubbly Pongraz in his car) and make hog dogs on the fire and wear silly head scarves in support of our favourite tribe.

Then after she had gone to bed and I was going through one song per CD and scattering CDs all over the place – if I had run out of wine (more often than not) – I would run up to the corner shop to get more Mommy Juice. At 10 pm at night.

One morning, a neighbour three houses down asked me what was the problem the night before. Teenie had been screaming the house down. Me in my pisscat state had not heard a thing.

Teenie remembers that night to this day, 9 or so years later. She ran around the house screaming, thinking she was alone. She tried to rouse me and thought I was dead. The poor mite went back to her room and cried until the morning. She only realised I was alive when my alarm went off the next morning and I woke up.

She could have broken her neck on my stairs.

This is the only spoken-out-loud time, but I cannot say how often it happened.

We have spoken about it over the years and I have blamed or put it down to being on sleeping pills.

The bottom line is that the effects of being a piss cat mom is that my now half adult child has an ingrown fear of being left alone in the house.

The paradox of having a teenager who doesn’t like me alot of the time – is that she is not happy with a babysitter either. She wants Mom to be home.

So home I happily stay – even though I am missing my favourite meeting tonight – because after all I am the cause.

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<I  have left this post although in hindsight I think it is pretty crap!>

Teenagers want to be in a pack at the weekend.

Teenagers want their friends and not their family.

Teenagers main loves are their phone, clothes, hair and their besties.

Being a mom of a teenager means I am a walking ATM cash dispensing machine and a chaffeur. I find I spend most of my weekends chaperoning 14 years olds who are not quite old enough to be on their own so I am floating around teenagers who don’t really want me in their space.

Being a mom  also means opening my home and psyche to other teenagers that I may or may not enjoy the company of.

Enter  stage left – Daughter dear’s bestie is such a child that gets up my nose of late.

I do not enjoy being with them when they are together.

We spent time this past weekend with two of Daina’s friends. The Friday afternoon was very pleasant with one friend Sam.

And then arrived Princess Friday night.

Princess and Daina together are horrible.

They act indulged. They scream. They act like the Kardashians when they are together.

Money is no object at Princess’s Palace and she doesn’t quite get it that I did not win the Lotto last week. Some gems of out of indulged princess’s mouth of late are….

“Why do you always take me to dodgy places ?” (not true, i admit I don’t take them to the Mount Nelson though)

“Buy me Kauai now!” (please ? Can’t you have something cheaper ? Isn’t the movie and popcorn, slush and choccie combo you are getting in five minutes going to do ?)

“Lend me R200 so I can buy this and that (when she’s just blown her own money on a R500 jersey and her i-pad cover)”

“I think you’ll find most children eat !” – in response to me saying no to a third eat out foodie treat of the day.

“You should buy a new house, you need more space” (Oh thanks, I hadn’t noticed)

I have no solution to Daughter dear’s ongoing love affair with her bestie and the uncomfortable feelings it gives me.

I like children to have manners and to understand limitations with treats. I like children not to act bratty. I like children to know the value of money. I like children to accept what they are given and not ask for more and more and more.

My natural reaction is to limit times that the child is in my space.

My natural reaction is to set up “play dates” (don’t know what else to call it….teenagers don’t exactly have play dates) with Daughter’s dears other friends that I like and encourage those relationships.

My natural reaction is because I feel the child is a bad influence on my child to cut the child out slowly and hope the intense long standing friendship dies a slow death.

I doubt it will.

……that Tweenie and I have to stay away from stressful situations. It is not working for us/me.

Although I am doing OK off my anti-anxiety meds, I have an extra short fuse and I’m easily irritated. Putting Tweenie and I together at the moment is like shutting two strange rottweilers into a bathroom together and not expecting fur to fly.

At the last moment this morning, we were invited to go to the Food and Wine Fair at the CTICC. With the hope of meeting Buddy The Cake Boss…….off we went.

CTICC was mega packed. I do not do well in crowds. I hate waiting in queues. I hate being pushed. I super hate being bumped into.

The CTICC was all of this and more.

Some rare photos of Tweenie and I smiling at the same time:

Email – 1:31 PM (8 hours ago)
Hi Dr Sweet
Just a mail to confirm which day next week for me to join in on a session.
Any day except Monday.
Also do you think meditation would be good for Tweenie ?
I was thinking of taking her to the buddhist centre in rondebosch for mediation classes. I will join her too.
Rondebosch classes – Tushita Buddist Centre
Thursdays 6.30-7.30pm with Gen Pagpa

Venue: 21 Loch Rd, Rondebosch

Diddy

x

From Dr Sweet
3:39 pm to me
Hi Diddy
Tweenie seemed to benefit from the meditation we had together.  Perhaps though it would be better if we found something that Tweenie can participate in wthout you – difficult to find I know!  You also need your own space!
Her meds are prescribed for ADD but are also useful for anxiety.  However, I do think that there may be something better for her now.  Again we can chat on Weds.  Do you want her to see the same same specialist as before? with regard the meds?
love
Dr Sweet
PS weds 4.30 please
Diddy 9:46pm to Dr Sweet
Hi Dr Sweet

Wednesday 4:30pm confirmed.
Re: Tweenie doing meditation on her own. Tweenie refuses to do anything on her own. She starts to get very panicky, cries and refuses. Most activities end in disaster.
I booked her into a term of children’ art classes at the beginning of the year (she is very good at art). She didn’t want to go after the second class, but I try and make her stick to committments (she wanted to do art). The class was on a Saturday and the only way i could get her to do the class was if I waited outside for the duration of the class. She hates being with new children. Even though the class was very small. After about six classes I gave up forcing her to go as it was a bit of a bind me sitting outside for two hours each Saturday and with her hating it anyway.
I also tried to drop her off at church youth this past Friday. She had a friend sleepover at me so she wouldn’t be alone at church. She was also meeting another friend there. Within 2 minutes she was in the toilet with cramps, crying on the phone that  I should come fetch her and her friend. She knew I was two blocks away at a pitza place. It was all anxiety and the stomach pains were all gone after I fetched her. I never know whether to let her be or fetch her.
We can discuss her doing meditation classes or other sorts of things without me when we meet, but she does not like to leave my side unless it is with Porra. The only way at present she can “experience’ things is if I am there. So because I would like her to experience things, I follow what she wants to reduce her anxiety. I suppose this would be enabling. She won’t go into a movie with a friend without me. She won’t sleep over anywhere. The Saturday classes were a disaster. She won’t even walk into school on her own without a fuss. I can’t even go to the garage in my townhouse complex to get something out of the car without her
I am not sure about Tweenie seeing Dr ADD MEDS again for meds ? She diagnosedTweenie with ADD so is the diagnosis now that it isn’t ADD ? I’m not sure how this would work so my gut feel is to go a different doctor.
Apologies for the long mail.
Kind regards
Diddy

Tweenie loves her therapist. This is good news.

No dragging a grumpy teenager into therapy.

Tweenie runs in excitedly. A cloud of dust behind her.

I drop her off every Monday at 4:30pm for an hour. She came out today  – interacting with her therapist at the front gate – with a look of love on her face.

Not towards me you understand.

“You look like you wish she was your mother” I stated.

Tweenie said nothing. She just smiled.

Part of me is sad she loves her therapist.

I pretended to cry. I made a ha ha pretend stabbing motion to my heart.

The situation with Tweenie was very difficult this weekend. She was invited to church youth on Friday night by my godchild. I organised that Tweenie had a friend sleepover so she would not be alone at the church.

Lots of planning.

And a big mess in the end.

Tweenie lasted two minutes at church youth before she had a poo attack and panic attack.

I wasn’t even a block away. I tried to convince her to give it a chance….that all the other kids there were nice.

What to do ? Leave her stranded on a loo, with stomach pain, crying down the phone, with her sleepover friend stuck outside the cubicle

or

Play hard ball…leave her there……risk a full scale melt down and panic attack.

I rescued after 20 minutes.

Within 10 minutes she was fine. Wolfing down a pitza and iced tea.

I sway between being furious and sympathetic.

Saturday morning, it took me three hours to get Tweenie out of bed and into clothes. I didn’t even bother to try and get her the bath.

She was in full melt down mode. Even though I was taking her for some r and r at a health spa for the day.

She was screaming and crying…..you don’t know what I go through. I am scared of everything.

I was so desperate I phoned her therapist. I don’t know how to handle Tweenie. Whether to be hard ass or whether to mother.

I feel like I am living with a depressed person. When she is up, she is up. When she is down, she is down. Down is horrible. Nothing excites her. Nothing interests her. She doesn’t care about her appearance. She doesn’t want to bath. Everything is a drama.

Tweenie’s therapist is now talking about changing meds. With a view of giving her meds for anxiety rather than ADD and anxiety.

As I suspected, her lack of concerntration is to do with worrying rather than ADD.

Me and meds…..? It looks like I have successfully weaned myself of my anxiety meds.

“It looks like” being the operative word. I  have had a few melt downs, but I am alive !

I want to be med free.

I don’t to med Tweenie up.

But I don’t feel  there is much choice if she is suffering.

Good news is that Tweenie’s counsellor is back from her overseas jaunt.

She is reasonably priced which is also very good news. I don’t think a R600 per session would go down well with Tweenie’s Dad. The counsellor I’ve found is less than R400 a session which in therapy terms is a freaking bargain.

How I work our therapy is that I go to therapy at 7am one morning every two weeks and arrive at work around half an hour late. Once a week, I also get to work around 6am and leave at 3:30pm so I can get Tweenie and deliver her to the therapist.

Speedqueen – my boss – is in Bali for three weeks and a co-worker resigned and left at the end of March 2012. To say I am busy is the understatement of the week.  To skip off at 3:30pm to take Tweenie to therapy is not something I can afford to do workwise. But I force myself to relax and go with the flow and take Tweenie to therapy is a calm and giving manner. I don’t want her to think it is a pain for me. It isn’t, but work commitments are at a max. I always think….go…be calm….and make up the time (and more) somehow. I dropped Tweenie at home with Porra last night after her therapy session and went back to work. Until 11:45pm. I think I made that time up !

I was made very aware last week that I spend alot of my time in my head. Fussing, worrying and being analytical.  Kind of like being in a daydream. But a daydream has connotations of nice fluffy happy thoughts and my daydreams aren’t such. Hardcore daydreams. With a Dr Phil voice inside me. A ten hour Dr Phil show. Where I am the one being picked apart.

So there I was driving to work. A squirrel ran across my path. Stopped abit. Had a stare at me and then shot up the tree with it’s gray tail all a fuzz.

I am not sure what a normal person would think.

But Diddy thinks like this…..

“ooooh…a squirrel ! Was it meant to go in front of my car like that ? It stopped and looked at me. Maybe it’s a message from my Higher Power. Good job it wasn’t a black cat because that’s unlucky. What was the message I was meant to get ? Did I get the message ? Is my higher power sending me a special message so I can feel loved and taken care of ? Why didn’t I feel “it” ? Should I have experienced this differently. Why can’t I feel my Higher Power. Oh shit I’m not doing this right. I’ve lost what I should have got !

Oh fuck it”

With my type of brain and thought processes, I  have realised that I am in a ten hour therapy session with myself most of the day.

There and then it hit me that I need to be particularly mindful to concerntrate on my experiences…….the body sensation of being in the car for instance, the feeling of the sunrise on my skin, the sight of the squirrel…..

Stop being so fucking deep and serious all the time.

Enjoy the sight of the grey squirrel for what it is. A grey little fluffy animal !

I totally lose my mindfulness by being wrapped up in my own head.

That was already an insight this week.

Tweenie asked me to get into her bed at bedtime tonight for a cuddle. She started talking about a frequent worry of hers which is there is no aftercare at school when she goes up a grade. In January 2013. Yes, 8 months away causes tears at least three times a week.

Any the hoo…….I started telling her how I was having to learn how to be mindful, that I think so much all the time, that I am always in therapy with myself. All freaking day.

I told her the squirrel story.

Aha Diddy moment. She freaking got it and feels the same. She turned and looked at me.

Look at me I said. Properly. And now enjoy this kiss. Don’t worry that you will be alone in bed just now. Don’t analyse if I really love you. Just enjoy the love I am giving you !

My 12 year old thinks like me.  Was she born like this ? Did I teach her this ? Is it genes ? Was I born like this ? I’ve always put it down to a traumatised childhood and crap parents. She’s had trauma…..but many less years of it than me.

She got the weird daydream brain and anxiety from her parents whereas some kids get read hair and freckles ?

We laughed. We giggled.

Two peas in a pod.

On one hand, I am sad that she’s got it……it’s an awful affliction…..but on the other, I am glad that I have the same experience so we can understand each other.

 

 

 

Poor Tweenie.

She’s just heard today that her bestest friend in the whole school is probably leaving to go to another school in the next couple of weeks.

She’s bawling her eyes out here on the bed as we speak. It’s freaking awful.

I have shown her my age old coping mechanism of googling every fecking thing on google. I have eventually found a flaw in google. It does not show up anything for “how to help your child when their best friend leaves the school”.

Rarely do I find something that google does not have the answer to. Go suck on that Google.

The only suggestions I can make to her is to try and make new bestest friends.

<I’ve offered to take her and a friend of her choice to the movies on Saturday if she likes>

And to volunteer for clubs or something like student council.

I suspect the fall out from a best friend leaving school is akin to being dumped by your first spotty boyfriend.

Off to make the 20th Radox Stressless bubblebath of the week.

Over and out.

The situation with Tweenie and her anxiety is exhausting. I am at the end of my tether. I have all the compassion in the world for her and am trying my best. I worry about her all day. None the less, it is very much out of control.

Hi Linda

 I was wondering if you could be of assistance with Tweenie.

 She has just started counseling for anxiety. She is on medication for ADD and anxiety (Strattera).

 The anxiety is usually home based and has been getting worse over the last six months to a year. Mainly separation anxiety around me and wanting to be only at home (i.e. does want to sleep out anymore, does not want to go to grandparents for holidays, feels very distressed if left alone even for a second, does not want to visit friends)

 She has just started seeing a therapist who is unfortunately overseas for two weeks. She is on her third or fourth assessment with her. Tweenie says she is benefiting from it.

 School anxiety has not been as bad up until now. This morning it took me 15 minutes to settle Tweenie into her class room/school (I always have to walk her in and deposit her with a friend or teacher) after a stressful and tearful evening. To cut a long story short, I am concerned that Tweenie is going to have a panic attack or anxiety attack at school. As she has told me of symptoms she had yesterday of not being able to breathe and panic. She has been very distressed this week as aftercare came ten minutes late to fetch them from class yesterday and there was no teacher around for ten minutes.

 I have now a) asked one of her friends to escort her to aftercare b) promised to phone the aftercare and make sure she is fetched on time c) told her she can have her phone so I can bbm her “the plan”. This is all not really alright, but I had to do something to allay her anxiety and distress this morning.

 I am not implying that there is something wrong that there was no teacher around for ten minutes. Tweenie is just very upset (around her own anxiety issues/separation anxiety/always wanting an adult around).

 Any suggestions ?

 Kind regards
Diddy

 

It’s been a rough week Tweenie wise.

Having a nearly thirteen year old, you would think 4am wake up calls would be a thing of the past.

Things are not right with Tweenie. They haven’t been for a while. Her battles are ongoing and are holding her back.

I woke at 4am this morning being prodded by a sniffling Tweenie. She has camp on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and is scared of sleeping so far away from home.

She had a friend to sleep over last night and dumped the friend at 4am in favour of crawling into bed with me.

Tweenie is a big girl. Not much smaller than me. Three adult size people does not work so we got up so I could make us warm milky drinks (me) and decaff (her).

Tweenie also had a bad dream during the week –  which has been freaking her out for four or five days – where she dreamt her new teacher Coach E kissed and groped her. Tears every morning.

<we did have the conversation that your hormones not only change your body, but your brain and that sexual dreams could be a possibility because of the hormones whizzing around her body. That if she was born in 1605, she would be at a ripe old age to be married off and be having babies already. I have suggested she try and dream of Jacob from Twilight rather and have shared with her that Robbie Williams is favourite kissing dreamof mine>

I’ve gone into self assessment mode wondering whether it was a bright idea to tell her about my own experiences with my step-dad.  I’ve never sat her down and gone into great detail about my own childhood stuff, but she does know that my step dad abused me and this is why she has never met my family because my mother is still married to him and I feel uncomfortable with it…..

I had to explain my lack of family somehow. Without making up one helleva lie. And anyone who knows me will tell you I call a spade a spade.

It’s always been there as a matter of fact about my history. I choose not to continue with any secrets in my life and that includes being honest with my child about why I battle sometimes, why I go to a 12 step fellowship, take anxiety medication and visit a therapist…

Of course now I am doubting my spade is a spade mentality and wondering if I should have kept mum about it all.

But on the other hand…Tweenie finds anxiety in so many things…..she is predisposed to it.

Swimming galas

Music concerts

School plays

School outings

Lack of aftercare in 2013 (yes…she has already had a few sleepless nights about that one)

Fear of her period coming (packed bath bag with spare panties and a pad)

Fear of not having enough stationery for tests (packed a special pencil box with an “exam kit” to soothe her)

Fear of me having a car accident on the way to work after leaving her at school or on the way to a 12 step meeting <she always says goodbye to me as if it is the last time she will ever see me. A little unnerving. Scares me into wearing my seatbelt)
 

The one therapist did suggest that I am codependent with Tweenie and I enable her and her anxiety. When she wants to be, she can be a fearful and scared child who will NOT go into art class unless I sit outside. When she wants to be, she can run off into the sunset for a sleep over at her best friends house without a second thought about me <although I do get BBM’s at 11pm saying….”I miss youuuuuuuu “.

She panics if I leave her alone. Even for 30 seconds. What am I meant to do Mr Hard Ass Therapist ? Be cruel and leave her crying and freaking out  ?

Even if I need to go the garage to fetch something out of the car, she fusses to come with me and refuses to be left alone. “Noooo mommy….Noooooo mommy”.

Milk from the cafe a block away…..hell no, “I won’t let you go without me”

Art class for 2 hours on a Saturday at a local church ? She refuses to go on her own unless I sit outside waiting for her.

Sitting outside as we speak….

Unfortunately I don’t have a comparison child for me to gauge whether this is normal behaviour. I have probably let this all go on for so long because I am used to it. She has always been a high maintenance child.

 

I had an excellent session with my Dr Ruth yesterday morning.  A really big aha moment for me about my ongoing battle with sexual relations.

I am in a crap mental space. Have been for a while. I am miserable and complicated and the classic adult child characteristic of “having difficulty having fun <insert without wine>”.

But then I s’pose digging around in the times when 9 year old you got to jerk off your drunken step-father is bound not fill you with the joys of spring.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I’ve seen pictures on facebook saying “don’t look back”, but mentally my step father is in my mind and house every day infecting me.

I had planned to do a post last night about my Dr Ruth. Got home. Notebook flat. Plugged it in to charge. At some point Porra plugged in his i-pod. 10pm I am ready to start whacking the keyboard.

Somehow his i-pod stuffed up my internet access and I couldn’t use my notebook. PMS Diddy was not amused. I sulked and went to bed.

So here is a quick “at work” post of a non-sexual nature:

Drunken mother – nothing is by accident and I bumped into someone from the AA fellowship last week that I know quite well. I have had a few “signs” about me and AA during January. Firstly, I stumbled on the book “Memoirs of an Unfit Mother” about Ann Robinson (she of the weakest link fame and an alcoholic). Secondly, a mug I accidently “lifted” from an AA conference turned up in my house after being AWOL for 3 years. I was shocked to see it. I could smell the Higher Power aura around it. Porra had found it in the garage and returned it to the house…………and now bumping into “Miss M”.

I’ve organised to meet “Miss M” and discuss AA and binge drinking and what-ever-the-way-I-drink with her…………..all the fellowships recomend to sit out 6 meetings and see if you relate before making a call. And it may be time for old Diddy to follow her own preachings.

Fancy Pants School – I had a lot of tears over the potential “forced removal” of Tweenie from her school. To cut a long story short, Daughter Dear’s Dad changed his story towards the end of his time in Cape Town and said it was never his intention to move her and that I must “cut costs” in terms of medical (the damn medical aid runs out every year in July). I feel very unsettled around this and feel I am at his mercy in terms of Tweenie’s education and medical care. She needs a counsellor to deal with her suicidal thoughts and anxiety. So how to get her a counsellor and “cut costs” ?? A counsellor for her twice a month is going to be more costs and I can’t get around that. I am going to see the maintenance lawyer so get something formal set up.

It’s 8am……back to work !